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SCHIP histrionics
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm not really sure what to make of the recent uproar surrounding SCHIP and the 12 year old Graeme Frost who read a message for the Democratic Party. I certainly haven't followed every twist, but I see Ezra Klein condemnning the Right for "travel[ling] to their home, insinuat[ing] that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, mak[ing] threatening phone calls to the family, interrogat[ing] the neighbors as to the family's character and financial state".

Now, I certainly would condemn any violent or vile rhetoric used against a kid, but that's not really much of what Ezra and others describe. Most of what they describe is not vile at all. It's pretty hard to see what's wrong - much less "unAmerican", "fascism", "inhumanity", and "soullessness" - with investigating a claim made publicly and for political reasons by the Democrats.

One might very reasonably argue that children should be off-limits. I'd be sympathetic to that argument...but not from people who used the child in the first place.

I also note with some amusement that Lefties defend their initial use of the kid by pointing out that Republicans brought out a kid to help sell the Social Security in 2005. Joan Walsh claims "Atrios notes that nobody went after nine-year-old Noah McCullough when Bush made him a poster boy for privatizing Social Security."

Well, funny you bring that up, because that's not the way I recall it. There was...



But other than that, they didn't go after him at all.

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On this story, as on so many others, I think I'd fall in line with Megan McArdle...
I think the battle against Graeme Frost is incredibly ill-chosen, and also, as I've said, I can't really get particularly energized about the idea that some kid, somewhere, is sucking my tax dollars illegitimately. ... However, I am also not prepared to get all huffy and indignant because conservatives dared to question whether Graeme Frost needed S-Chip. Obviously, nut jobs harassing the Frosts, or calling employers, or performing all of the other nutty invasions of privacy that I have read about, are vile creatures who have gone far, far beyond the bounds of human decency ...

But ... The reason that Democrats put him up on the radio in the first place is that they thought Graeme Frost's need was a better argument for S-Chip than any boring old policy discussion. Well, if you make Graeme Frost's needs the measure of the program's success, then you can expect the program's opponents to question Graeme Frost's needs. Democrats put him on the radio, of course, precisely because they expected him to be some sort of trump card whose need could not successfully be challenged. And in fact, I think they succeeded. But children should not be played like trump cards.
 
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I think it’s a real heavy burden that the Democrat’s gave poor Graeme Frost.

Just think, if this S-CHIP veto doesn’t get overridden, it will be Graeme Frost’s fault when thousands of truely needy children are denied medical benefits just because his parent allowed the Democrats to trot him out to be a punching bag.

I really wonder if this boy can sleep at night, given this man-sized burder and all.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I think the battle against Graeme Frost is incredibly ill-chosen, and also, as I’ve said, I can’t really get particularly energized about the idea that some kid, somewhere, is sucking my tax dollars illegitimately
I disagree with this based on the fact that it is dealing with the health care debate. This debate will define the next great entitlement. No health care entitlement will ever be trimmed back.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Tis unfortunate that one side has to use the hyperbole of a minor player on the other side to ramp up the hate of their base. But that’s politics these days (and not to different from our past as some would have you believe). What I find most disappointing however, is not the feigned righteous indignation of the shadow pundits who so shamelessly decry the other side’s transgressions while defending their own (that’s their raison d’etre), but their internet minions who, in this age of information on demand, chose to ignore those inconsistancies.

And yes, I have fallen prey to that urge, and yes then I am disappointed in myself as well...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
At their reported combined family income of $45,000, the family was eligible for SCHIP already. So something smells.

The Parents are basically asking me to start paying their healthcare (why did I bother going to college again?). They weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. They weren’t polled. The Parents were willing participants. Both the Democrats & Parents need to account for the smell.

Regardless, anything critical of the parents or democrats that I’ve come across, I haven’t really noticed much if any attacks directed at the kid at all.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
jpm100, the argument should have started with the fact that this family, (shamelessly) put on display by the Dems, benefitted from a program that the president did not veto. The non-left should have responded with, "so the program works as written, but the left wants to expand it to cover families with even better financial means." Instead, there were some unsavory comments made about the family (and yes these were grossly taken out of context). Then, and even though the left cries when the right uses comments/commentary found on leftie blogs as representitive of the general left, they dug deep and found those rare, but really nasty comments on righty blogs that they, with a sympathetic media, were able to mold into a narrative. It is, admittedly, a structural disadvantage, but the right is well aware of it... and has to deal with it.

