From Sadly No:
I will stop blogging about this eventually, but Right Wingnutistan’s latest foray into unabashed insanity has even me stunned. Big Daddy Ezra K writes:
Something has really gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin’s cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they’ve spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game — he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home to inspect its worth, they insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud to receive government benefits, they make threatening phone calls to the family.
This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he “really” needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
And that, my friend, is what is truly stunning. I say a lot of nasty things about right-wing crazies such as Dan Riehl. But it would never occur to me to invade his privacy by posting live dispatches about his living conditions from the shrub outside his driveway. What Malkin and her fellow travelers are doing is creepy and immoral, and they don’t seem to give a damn about it one way or another. The idea that these people make up any significant part of our population- even if it’s only 30%- is terrifying to me. Where does this sort of viciousness come from?
The New York Times now covers it, and provides facts about the Frost family. No, they may not be destitute (nobody ever said they were), but they were precisely the type of middle-class family that SCHIP was designed to protect. In fact, most lower middle class families cannot afford medical bills when one of their family members suffers a catastrophic illness or injury. Emphases are mine.
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.
But what on the surface appears to be yet another partisan feud, all the nastier because a child is at the center of it, actually cuts to the most substantive debate around S-chip. Democrats say it is crucially needed to help the working poor — Medicaid already helps the impoverished — but many Republicans say it now helps too many people with the means to help themselves.
The feud also illustrates what can happen when politicians showcase real people to make a point, a popular but often perilous technique. And in this case, the discourse has been anything but polite.
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.”
Democrats, including the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, have risen to the Frosts’ defense, saying they earn about $45,000 a year and are precisely the type of working-poor Americans that the program was intended to help.
Ms. Pelosi on Tuesday said, “I think it’s really a sad statement about how bankrupt some of these people are in their arguments against S-chip that they would attack a 12-year-old boy.”
The ugly Michelle Malkin is quoted in the article, too.