Paul Krugman - Sliming Graeme Frost
All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.
Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies.
Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America, insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.
And there’s one more point that should not be forgotten: ultimately, this isn’t about the Frost parents. It’s about Graeme Frost and his sister.
I don’t know about you, but I think American children who need medical care should get it, period. Even if you think adults have made bad choices — a baseless smear in the case of the Frosts, but put that on one side — only a truly vicious political movement would respond by punishing their injured children.
E.J. Dionne - Meanies And Hypocrites
Conservatives claim to be in favor of stable families, small businesses, hard work, private schools, investment and homeownership. So why in the world are so many on the right attacking the family of Graeme Frost?This event has made it clear What the Republican Party has become! George W. Bush has been quick to use children and members of the military to make a point. Remember the snowflake babies? Did anyone follow them home or try to dig up dirt? I feel sorry for the Frost family but their greatest service has been to demonstrate how vicious the Republican Party has become and how broken the US health care system is. I'm not sure what the Republicans are trying to accomplish with this attack but it seems to have blown back in their face. They didn't want to discuss the issue but that's exactly what everyone is doing and major health care reform is probably a lot closer - just what they didn't want.
Frost is the 12-year-old from Baltimore who delivered the Democrats' reply to a radio address by President Bush in September. The seventh-grader pleaded -- in vain, it turned out -- that the president not veto Congress's $35 billion expansion of the children's health care program known as SCHIP. A car crash in December 2004 left two of Halsey and Bonnie Frost's children comatose, Graeme with a brain stem injury and Gemma, his sister, with a cranial fracture.
The kids were treated, thanks to SCHIP. The Frosts spoke out so the public would know that real people lie behind the acronym.
Their reward was to be trashed on right-wing blogs and talk radio as if they were multimillionaires ripping off the system. The assault on the Frosts apparently began on the Free Republic Web site and quickly spread to National Review Online, Power Line and Michelle Malkin's blog, as well as Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
And of what were the Frosts guilty? Well, they own their own home, which they bought for $55,000 in 1990 and which is now worth about $260,000; they invested in a commercial property, valued at $160,000; Halsey Frost, a self-employed woodworker, once owned a small business that was dissolved in 1999; and Graeme attends a private school on scholarship. I rely here on facts reported this week in the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times, both of which set straight the more outlandish claims made by the Frosts' attackers.
The right is unapologetic. "The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader," wrote National Review's Mark Steyn. "If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game."
Okay, the Democrats are "fair game," but a 12-year-old? No wonder nobody talks about compassionate conservatism anymore.
John Cole has officially defected from the Dark Side.
I guess I really am a card-carrying liberal now, because I think Paul Krugman gets it exactly right in this perfect summation of the last week: