Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gingrich's Food Stamp Hypocrisy

Too expand, or not to expand, that is the hypocrisy.

Recently, Newt Gingrich referred to President Obama as the "food stamp president," insisting that under the current administration more people have been enrolled in food assistance programs.  Gingrich's comments do more to reinforce negative stereotypes then they do anything else.

Alan Bjerga and Jennifer Oldham wrote the following for Bloombert Businessweek:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said attacks on the U.S. food-stamp program, a standby of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s criticisms of President Barack Obama, exploit stereotypes of aid recipients.

Those who get the federal assistance “are playing by the rules,” Vilsack, whose department administers food stamps, said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg News. “There are misconceptions about this program and confusion” about recipients caused by negative portrayals by some Obama opponents, he said.

Food-stamp use has increased 46 percent since December 2008, a month before Obama took office as the economy was still shedding jobs. Total spending has more than doubled in four years to an all-time high of $75.3 billion, a level called unsustainable by Republicans including Gingrich, who has labeled Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.”

Gingrich’s characterization of Obama’s food stamp policies has drawn criticism from groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which issued a statement Jan. 6 calling his comments “inaccurate” and “divisive.”

Gingrich has dismissed the complaints as a smear from “modern liberals” who are “off the deep end.”


About 34 percent of food-stamp recipients are white, while 22 percent are African Americans and 16 percent Hispanic, with the rest being Asian, Native American or those who chose not to identify their race, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About half are younger than 18, and 8 percent are older than 60. Some 41 percent of all recipients live in households where family members are employed.
So why do these comments matter?

On the campaign trail in Florida Gingrich levied a claim against fellow Republican and GOP contender Mitt Romney that as governor of Massachusetts Romney denied expansion of food assistance for retired Jews.

Jon Ward wrote the following for The Huffington Post:
From morning until the last of five events at the end of the day, Gingrich branded Romney a liar and cheat, accusing him of suppressing religious liberty and trying to "buy the election."

Gingrich continued to harp on a charge that Romney, during his time as Massachusetts governor, vetoed funds to expand the provision of kosher food for Bay State retirees. Gingrich said Romney has a “lack of concern for religious liberty."

"Romney cut off kosher food to elderly Jews on Medicare," Gingrich said, stretching the truth. And Gingrich also hit Romney for a 2005 decision as governor to require Roman Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception, which many Catholics believe is a form of abortion, to rape victims.
How are comments made by Gingrich about the president and those about Romney different?

They are not.

In one situation Gingrich blames the expansion of food assistance programs on policies of the Democrats but in another Gingrich blasts his opponent for not expanding food assistance programs, and on top of that, he claims it is a form of religious suppression against Jews.  This line of thinking is just to pander to Florida's large Jewish population and being that today is the final day of Florida's primary and Gingrich's lead from after his South Carolina win has dwindled, he needs all the fear-mongering he can muster to try and make his impending Florida loss seem not so bad.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.