While the left has to be wary of being stupid (Gen. BetrayUS), the right has to be hyper-sensitive lest they be castigated as insensitive.

Of course, those of us with a right tilt, realize that life is not, nor can not be legislated, fair.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Democrats put him on the radio, of course, precisely because they expected him to be some sort of trump card whose need could not successfully be challenged. And in fact, I think they succeeded. But children should not be played like trump cards.
Trump card? On another blog I read a commenter uses the term "human shield."

And there it is.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Neither you nor Megan should pretend to be surprised when nut job fans take their idols’ invective and calls for investigation and posting of home addresses as calls to action.
However, I am also not prepared to get all huffy and indignant because conservatives dared to question whether Graeme Frost needed S-Chip. Obviously, nut jobs harassing the Frosts, or calling employers, or performing all of the other nutty invasions of privacy that I have read about, are vile creatures who have gone far, far beyond the bounds of human decency ...
Sounds an awful lot like Henry II’s explanation that "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest" didn’t really mean what it meant.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
It’s really a stretch to call a post in which I was critical of Bush’s choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court an attack on the kid. You also seem to be implying that I somehow used sexual language in my non-existent attack on him. While I have little hope that you will drop me from your examples—you seem pretty desperate to justify the right’s attacks on Graeme Frost by claiming "liberals attack children too"—I do hope you’ll edit this badly written piece to clarify that I didn’t "Go Republican" on this kid by "sexualizing" him.
 
Written By: Gen. JC Christian, patriot
URL: http://patriotboy.blogspot.com
It’s really a stretch to call a post in which I was critical of Bush’s choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court an attack on the kid.
He didn’t say you attacked him. He specified you "made sexual references to the kid."
You also seem to be implying that I somehow used sexual language in my non-existent attack on him.
He didn’t "imply" anything. Henke came right out and said it specifically as I pointed out above.

Let’s look at your language:
he seems to be the only person connected to your Administration who hasn’t let Judith Miller fondle his aspens
Do you have any understanding what "fondle" means? Who refers to interaction between an adult and a child using the term "fondle"?

Yes, I know you were trying to make a reference to Libby’s letter to Miller. BTW, hasn’t that letter been termed as Libby’s "Love Letter" to Miller?

So let’s hypothesize: What if Malkin wrote, "Graeme Frost hasn’t let Pelosi and Reid fondle his chips"?

 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JC, I think JWG’s response covered the relevant points. I understand your post was intended humorously - and I think a great deal of your work is quite funny - but writing about an adult fondling a child is clearly a sexual reference.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Democrats put him on the radio, of course, precisely because they expected him to be some sort of trump card whose need could not successfully be challenged
Much like they pushed Mother Sheehan (before she became a liability)

And before that when they had that legless vet try to deliver a letter to Bush at his home

Notice a pattern yet?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yeah, good form. Of course, this is juxtaposed with the Left’s posts stating that "they have standards and would never stoop to such distastefulness". Look, by now, people have a pretty good idea of who’s full of it and who’s willfully ignorant. There are two distinct camps with a chasm in between. Pick.
You also seem to be implying that I somehow used sexual language in my non-existent attack on him.
Good grief. Now "sexual language" has to be defined to the nth degree? Attorney much?
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
Guess what? I don’t care what any of you think. I’ll always stand for the child. Many of the references you site, moron, were SATIRE. But you’d have to have a functioning brain to know that.
A Vet
 
Written By: candymarl
URL: http://
Ok, so I clicked on the Tbogg link and the only reference to the kid in that piece was via a hypothetical implication with notorious GOP "reporter" Jeff Gannon, re: the latter offering to expose himself to the boy.

Funny in a topical sense? Yes.

Poor taste? Perhaps. But that’s what us fans of Tbogg’s writing go in for - so to each his own.

At all comparable to the vicious national upoar directed at the Frosts? Absolutely not.

I mean, for gawdsakes, Malkin went and surveilled the Frost’s home and business.

