Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and checking out the news on MediaPost when I came across Wayne Friedman’s piece about a new ad campaign funded by a Donald Trump-supported Super PAC. It attacks Florida governor (and likely Trump presidential rival) Ron DeSantis for his voting record in Congress on Medicare and Social Security.
A Republican-backed TV commercial campaign is targeting Florida Governor and potential Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, backed by Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” Super PAC . . .
The spot — called “Think You Know Ron DeSantis” — talks about how he has backed “deep cuts to social security and medicare” and says that when he was in Congress, DeSantis voted to raise the retirement age to 70. The bottom-line message, according to a voiceover, is that DeSantis “doesn’t share our values” and that “he is just not ready to be President.”
DeSantis is currently on a book tour saying he’s all about protecting Social Security and Medicare. What gives, Doc?
– Ron Conned?
It is a fact well-established that Donald Trump and his merry band of remoras (a.k.a. suckerfish) are severely allergic to the truth (according to a Washington Post tally, the Cheeto in Chief alone made 30,573 false or misleading claims during his four years in office).
Against that backdrop . . .
The reported $1.5 million ad campaign (most of it spent on Fox News ads) claims that Ron DeSantis, while a congressman representing Florida’s 6th Congressional District from 2013 to 2018, “voted three separate times to cut Social Security . . . Worse, DeSantis voted to cut Medicare two times. DeSantis even voted to raise the retirement age to 70.” (You can see the spot here.)
So the question is: True? False? Alternative facts?
According to a PolitiFact piece by Yacob Reyes in the Tampa Bay Times last month, it’s not all that cut and dried.
In 2013, with Republicans controlling the House, DeSantis joined 103 Republicans on a failed resolution that called for raising the age to qualify for Medicare and Social Security to 70, according to a Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analysis.
The measure also supported a transition of Medicare, a program funded by the federal government, to a premium support system, for which the federal government would designate a pot of money for each beneficiary to spend on a private insurance plan.
The resolution’s text stated the measure would have affected future beneficiaries; it says, “those in or near retirement will see no changes.”
A PolitFact piece by Amy Sherman five years ago, which addressed similar charges against DeSantis during Florida’s 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, labeled them Half True:: “[The non-binding resolutions] were a cut in terms of the programs’ future growth relative to the baseline. But the goal of these resolutions was to persuade Congress to make changes to shore up these programs in the future to avoid steeper cuts down the road.”
Bottom line: Those votes cut no budgets, nor did they reduce seniors’ benefits.
Regardless, DeSantis is doing his best nowadays to rewrite his position on entitlement cuts, as the Tampa Bay Times piece noted.
“Look, I have more seniors here than just about anyone as a percentage,” DeSantis told Fox News’ Dana Perino on March 2. “You know, we’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans. I think that that’s pretty clear.”
(As if he didn’t represent seniors for the six years he was Florida’s 6th District congressman. But why get technical about it.)
What’s also pretty clear is that the Trumpiacs will keep touting half-truths about DeSantis as long as he remains a threat to the ex-president’s bid to regain the White House.
The Doc’s prescription: Just because in this instance the MAGAts have downshifted from outright lies to partial ones, we don’t recommend getting used to it.