Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot

Since this is extracted from a New York Times article, I'm going to quote from it more extensively than usual, since I don't know how quickly they'll archive it.

If you've been paying attention to the blogosphere these past few days, a storm's been brewing over the Democratic response on September 29 to President Bush's weekly radio address. 12-year-old Graeme Frost urged Bush not to veto legislation that was then pending in Congress (and subsequently passed):
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 — There have been moments when the fight between Congressional Democrats and President Bush over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program seemed to devolve into a shouting match about who loves children more.

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.
OK, so far, no harm, no foul. The anger the Republicans felt was directed where it should have been: at the Democrats, not Frost or his family.

And then the Republicans called in their orc stormtroopers...:
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.
There is a certain disingenousness about attacking a 12 year old (and you'll note the White House silence on this so far) and his family to the point where in truth, these blogophericals have stalked the Frosts.
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.

I suppose this all wouldn't be nearly so ugly if it wasn't for the confrontational attitude that many in the media, particularly Michelle "Jackpot Baby" Malkin who has a history of invading people's privacy while hypocritically bitching when the tables have been turned on her, having been forced to move (and admitting it on her blog) when Jesus' General posted general directions to her house at his blog.

Poor Jackpot Baby, but when you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas...

Back to the Frosts:
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.
Now, you'd think this is precisely the kind of family that Republicans would want to help!

After all, among the major reasons people give for filing bankruptcy and then going on public assistance is (drumroll, please) major catastrophic medical expenses not covered by health insurance.

As I said, you'd think...
But Michelle Malkin, one of the bloggers who have strongly criticized the Frosts, insisted Republicans should hold their ground and not pull punches.

“The bottom line here is that this family has considerable assets,” Ms. Malkin wrote in an e-mail message. “Maryland’s S-chip program does not means-test. The refusal to do assets tests on federal health insurance programs is why federal entitlements are exploding and government keeps expanding. If Republicans don’t have the guts to hold the line, they deserve to lose their seats.”
No. It doesn't means test.

Neither do SBA programs that are intended to rebuild businesses after a catastrophe like Katrina. Or tax deductions for property taxes. Or tax credits for farmers (Michelle, are you listening?). Or oil exploration credits. The interstate highways don't charge fees based on how expensive your car is.

And Iraq swore it didn't have WMDs, but no one bothered to wait around until that was "means tested" by Hans Blix, either.

The simple truth is, blogosphericals, that people suffer tragedies and can't afford to recover from them, even if they appear to be in fairly decent shape. Those of us who have the means to be able to recover shouldn't make fun of or harass those who don't.

Just as those of us who were born here of legal American citizens shouldn't denigrate the citizenship of jackpot babies. Thems the law, and that's the rule we play by.