Nice try, but any one who sincerely takes issue with the S-CHIP Program on a policy level should feel nothing but shame for these slimeball, creepy and invasive tactics.
 
Written By: jlo
URL: http://
Sorry, "the only sexual reference" is what I meant to say there.
 
Written By: jlo
URL: http://
"I mean, for gawdsakes, Malkin went and surveilled the Frost’s home and business."
Okay, that’s a lie. But what’s one more, eh? The Democrats, cowards of the intellectual sort as they are in a more mundane sense recruited this kid to read this moronic and mendacious address for the very reasons we see; any objection to these assertions, political grist as they are, can then be decried as an "assault" (what a pablum-weaned puke is Dionne) on a child. Hmmm. Check out the medical history of one Jennifer Bush (no relation). Here we have a more literal definition... This girl was nearly killed BY HER MOTHER simply to burnish her cred as a Graeme-esque avatar for socialized medicine. We need no further examples to demonstrate that The Left will stop at NO crime or outrage to inflict their Utopia upon us. Shame. Shame shame and more shame. To call you freaks scum is an insult to algae.
 
Written By: megapotamus
URL: http://
That’s quite a stretch there, um, Stretch. Obviously you learned something from your days of explaining away "macaca", so your time spent there wasn’t a total waste.
 
Written By: tbogg
URL: http://tbogg.blogspot.com/
Umm, Megapotamus, "I mean, for gawdsakes, Malkin went and surveilled the Frost’s home and business." is demonstrably true (surveillance being "The act of observing"). She went to both and entered the business to ask questions of a tenant there. She reported on the bumper sticker on what she presumed was their car. That is clearly surveillance.

And saying that Jesus’ General and Tbogg made "sexual references" to the kid is patently absurd. Tbogg ridiculed Jeff Gannon, Jesus’ General was going after Libby. Might want to read what you link to, Jon. You make it sound as if they were trying to "Foley" the poor boy.

And Melissa McEwan’s didn’t criticize the boy, just said the Republican’s were clearly desperate (which they were). Giving an SCHIP beneficiary a forum to explain why it’s a good program is quite a bit different from trotting out a 9 year old to discuss social security privitization, don’t you think?
 
Written By: Crusty Dem
URL: http://
That’s quite a stretch there, um, Stretch.
I’m not sure how else you’d describe discussion of Jeff Gannon asking him if he’s ever seen a grown man naked...complete with links to those pictures. I wouldn’t really call those artistic. And I didn’t get into the "creepy little white boys" reference.

I’m not peeved about it. But since you think merely questioning/investigating a claim made on behalf of the Democrats and to advocate policy is somehow outside the bounds of reasonable behavior, I thought it worth pointing out. Readers are free to conclude what they will about what everybody involved wrote.

I’ve made it clear what I think is worthy of condemnation and what I think is not.

I’d be glad to point you to quite a lot of examples where I have condemned Republicans/Righties for poor behavior, poor taste and vile rhetoric and defended Democrats. I’d bet you would have significantly more difficulty doing the reverse.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
for gawdsakes, Malkin went and surveilled the Frost’s home and business." is demonstrably true (surveillance being "The act of observing"). She went to both and entered the business to ask questions of a tenant there. She reported on the bumper sticker on what she presumed was their car. That is clearly surveillance.

Actually, I believe that’s also what’s known as "journalism."
 
Written By: V the K
URL: http://kurlander.blogspot.com
Ahhh...Victory By Proxy.

Point: Dems.
 
Written By: seejanemom
URL: http://www.seejanemom.com
I’m glad tbogg came by here as well as jesus General to defend themselves. Now if you’d all like to get back into the Harriet Miers and Jeff Gannon/James Guckert thing, well then I’ll be back to this blog for sure! Oh please, please, please, let’s get back into the Jeff/James scoop, I’m in a bet on who he exactly was "servicing" at the WH. Money is riding on this bet so I’ll be checking back although I doubt the right really wants to bring THAT back up. Sigh. Guess I’ll wait for the book.
 
