Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Today the New York Times has a report out over the furor over 12-year-old Greame Frost, the young boy who gave the Democratic Radio address two weeks ago over S-CHIP.
Right wing sites have savagely assailed the use of such a young person to deliver a political message, and then attacked his family for being "too rich" to be eligible for such "lavish" benefits.
But now, that blather has been totally debunked.
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.
So has that stopped the right wing from slandering a 12-year-old and his family? Not even a little.
As I outlined in detail yesterday the wingnuts have shown just how much they care about "poor children" with initial attacks against the Frost's which went this way.
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."
Contrary to some critics I found on DU who wished to point the finger back at Democrats and the DNC for using the Frost's in their radio address and not backing them up... the fact is that they have backed them up.
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."
Now that it's been published that the Frost's total household income is only $45,000 - which easily meets the state cutoff of $55,220 for a family of six - capital Hill Republicans who had been planning to make considerable hay out of these "welfare scoff-laws" have decided to cool their jets.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, who were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance, have backed off.
An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, expressed relief that his office had not issued a press release criticizing the Frosts.
But cutting and running away from the issue - which Mitch McConnel's office apparently fed to the winger blogs in the first place - when you happen to be completely totally wrong doesn't seem to be Michelle Malkin's style. Instead, she's upped the attack.
A word for all the faux outraged leftists accusing conservative bloggers of waging a "smear campaign:" Asking questions and subjecting political anecdotes to scrutiny are what journalists should be doing.
When a family and Democrat political leaders drag a child down to Washington at 6 in the morning to read a script written by Senate Democrat staffers on a crusade to overturn a presidential veto, someone might have questions about the family’s claims. The newspapers don’t want to do their jobs. The vacuum is being filled.
If you don’t want questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage.
Fight your battles like adults and stop hiding behind youngsters dragging around red wagons filled with your talking points."
Apparently Malkin never considered that "real" journalists might have already asked these questions and found there was no "there" there. (How long would it have taken to ask and discover this is a family of six living on just $45,000 a year?)
Oh well, not that such a thing as a complete lack of facts would ever stop Malkin.
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."
As for accusations that bloggers were unfairly attacking a 12-year-old, Ms. Malkin wrote on her blog, "If you don’t want questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage."
Ok, so let me get this straight - Malkin is saying that because the Frost's home has appreciated over the last sixteen years, that when the Frost's applied for S-CHIP after their children suffered traumatic brain injuries in a car crash, that the state should make them appraised their home and if it's worth "too much" they should be denied care and be forced to sell it (which might have netted between $350,000-$400,000 in a depressed housing market) before providing for their children's healthcare?
So instead of receiving S-Chip they should live on the street, or even worse yet Rent - while trying to pay for private health care out of the house money once it finally clears escrow?
Pardon my clear precise English, but are you FUCKING SHITTING ME!?
So the Republican solution for the 47 Million people without heath care many of whom had to go into bankruptcy to pay medical bills is - sell your house and go into bankruptcy?
But then of course, there's always the Mystical Magical Fairy Tax Cuts that Malkin endorsed in her original attack on the Frosts.
So executive vice-presidents’ families are now the new new poor? I support lower taxes for the Frosts, increased child credits for the Frosts, an end to the "death tax" and other encroachments on transgenerational wealth transfer, and even severe catastrophic medical-emergency aid of one form or other. But there is no reason to put more and more middle-class families on the government teat, and doing so is deeply corrosive of liberty.
Yes, there is a reason - they have no other viable option.
At only $45,000 a year you could cut their taxes to zero and still wouldn't help much with family medical expenses which could easily be above $20,000. Subtract from that private school tuition of another $40,000 and were deep into the negative figures. (Graeme and his sister are attending the schools on state sponsored scholarships which currently costs the family $500/year) Also the Frost's aren't eligible for the "Death Tax" unless you want to go completely Oliver Twist and make the Frosts children into Orphans.
That's mighty nice work for a so-called "Party of Life."
Then again, the right-wing does seem have this odd fascination with Street Urchins. I'm sure we could just ask Mark Foley for the 4-1-1 on that.
Another major problem with Malkin's plan, and the reason the Frosts haven't decided to simply sell everything they own and buy private insurance is the fact that Private Insurance Won't Have Them!
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.
The dust has begun to fly so fast on this issue that Ezra Klein has challenged Malkin to a
Duel Debate on the issue.
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.
I'm expecting Malkin will be cutting and running from this challenge any second now - almost as quickly as the sprinted away from Max Blumenthal's questions about her support for internment camps at CPAC.
And isn't that such a courageous tendency for someone who took it upon herself to Publish the Frost's Home Address, so that all her wingnutty fans could give them the same stalkeratzi treatment that Vote Vets and Brian McGough have been receiving?
Classy people these aren't.
Programs like S-CHIP actually provide help to people who genuinely need it. Rather than helping the helpless through the tough times (that Repubs created) to get back on their feet, the right-wing would rather slam on it's "Right to Life" pulpit and attack Democrats for trying to help while they deny care to anyone who can't afford to pay through the nose a Right to Living.