Saturday, October 13, 2007

Republican Tough Guys Rough Up a 12-Year-Old

Latest Newspaper Column:

A few weeks ago, during the controversy over expanding federal funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (an expansion that had bipartisan support), 12-year-old Graeme Frost delivered the Democratic radio address.

After President Bush went on the air and threatened a veto of the expansion, Graeme told the story of how SCHIP helped him and his family out. Graeme and his sister had been in a severe car accident and had suffered serious injuries from which they still haven't fully recovered.

"We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the SCHIP program," he said. "But there are millions of kids out there who don't have SCHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. I just hope the president will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me."

Well, if you try to put a human face on an issue, leave it to right-wing Republicans to try to punch that face, even if it belongs to a child.

Rep. John Boehner huffed that Graeme was being used as a "human shield." Others went even further. Graeme's family, accused the right-wing blog Free Republic, were "not so poor" because the kids went to private school. This conveniently ignored the fact that Graeme gets a scholarship and his sister receives state tuition aid because of the severe brain injuries she received in the accident.

Mark Riehl of the conservative blog "Riehl World View" was "sympathetic" to the children, sort of: "They look more like victims of a couple of mostly spoiled brats who became parents and never felt compelled to take responsibility for themselves when it came to the bottom line on that." Doggone those spoiled, lazy parents! How dare they let their kids get into a horrific car wreck!

Not content with merely smearing the Frosts online, some of these Good Americans took it upon themselves to actually drive to their place of business and interrogate their neighbors.

Michelle Malkin gleefully reported that she had "just returned" from driving by the Frost's house and visiting the building where Mr. Frost's business was located. She admitted that another tenant in the building characterized the Frosts as "struggling," but dismissed said tenant since he was, according to Malkin, "an outspoken advocate for socialized health care and an insistent critic of the Iraq war."

She admitted that "guesstimates" of the value of the Frosts' home at $400,000 were "high" but went on to say that "they had made the choice to invest in property and a business, instead of health insurance." Now normally, investing in property and business would be considered a good thing by Republicans, but apparently that's only if you're on their side.

Mark Steyn of National Review Online was quick to defend attacking children: "If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job," he insisted, "then the boy is fair game. Any time I send my 7-year-old out to argue policy, you're welcome to clobber him, too." Ol' Mark's really pulling out all stops in pursuit of that Father of the Year Award, isn't he?

Like most Republican outrage, this sudden distaste for using children as political symbols is highly situational -- that is, it's only bad if Democrats do it.

Remember Elian Gonzales, whose terrified visage was plastered all over right-wing media as an example of Bill Clinton's "fascism"? Or how about Noah McCullough, the 9-year-old Texas boy who was signed up by a group called Progress For America to be a spokesman for Bush's Social Security "reform" plan?

"What I want to tell people is to not be afraid of the new plan," Noah told The New York Times. "It may be a change, but it's a good change."

Hey, everybody! I've got a great idea! Let's all drive down to Texas and drive by Noah's house! We can harass his neighbors and stalk his family too! After all, he's fair game! National Review says so! Who's with me?

No one, of course. And you know why? Because we're better people than that. Even if we might disagree with using a kid to make a political point, we'd never stoop to attacking the kid and his family.

You want to know why I'm not a Republican, despite actually agreeing with conservatives on some things? It's because if I were, I'd be associated with the type of thugs who think it's cool to smear, stalk, and demonize two injured children and their family, all to intimidate people who dare question the Dear Leader.

