Breaking News On The Frost Front

Yesterday, in another one of her spit-fleckled posts about the rich little bastard Graham Frost, Michelle Malkin veered perilously close to an actual argument:

Like the Frosts, the new spokesfamily has a tragic personal story and is a curious example of the supposedly pressing need for S-CHIP expansion…because the family already qualifies for the existing program and nothing President Bush or the Dems propose to do would change that.

This was quickly dropped to once again begin frothing about human shields and evil Democrats and the like. For a fleeting moment, though, it looked like an actual argument was forming, but it was lost in the red meat for the masses in yet another unabomber manifesto.

Bonus Malkin: “Look at me! I’m a victim! Again! Leftosphere! RARARRRAGGH!








And Another Thing

Not much new with the Frost kerfuffle, but there are two things worth discussing this morning:

1.) I have noticed a trend regarding those who think it was acceptable to savage this family, and it is best illustrated by a comment from Jay Caruso in the comments section:

I have to laugh at the irony of a bunch of nimrods blubbering like schoolgirls about the big mean Republicans, yet nobody seems to care that the Democrats chose to use this 12 year old boy as a political prop. And John, before you climbed out of your pod, you’d have been one of the first to hit the Democrats right between the eye for pulling a stunt like this.

They’re going to get their political mileage out of this, but guess what? If the program doesn’t change and this family doesn’t get covered, the same Democrats who weep for this poor family WON’T DO A FUCKING THING FOR THEM.

Once the tank runs dry on the political gas the Dems get out of this, they’ll say, “Who?” when asked about Graeme Frost afterwards.

So get the hell over yourselves.

Look, I can understand why you might be frustrated when you think the Democrats (or anyone, really) are using people as shields to promote policy. I remember a certain blogger who was livid that the Democrats seemed to be doing just that with a certain individual named Cindy Sheehan. I can understand why people would get frustrated if the Democrats put up a little boy who stated “Please don’t kill this bill or I will suffer.” It would be demagoguery and shameless and it would be hiding behind a kid.

But that isn’t what happened here. What happened here is that the Democrats chose someone who had been helped by the program, and they stood up and told people that it had helped them and an expansion might help others. I am not the brightest guy on the planet (entire websites exist to point this out), but even I figured this out. Hell, you might read what the kid said:

“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.”

Got it? “This helped me, I want it to help others.” It wasn’t hiding behind a kid, it was the picture of advocacy by citizens who had been helped by a government program (Given the governance of the past few years, I will admit that it is entirely conceivable that a certain subset of those screeching are unaware that government programs are allowed to help people. Not all of them are designed to whisk people away to secret CIA facilities or read your email and listen to your phonecalls.).

It is, also, not the first time something like this has been done. By now you have heard of Noah McCullough, the nine year old who traveled with Bush to advocate on behalf of social security. Or the snowflake babies, on stage with Bush when he vetoed the stem-cell bill. My memory is not perfect, but I do not remember similar campaigns to viciously attack these kids and their families.

Aside from the disgusting nature of the attacks on the Frost family, this is one of the things that has many of us aghast. To what end are these Freepers and Malkinites and Corner readers attacking these people, as even if the Bush veto of the expansion holds, they are going to still qualify for the program? The inability to recognize this, and the instinctive need to just attack, attack, attack and smear, smear, smear is what has surprised me the most. This is not a policy dispute to these folks- this is tribalism, and something deeper and darker and more sinister. It was a mob whipped into a frenzy, a blind rage, and there was no point to it other than the rage itself.

Which, I suppose, was the point to these folks and their ringleaders. Which leads us to the second thing worth discussing this morning.

2.) Michelle Malkin, in a ranting, frothing, and incoherent screed that appears to have been co-written by Bill O’Reilly and the Unabomber, has, politely declined to debate Ezra Klein on the merits of SCHIP and other health initiatives:

On behalf of all liberal bloggers of purported good faith, the Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein has chivalrously stepped up to the plate to challenge me to a debate about S-CHIP.

I’m. Trrrrembling.

With. Laughter.

A good-faith debate would require that Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein actually be a person of good faith. He is treated as such in some elite conservative circles, where his work is linked frequently and intellectual repartee among the Beltway boys’ club is warm and chummy. He is free to continue traveling in those cozy circles where highbrow right-wingers are not so mean and scary.

But I’d just as soon share a stage, physical or virtual, with Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein as I would with Chris Matthews, Geraldo Rivera, or an overflowing vat of liquid radioactive waste.

***

Good faith, eh? What would Ezra Klein know about it?

Now, run along and thump your chest over your “victory” at BloggingHeadsTV or something.

I have to get back to work. You know, “stalking.” “Assault.” “Savagings.” “Howling. “Braying.” “Hateful orgies.”

That stuff.

It really speaks for itself, and is worthy of a chuckle or two as you re-read this Captain Ed post cautioning the right to bring this debate back to policy.

This never was about policy to Michelle and her net followers. This was about rage. This was about “us” versus “them” and “they” had to be destroyed because “they” are evil leftists who dared to challenge Bush. It was about fomenting anger, about whipping people up into a jealous rage- “LOOK AT THE BIG HOUSE THE FROST FAMILY HAS- WORTH A HALF A MILLION- AND THEY WANT YOU TO PAY FOR THEIR CHILDREN,” and then letting the mob do the rest. Goebbels truly would be proud.

But like all schoolyard bullies, when punched in the mouth, they back down. Given the chance to debate the policy she clearly feels so strongly about, Michelle wimped out. She turned her tails and fled. One could say she gave the French response.

I hope a lesson has been learned this week- when Malkin and her cohorts attack, you stiffen your spine, put on your hip waders to deal with their bullshit, and you throw it back in their face. Behind all that bluster, there really is not much there. Just scared, petty, loudmouth bullies.

*** Update ***

Alternate working title for this post: “Cheese Eating Surrender Malkin.”

*** Update #2 ***

This may be the greatest comment on the Malkin/Klein non-debate:

Malkin’s reply:

“Debate” Ezra Klein? What a perverse distraction and a laughable waste of time that would be. And that’s what they really want, isn’t it? To distract and waste time so they can foist their agenda on the country unimpeded.”

Yes, that was the plan. And now that she’s on to it, I might as well confess our scheme: Dispatch Klein to tie up Malkin for an hour or so, and while she’s distracted, push universal health insurance through Congress. Indeed, we’ve used similar tactics in the past, such as 1993, when we passed the Clinton tax hike after luring Rush Limbaugh to an all-you-can-eat buffet for much of the afternoon. Next time we’ll have to be even smarter.

Heh.








Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

At Wingnut Media Central, this “report”:

Ann Coulter did her best to drop a bomb on the October 10 episode of “Tucker” on MSNBC. At the conclusion of her interview, Ann Coulter announced that the National Enquirer was just reporting that John Edwards had an 18-month affair while on the campaign trail. You can read the story here.

Before going any further, this allegation must be met with a healthy degree of skepticism. First of all, the story is originating from the National Enquirer, which in and of itself, raises questions as to the story’s reliability. Secondly, Coulter had a notorious run-in earlier this year with Elizabeth Edwards on an MSNBC episode of “Harball.” Coulter would have every motivation to repeat a salacious tabloid sex allegation about John Edwards.

***

With that said, though, you would think that the mere allegation would be worthy of a media frenzy based upon its recent behavior. The media have extensively covered the “bathroom sex” case of Senator Larry Craig. Before that, the media happily reported when Sentator David Vitter’s phone number showed up in the records of the “DC Madam.” Even before that, the Mark Foley story lingered for a month during a crucial point in the 2006 campaign.

***

So now we have a tabloid allegation of marital infidelity by a presidential candidate. And the allegation has been repeated by Ann Coulter on MSNBC – so it’s not as if it can be completely ignored at this point.

But there are big differences between this story and the others mentioned. The sex scandals listed above all involved Republican politicians. And there is less possibility to frame Ann Coulter in a negative light here.

It is not unprecedented for the press to cover a sex scandal involving a Democratic candidate for presdient. Going way back in time, Senator Gary Hart ruined his presidential chances with an extramarital affair, which received plenty of press coverage at the time.

In this case, though, the question has to be asked: will the mainstream media pursue this allegation at all? If the media is to be consistent in its energized pursuit of sex scandals involving politicians, then it will be beating down doors to either confirm of refute this allegation. But will they? The first thought is that the media would be inclined to ignore the allegation, but the potential boost to the Clinton campaign might give the mainstream media a reason for following this storyline. Time will tell.

Let’s put aside the fact that the truth detectors at Newsbusters are comfortable regurgitating the National Enquirer. Let’s put aside their willingness to do Ann Coulter’s work of helping throw this story into circulation. Let’s put aside the fact that the chief difference between all the other “sex” stories and this one is that the others ACTUALLY happened. Let’s put aside all the questions and other comments and focus on the sheer devious nature of the evil liberal media.

Because, as the author clearly points out, if they cover the gossip, they are biased and trying to help Hillary. If they don’t, they are biased and trying to cover for Democrats.

In case you didn’t know, btw, Ann Coulter has a book to sell, so who knows what other bile she will belch into the body politic the next few weeks. One thing is sure, we can count on the citizen journalists at Newsbusters to give it wide play.








Next Stage: Denial

Looks like the wingnuts got out too far ahead of the boys in Washington on this one:

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.

This has not gone unnoticed in some quarters. Captain Ed:

However, the response on the Right sometimes outstripped reason. Rather than just argue the facts, some in the comments section here and elsewhere went too far in speculating about finances and motives of the Frost family. Certainly, their argument was fair game, as well as their claim on federal assistance, which is after all public money. The S-CHIP debate doesn’t just focus on the Frosts, though (and we find out that the expansion argument wasn’t even relevant to them). We have plenty of reasons to oppose the S-CHIP expansion that have little to do with the Frosts, and we should be focusing on policy, not personal anecdotes.

Rick Moran and the American Thinker:

Bloggers who helped circulate financial information about the family over the weekend backed off a bit Tuesday. “It’s the difference between Google and journalism,” said Rick Moran, who penned a piece for The American Thinker. “It’s been proven that the family was means-eligible.” His editor, Thomas Lifson, said, “It’s just more complicated than might have appeared in the first round of investigation.”

The saner elements in the 28% crowd are beginning to recognize how awful they have looked the past few days. Not so, at WINGNUT HQ, where Malkin is taking a cue from Major General Oliver Smith and shouts out “Retreat, hell! We’re just attacking in another direction!:”

Here’s the Baltimore Sun’s nutroots-approved follow-up piece on the Frost family, using a single, rotten comment by a stupid RedState commenter to tar all conservative bloggers as hatemongers. Interestingly, the Sun asked the Frost parents to verify their claimed income and the couple declined. Also, the Sun reported that all four of the children attend private schools, not just two. The paper is silent on when the family started receiving claimed tuition breaks and how much the family spent on private-school tuition each year prior to the accident–i.e., at a time when they chose not to buy private health insurance. The Frosts tell the Sun they put their children in the public arena to support S-CHIP.

Damn that single Red State commenter! Damn him to hell!

Of course, you could scroll up to where she approvingly links to Mark Steyn:

Mr Frost works “intermittently”. The unemployment rate in the Baltimore metropolitan area is four-percent. Perhaps he chooses to work “intermittently,” just as he chooses to send his children to private school, and chooses to live in a 3,000-square-foot home.

Or you could go here, where there was no hate in this sneering aside from Michelle:

Question: How many working poor couples get wedding announcements in the New York Times?

Nevermind that things change with time, and that announcement was from 1992. For example, just a few years ago, I sometimes linked approvingly to Michelle. Now I think she is a gaping asshole and everything that is wrong with the Republican party. See? Things do change.

And you can scroll down to where Michelle asked, “Like why a “working family” in need of government-subsidized health care can afford to send two children to a $20,000-a-year-private school.”

Or to where she linked to Don Surber sneering– ““Interesting that public schools aren’t good enough for their kids but public health insurance is.””

And we could go on and on, through her links and through her comments, and we will see it is simply not the case of one Red State commenter. It is Michelle’s monster that she helped to create and helps perpetuate. You didn’t get smeared by the Baltimore Sun, petunia, you were called out.

At Michelle’s website, denial IS just a river in Egypt.