Written By: colleen
URL: http://
I’m glad tbogg came by here as well as jesus General to defend themselves.
Well I guess, if you’re in a benevolent mood, you could call what they did ’defending themselves’.
Now if you’d all like to get back into the Harriet Miers and Jeff Gannon/James Guckert thing, well then I’ll be back to this blog for sure! Oh please, please, please, let’s get back into the Jeff/James scoop, I’m in a bet on who he exactly was "servicing" at the WH.
Is this the level of commenter one can expect from lefty blogs?

Uh, Coleen, what does any of that have to do with the point of the post?
I’ll wait for the book.
And then what will you do ... use it as a door stop?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"The act of observing").

Oooh! How awful! I am surprised the filters here let you get away with such language.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Actually, I believe that’s also what’s known as "journalism.""

Actually, I think that what is currently considered by the MSM as journalism is unfamiliar with such diligent research and fact-checking. That is probably why there is so much hostility to someone who actually practices what used to be considered good journalism.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Wow. The best you can counter all this Frost awfulness with is "some leftie bloggers called a kid names".

And suddenly all the Frost family stalking and countertop price speculation just melts away in a river of righteousness.

Guffaw.
 
Written By: Jody
URL: http://
Actually, following the links, and reading the posts in context, you see that the insulting snark from the "leftie" bloggers was aimed at adult political players, not the kid. Did some readers’ comments cross a line? Yes. But I didn’t see anyone posting personal info about or encouraging direct harrassment of Noah and his family. Also, I don’t see why I’m supposed to be outraged at the reference to "Cousin Oliver" (a cute child actor brought in to liven up a long running sit com). The writer clearly used that reference (in the headline of his post) to tweak the Republican Party for its Social Security PR strategy — not to hurl a personal insult at a child. (Two of the bloggers who we are told insulted Noah with this supposedly shocking, horrific epitaph merely linked to the third blogger’s post about the Republicans’ "Cousin Oliver" strategy.)

But Malkin’s dishonesty is nothing new, and in the context of all the right wing blogging on this issue, not unique. She also has repeatedly referred to the low ball quotes generated by an online insurance industry lead generating tool as proof that the Frosts could have purchased affordable insurance for less than $1200. That misleading bit of info was initially generated on another blogger. When I posted a comment to that blogger’s website suggesting that he let his readers know that the quote generator he used was a marketing tool, not a research tool, and gave him the results I got when I used the same tool with accurate information about me and my husband (a quote from my actual insurer, for my actual plan, that was more than 1/3rd cheaper than what we actually pay, plus, some low ball quotes from insurers who only offer insurance to individuals through a state program that has both strict, low income requirements and a waiting list) he blocked the comment from his site.



 
Written By: esmense
URL: http://
Actually, following the links, and reading the posts in context, you see that the insulting snark from the "leftie" bloggers was aimed at adult political players, not the kid.
I don’t know what links you "followed", but it must not have been the ones in the post. Like this one:
Ahh, a budding young fascist. I dunno about this, I have to agree with these folks. When you rely on a 9-year old to change a generations old social policy, that change has definitely jumped the shark.

BTW, as to the ’fascist’ remark...I mean, it’s not like it’s possible to go from ultra-conservative (Republican) to moderately-conservative (Democrat) when the first tenet of Modern Conservative Thinking (Neocons) is that anybody to the left of them are liberals/terrorists. There is a big jump to do even that much, and when you start out so young and so dumb, where can you go but down the road to fascism?
Or this:
I think these quotes make clear that Noah is in desperate need of a good ass-kicking, for his own good as well as that of the country.
I mean how’d you miss those if you actually, you know, "followed" the links?

Yeah, I know, they got in the way of the talking points so, as like most who’ve commented here, you chose to ignore them (and that’s actually giving you the benefit of the doubt and accepting your claim you actually "followed" them).

Uh, you were saying ....
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Did some readers’ comments cross the line? Yes."

 
Written By: esmense
URL: http://
McQ just pointed out bloggers’ comments. Why are you mentioning anything about "readers’ comments"?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Wow. The best you can counter all this Frost awfulness with is "some leftie bloggers called a kid names".

Actually, he was just refuting the claim of a far-left blogger that lefties would never sink so low as to attack a child. (Oh, except for wishing that Dick Cheney’s grandchild would die of crib death.)
 