Kick this vicious scum to the curb, and maybe we'll talk.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of callous scumbags:
Elian Gonzales was not a prop for some made up cause. He is a real human being whose mother sacrificed her life to secure a life in freedom for him. I can understand that to people who never lacked it, the word "freedom" might sound like nothing more than a cheap cliche to sneer at. To those who ever lived deprived of it, it's similarly precious as is the ability to breath to people who were ever gagged. Your complaints about the "attacks" on a little boy by driving by his house and talking to his neighbours would feel more sincere and less like just another piece of cheap partisan demagoguery if you cared to spare a thought for the fate of a little boy who has been sent back to the hellhole island, to have his childhood ruined by years of serving as a political prop, and to spend the rest of his life, or at least Fidel's life, under strict surveillance, because the regime would rather kill him than lose a propaganda battle by ever allowing him to escape again. Noah McCullough having been used to promote a policy might be a fair criticism. But nobody with a shred of decency and most elementary knowledge about what life in Cuba is really like could be so crass as to use his case for a cheap shot to make his ideological case.
Certainly, there are some less than decent people among Republicans - as they are in any large enough crowd. I can recall some less than charitable comments in the press about Judge Roberts' children who did nothing more political than being simply present and behaving as children at their father's appointment ceremony and some pretty nasty stuff about the Bush twins behaving like teenagers during their teenage years.
So please, just stay on your side on the street. We don't need any more of your kind on ours.

JD Rhoades said...

But nobody with a shred of decency and most elementary knowledge about what life in Cuba is really like could be so crass as to use his case for a cheap shot to make his ideological case.

I agree, which is why I abhor the way Republicans and Cuban exiles have been using Elian for the last few years.

So please, just stay on your side on the street. We don't need any more of your kind on ours.

It's that kind of divisive hateful talk that's going to cost you the next election. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I don't hate you. I feel sorry for you. Maybe, some day, you realize you're not as smart as you always thought you were, and other people are not as stupid as you always thougt they were. And that will be the first little step on the thousand mile journey towards maturity and genuine decency. Wish you best of luck.

JD Rhoades said...

Generic Republican bullshit, completely devoid of content. This "answer" bears no relation to the topic under discussion and could have been posted by a random post generator.

This is all you and your kind have left, Ivan, and that's why you lose.

Anonymous said...

You make my point. I prefer dealing with piss coming into my tent to finding myself in the position of having to defend or justify somebody's pissing from my tent onto somebody else's property. Some day, maybe you stop pretending that you care about the needy and admit to yourself that you just hate the caricatures you make of people who have opinions different from you. Look at what and how you write. What emanates - love or hate?

JD Rhoades said...

What in the world are you babbling about? This "liberals are full of hate" nonsense is projection of the most pathetic kind. It wasn't liberals posting things about a twleve year old like this:

If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. ... I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I'd do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info.

It was your wingnut buddies at

All your piety about "love" rings pretty hollow when you consider how much vitriol has been spewed by the people you seem to idolize. Go peddle that bullshit somewhere else, Ivan, because if you try to sell it here, we ain't buying.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how eager people of your mindset are to prove a other people's points: I mention your making caricatures of people who disagree with you and you come up with the completely made up stuff about my alleged "buddies" and speculations about whom I might "idolize". -- Now, about your kind invitation for me to leave, sure, why not. But how about making up your mind? If you don't want people to comment on your article, have you considered removing the "Post a Comment" attached to it? Or, if you're only interested in accolades, shouldn't you add that bit to the invitation? -- But don't worry, you won't hear from me again. I would pray for your soul but as I am an agnostic, it probably wouldn't make much sense. So I just wish you to grow up sooner rather than later.

JD Rhoades said...

Oh, please. No one's asking you to leave, just telling you we're not buying any more of this "you're the haters" bullshit.

Boy, you really do ring all the tired old changes, don't you? Now you've moved on to the ever popular "help! I'm being repressed!" fake-martyrdom.

Here's a news flash, Ivan old bean: it's not us liberal bloggers who delete posts and ban people for failing to toe their party line. It's the wingnut blogs like Redstate and Freerepublic who delete all dissent, then chuckle about how they "burned another troll."

Are you really this stupid or are you just a pathological liar? Either way, please do stick around. I'm enjoying kicking your ass.