As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sick Thugs

I have to return to the story of Grame Frost, the latest target of Republican smear merchants, who, it should be mentioned, is a sick 12 year-old boy who was in a coma not so long ago. This entire escapade has exposed the right-wing for the heartless, soulless slime that they are. They are so consumed with playing "gotcha" that they fly by the facts, and display a real anger that anyone should be helped by the government whatsoever. At every level the argument breaks down. And I am confounded by understanding what the endgame is here. Is "exposing" the fact that a middle-class small businessman can't afford quality health care, and are drowned under the weight of a major medical catastrophe, really forwarding their argument that the government shouldn't get involved?

So they resort to other arguments. They say that kids shoudn't be used as political "human shields". As if personalized stories have never been part of the political process (and yet nobody on the Democratic side went to this girl's house to see if she was "really" upset):

They say that they're just "asking questions," not stalking and intimidating. Then, after it being thoroughly proven that the Frosts can't afford health care, they outright state that there's no such thing as poor people ("Are there even a thousand really poor people in all of America? Really poor."), and the person they use to do that - wait for it - was on disability in the Canadian healthcare system. It's useless arguing with these people. They've been whipped up into a frenzy where reason no longer matters, where dignity no longer matters, where life is all about "exposing" people, no matter the cost. Michelle Malkin once wrote a post called When The Left Invades Our Privacy (hypocrisy, anyone?). If I thought it would matter, I would write one called When The Right Invades Our Souls.

This has now made The New York Times, by the way.

So when Democrats enlisted 12-year-old Graeme Frost, who along with a younger sister relied on the program for treatment of severe brain injuries suffered in a car crash, to give the response to Mr. Bush’s weekly radio address on Sept. 29, Republican opponents quickly accused them of exploiting the boy to score political points.

Then, they wasted little time in going after him to score their own.

In recent days, Graeme and his family have been attacked by conservative bloggers and other critics of the Democrats’ plan to expand the insurance program, known as S-chip. They scrutinized the family’s income and assets — even alleged the counters in their kitchen to be granite — and declared that the Frosts did not seem needy enough for government benefits. [...]

The critics accused Graeme’s father, Halsey, a self-employed woodworker, of choosing not to provide insurance for his family of six, even though he owned his own business. They pointed out that Graeme attends an expensive private school. And they asserted that the family’s home had undergone extensive remodeling, and that its market value could exceed $400,000.

One critic, in an e-mail message to Graeme’s mother, Bonnie, warned: “Lie down with dogs, and expect to get fleas.” As it turns out, the Frosts say, Graeme attends the private school on scholarship. The business that the critics said Mr. Frost owned was dissolved in 1999. The family’s home, in the modest Butchers Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, was bought for $55,000 in 1990 and is now worth about $260,000, according to public records. And, for the record, the Frosts say, their kitchen counters are concrete.

Certainly the Frosts are not destitute. They also own a commercial property, valued at about $160,000, that provides rental income. Mr. Frost works intermittently in woodworking and as a welder, while Mrs. Frost has a part-time job at a firm that provides services to publishers of medical journals. Her job does not provide health coverage.

Under the Maryland child health program, a family of six must earn less than $55,220 a year for children to qualify. The program does not require applicants to list their assets, which do not affect eligibility.

In a telephone interview, the Frosts said they had recently been rejected by three private insurance companies because of pre-existing medical conditions. “We stood up in the first place because S-chip really helped our family and we wanted to help other families,” Mrs. Frost said.

“We work hard, we’re honest, we pay our taxes,” Mr. Frost said, adding, “There are hard-working families that really need affordable health insurance.”

I'm glad the Times wrote about this abomination. This is the face of the modern conservative movement; smear merchants who look at hardworking Americans stuck in our broken healthcare system and sniff "they're too rich to get help." I, for one, would gladly pay my tax dollars to even allow the richest wingnut blogger to get psychiatric help.

UPDATE: Ezra makes a challenge.

"It’s militant leftist bloggers," writes Malkin, "who wouldn’t know a good-faith argument if it bit them in the lip." Let's have a good faith argument. I will debate Michelle Malkin anytime, anywhere, in any forum (save HotAir TV, which she controls), on the particulars of S-CHIP. We can set the debate at a think tank, on BloggingHeads, over IM. Hell, we can set up the podiums in the shrubbery outside my house, since that seems to be the sort of venue she naturally seeks out. And then if Malkin wants an argument, she can have one. We'll talk S-CHIP and nothing but -- nothing of the Frosts, or Congress, or her blog.

My sense has been that Malkin doesn't want an argument. Rather, she wants to feed her readers the steady stream of outrage that keeps her traffic numbers up. But I realized tonight that I could be wrong, and I shouldn't assume Malkin doesn't want a real argument unless I actually ask her.

I expect the answer to be "no." She won't even allow comments on her side, let alone actually sit in a room and rely on trivialities like facts and figures.

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