At any rate, Tom Waits put Michelle’s position into song and verse:

I’d sell your heart to the junkman baby
For a buck, for a buck
If you’re looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch
You’re out of luck, you’re out of luck

Ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking

There’s a leak, there’s a leak in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves and lawyers

God’s away, God’s away
God’s away on business, business
God’s away, God’s away
God’s away on business, business

The wingnuts have spoken. Shut the fuck up until you have NOTHING, and then we will think about it. But don’t get your hopes up, because if we can find one commenter on our website who allegedly may have it worse than you, all bets are off. And get a real job, you lazy bastards.








Arise, Wingnuts, Arise!

Michelle sends out the distress signal to Greater Wingnuttia, and, predictably, it is she who is the victim yet again:

On Monday, I did something that has everyone from King Kos on down to the dregs (a short traveling distance, to be sure) screaming “Stalker!” What did I do? I went up to Baltimore and interviewed a tenant at health-care poster parent Halsey Frost’s place of business and drove past the Frost home. That’s not “stalking.” That’s not “harassing.” It’s reporting.

This is stalking.

Why did I take the time to go to Baltimore? Because bloggers raised questions about the Frosts’ financial situation and made specific reference to these pieces of real estate. I did not “harass” the Frosts. I simply reported what the tenant told me and described what I saw after driving by their home. My basic reporting rebutted some impressions left by other bloggers on the right who haven’t been to these sites and assumed they were high-end luxury properties. They’re not. Moreover, I corrected the mistake that some of these bloggers made in overvaluing the house at $400,000-plus. It’s closer to $300,000.

The bottom line remains:

This family made choices. Choices have consequences. Taxpayers of lesser means should not be forced to subsidize them.

Meanwhile, others are shifting the smear machine into neutral before most likely making a quiet exit from this debate:

Bloggers who helped circulate financial information about the family over the weekend backed off a bit Tuesday. “It’s the difference between Google and journalism,” said Rick Moran, who penned a piece for The American Thinker. “It’s been proven that the family was means-eligible.” His editor, Thomas Lifson, said, “It’s just more complicated than might have appeared in the first round of investigation.”

Both said the Frosts became fair game by putting their family in the political arena. They questioned Democrats’ decision to use a 12-year-old as their spokesman. “It just smacked me as being unfair,” Moran said. “You cannot criticize the program without being accused of going after the boy.”

And finally, if you want to know how crazy, and how stupid, and how destructive this latest flare-up in Wingnuttia has been, think of it this way- THEY LOST AJ STRATA:

Much of what I have to say is based on information in my first, long post from yesterday. A lot also came from reading the blogs left and right yesterday. The Frost family is of very modest income for the area they live. They make $45K a year in an area where the medium income is about $86K a year. To qualify for S-CHIP in MD they cannot make over $61K. They are not rich by any standard. And liquidating all they own an becoming totally destitute would not cover the medical costs of two kids with serious injuries and a long road to recovery. The folks whining about their choices need to start from the facts and the fact is they needed to get help for their kids and help was available to them.

They are self sufficient entrepreneurs who try to give their kids the best. They supposedly paid their taxes, which in my mind gave them the right to access those government programs. They have 6 wonderful children and they have stayed together as a family. As one leftwing site noted yesterday they are really a poster family for the GOP. And that is what should have been leveraged instead of the low-brow attack mode some have lazily come to rely on for political discourse.

Heckuva job, nutters.

And remember the Malkin creed: CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES.

The Frost’s chose not to sell their modest home to cover what would have been a fraction of their medical bills and become homeless, and therefore it is every patriot’s obligation to shit all over them every chance we get.

*** Update ***


The Frost elders, luxuriating on the front porch of their palatial mansion. (Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / October 9, 2007)

Big profile on the enemy in The Baltimore Sun. And check out the size of that pumpkin- it had to cost at least 15 bucks. Someone get Malkin and Riehl on that shit- choices, you know.

*** Update #2 ***

The Newshoggers:

Basically, she doesn’t approve of the choices that this family has made. Doesn’t approve of their jobs. Doesn’t approve of their home. Doesn’t approve of what the schools where they send their children. So she strongly, vehemently believes that the state of Maryland should have forced them to sell their home, burn through the profits and any savings they may have on medical bills, and then, once they were really poor, I guess we could talk about whether, as Michelle repeatedly states, “Taxpayers of lesser means should…be forced to subsidize them.” (Sorry, her statement is a more of a commandment, that taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize them.)