Written By: V the K
URL: http://kurlander.blogspot.com
A handful of comments

Jon Henke:

Thank you for not closing the comment thread to this post the instant when someone shows up to do anything but shout, "Yeah! I agree!" Unlike certain lefty blogs... (*cough* Firedoglake)

candymarl:

Ah, the great and holy "SATIRE!" response, second only to the left’s ever present "tu quoque" rebuttal. Any about of bile and hatred, no matter how straightforward or lengthy, can be declared after the fact as a brilliant work of SATIRE that the right’s limited mind will never understand.

Since no right winger has ever made an attempt at humor, it can be inferred also that any statement made by them was made with complete sincerity and literal truth.
 
Written By: J Rez
URL: http://
The accusation of sexual references by Jesus’s General and Tbogg seems a little far fetched, especially JG, since the "sexual reference" to the kid there is several levels of metaphor deep.
 
Written By: sj
URL: http://
Who the devil are Kewpie and Dadahead? Can we make a distinction here between bloggers that actually, y’know, have a following, and bloggers who are having a heavy traffic day when anyone at all stops by?

I’ve been hanging around the lefty blogosphere for nearly four years now, and have never heard of either Kewpie or Dadahead, which isn’t surprising. Dadahead apparently didn’t allow comments, so I can’t tell if anyone was paying attention to him ever, but his blog’s been defunct for a year and a half. The linked entry on Kewpie’s blog had ZERO comments, as was true for all but 3 of the 28 blog posts on Kewpie’s front page. And those three posts got, um, five comments.

IOW, some nobodies said something, only they were blogging on their own blogs that nobody reads, instead of commenting on a blog that actually gets traffic.

The point stands: nobody of significance on the left was attacking this kid.
 
Written By: RT
URL: http://
Who the devil are Kewpie and Dadahead?
They’re lefty bloggers ... is this really that hard for you to understand?

The claim was "nobody" from the left "went after nine-year-old Noah McCullough when Bush made him a poster boy for privatizing Social Security."

There are two examples that refute the claim. The claim wasn’t "nobody of significance", it was "nobody". Is it getting through to you yet?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hmmm...in essence, on the one side is someone campaigning to have people keep what they’ve earned, and on the other side is someone making excuses for looting to support on parental irresponsibility.

Am I missing something?
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Well, one can note that — except for "Kewpie" and "Dadahead" (and the latter’s "attacks" on the kind were so obviously tongue-in-cheek that its tip could be seen waggling out his nostril; I mean, "He deserves an ass-kicking because he’s visited the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library"?) — not a single one of the liberal bloggers that Henke points to either insulted the kid himself OR accused his parents of deliberate dishonesty, while of course swarms of conservative bloggers did the latter in regard to the Frosts. (Henke’s straight-faced statement that Jesus’ General and TBogg "made sexual references to him" is particularly hilarious when you read what they actually said.)

But let’s keep our eye on the sparrow here. The real outrage about Malkin’s mob is not that they accused Graeme Frost’s parents of dishonesty — it’s that they did so as a result of ridiculously hasty and inaccurate “investigation”. (As Hilzoy pointed out on “Obsidian Wings”, they never even bothered to ask tiny questions such as whether the Frosts’ kids might have gotten into that school on scholarships, or whether their house might be mortgaged.)

Presumably we’re going to have to put up with such premature screechings for as long as Internet political bloggers exist — that is, forever from now on — but that’s just another reason to conclude that the Big Press has some reason to exist after all: they filter out the more obvious twaddle generated by political bloggers before it can spread very far. Which is why not one American in 50 has probably even heard about the Graeme Frost “controversy”, or ever will. I think the real major lesson to be derived from L’Affaire Frost is that political bloggers in general still tend to ridiculously overestimate their own importance.

While we’re on the subject of personal smears, by the way: we DO have Limbaugh’s expert diagnosis of Michael J. Fox as definitely faking his Parkinson’s Disease, and his recent announcement that John Murtha (Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry) was a "phony soldier" because he accurately quoted several military investigators as saying that the evidence of the Haditha Massacre was extremely strong ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12838343/ ). And the Fat Boy, of course, has a tremendously bigger audience than any of us little bloggers.

 
Written By: Bruce Moomaw
URL: http://
The SS kid...on whose blog exactly was his home address posted?
 
Written By: Nikki
URL: http://

 
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