I was talking to Tim via AOL IM, and I decided it was probably worthwhile to bring this up for everyone. One of the things that is so surprising (for me, at least) about the whole Graeme Frost episode is that rather than make their case against this program with their vicious assault against this family, they Malkin/Freeper/Limbaugh brigade are doing just the opposite. Rather than expose this family as a bunch of frauds and lazy slackers and welfare queens, they are making the family’s case.
If you look through this family’s dossier, it appears they are doing everything Republicans say they should be doing- hell, their story is almost what you would consider a checklist for good, red-blooded American Republican voters: they own their own business, they pay their taxes, they are still in a committed relationship and are raising their kids, they eschewed public education and are doing what they have to do to get them into Private schools, they are part of the American dream of home ownership that Republicans have been pointing to in the past two administrations as proof of the health of the economy, and so on.
In short, they are a white, lower-middle-class, committed family, who is doing EVERYTHING the GOP Kultur Kops would have you believe people should be doing. They aren’t gay. They aren’t divorced. They didn’t abort their children. They aren’t drug addicts or welfare queens. They are property owners, entrepeneurs, taxpayers, and hard-working Americans. I bet nine times out of ten in past elections, if you handed this resume to a pollster, they would think you were discussing the prototypical Republican voter. Hell, the only thing missing from this equation is membership to a church and an irrational fear of Muslims and you HAVE the prototypical Bush voter.
They are, however, not without fault. They are unable to afford insurance through normal means (and now that they have pre-existing conditions, probably couldn’t get traditional insurance anyway), and managed to get several of their family members injured in a traumatic accident. And, it appears, those are the big blind spots for compassionate conservatism. That, and the real big sin- allowing themselves to advocate for a policy that the Decider was going to veto. Here it is, so you can see their grievous sin that requires they be destroyed:
“Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I’m 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably haven’t heard of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today.
“CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn’t eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse. I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.
“My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program.
“But there are millions of kids out there who don’t have CHIP, and they wouldn’t get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.
“Now I’m back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don’t talk the same way I used to. And I can’t walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can’t play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I’m just happy to be back with my friends.
“I don’t know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I’m glad I could see them because of the Children’s Health Program.
“I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me. This is Graeme Frost, and this has been the Weekly Democratic Radio address. Thanks for listening.”
Pretty strong stuff. I can see why this rabid dog needs to be put down with the full force of the wingnutosphere. And it just goes downhill from there. We learn from our intrepid “reporters” on the right that $45,000 is now rich, which is news to me and everyone else who remember mocking Democrats when they tried to claim $100k combined income was considered rich. You righties do remember that, don’t you?
At any rate, let’s look at some of the pithy advice offered from the right for how the Frost family should deal with millions of dollars of medical bills:
I think the property was valued at around $225,000. I dunno, I have no sympathy for them. Looks like they have more than enough money for luxuries they won’t sacrifice, yet they expect everyone else to sacrifice for them. My family had to sell our house because we couldn’t afford to keep it, have one used minivan and a clunker my husband uses to get back and forth to work, and until this past weekend we didn’t have a television because it was a luxury we couldn’t justify spending on. No private schools for my 3 kids- can’t even afford daycare. Yet we manage to afford health insurance, keep our rental home comfy, and have food on the table. I’m content with what I have and certainly don’t want anyone else paying for what I can afford, after cutting out the luxuries.
15 years ago, when my then-wife and I discovered we were going to have a child – I had a job with no health insurance.
I changed jobs – period. I was stupid and willing to go without insurance for myself – but with my child there was no way I was going to risk it.
These parents have the same opportunity.
They chose not to find jobs that offered health insurance – and they chose to spend their money elsewhere.
Then, when tragedy strikes, they’re held up as models of “what’s wrong with this country”.
Sorry – but they should be held up as models of “What’s wrong with many Americans”.
My bad- they don’t have any advice other than “SUCKS TO BE YOU” or “SELL YOUR HOUSE” or “GET ANOTHER JOB.” Because, as we all know, the hallmark of responsibility is making your children homeless so they can maybe get healthcare. Nobody even pointed to the numerous charities that we conservatives are supposed to expect to fill the gap so the government doesn’t have to pay for things. Instead, it was taunts, catcalls, contempt, and jealousy (because these folks are in SUCH an enviable situation).
I simply can not believe this is what the Republican party has become. I just can’t. It just makes me sick to think all those years of supporting this party, and this is what it has become. Even if you don’t like the S-Chip expansion, it is hard to deny what Republicans are- a bunch of bitter, nasty, petty, snarling, sneering, vicious thugs, peering through people’s windows so they can make fun of their misfortune.
I’m registering Independent tomorrow.
*** Update ***
They have even pissed off Joe Gandelman, which I didn’t think was possible. The harshest language I have ever seen him use is “drat,” or “shoot.”