Monday, July 12, 2004
Dimmer Switch

Quick, how many times did Willard Mitt mention the Department of Mental Retardation during his campaign for (fraud) governor in 2002?

"Not many?"



Ding ding ding. At least nothing substantive. Because a check of news stories from March through November 2002 shows exactly no links between the Department of Mental Retardation (or "DMR") and Romney.

This is not to say the Department was not in the news. In fact, one budget plan had the House taking money from the Clean Elections fund to help pay for DMR programs. (source: Boston Herald, 4/26/2002) The Department just wasn't important. At least not in terms of Romney's reality.

Turns out that not much has changed in the past two years. DMR is still in the news, and still searching for resources. But according to the Fraud Governor's alphabet, DMR is still pretty much MIA.

Well, one thing has changed. Romney occasionally mentions the agency. But typically only to announce cut-backs, or facility closings. (source: Boston Globe, 4/22/2004; Worcester T&G, 2/25/2004)

Out of frustration, several affected families went to court, requesting renewed federal oversight of DMR facilities because of the state's continuing poor care.

Team Reform's defense? "We’re on it. We can address underfunding with a salary reserve and a bed tax to bring in more federal Medicaid money." (source: Rat Line)

Except when it came time to act, the Fraud Governor vetoed section 172, the proposal to assess each intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded a bed tax - actually a fee-per-bed-day - that would have attracted over $15 million in federal funds. (source: mass.gov)

This despite Romney's bleatings that he would maximize federal revenues to help bail out the state's finances. (source: Worcester T&G, 10/27/2002)

Maybe everyone would just be better off if Romney went back to saying nothing about DMR.

He did less damage back then.


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