The War Against Graeme Frost: Get That School Kid

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The war is continuing.

It is a brutal war. It’s now in a “take no prisoners” stage. It involves sending more troops out to the scene. It’s taking up lots of time as people find new ways to denounce the enemy. It will not end until the enemy is defeated and cannot raise his head to be a problem again.

No, that isn’t a report about the latest Iraq strategy, it’s a summary of the apparent war now raging against Graeme Frost, a 12 year old boy who the Democrats arranged to deliver a counter radio address to President George Bush, on the children’s health care issue.

Bush has been seemingly marginalized in opinion polls showing 70 percent of the American public support the BIPARTISAN SCHIP child’s health care plan he vetoed. But as long as the President has a veto, he can never really be marginalized, especially when he has a hard-core group of loyalists who would say a cabbage is a diamond ring if Bush said it was so.

These loyalists do NOT represent all members of the Republican Party, as polls increasingly show. There are some Republicans upset over this administration’s policies and its slash-and-burn political style. But the loyalists give Mr. Bush the ability to be a President who in essence has become The Faction President.

So what did the Democrats do?

They picked a kid to deliver the counter address. We wrote THIS POST that noted how effective it would be and the kind of media coverage it would get — putting a human face on a problem that Mr. Bush and his most loyal followers are trying to frame as a matter of ideology (we don’t want people turning to government insurance) or numbers debates. Or just a partisan ploy. Except it’s hard to explain Orrin Hatch — or did he recently switch parties — supporting it.

No matter. When I wrote that post I had a snarky paragraph in it — which I cut out.

The cut-out paragraph noted that now that this kid has come forward in 21st century America he was certain to be demonized — with every facet of his family history investigated, talk show hosts latching onto the slightest thing possible to discredit him, his parents’ parking tickets revealed, his trips to the office for talking in class revealed, and quotes appearing that he pulled the hair of the girl in front of him in class. Video cameras could secretly record him walking home from school, catching him as he jaywalked. Perhaps one of his parents had a DUI years ago — it would come out and be PROOF that what he said on radio had no merit.

But I felt it was too cheap a shot, too snarky, too uncharitable to the way politics works these days — and too unbelievable and it would spark the inevitable “how can you call yourself a moderate or a centrist” emails and comments that people make who apparently don’t read polls which show that moderates, centrists and independents do indeed reach strong conclusions — and vote for one party or another. So I sighed and I cut it.

But now I see it isn’t far from the truth.

You have people setting aside seconds of their finite lives to trying to discredit this kid. They deny that’s what it’s going on — but that IS WHAT IT IS and everyone knows full well that’s what it is.

Why? Because he made some points ABOUT POLICY. And rather than talk about the points, they are trying to discredit him and his family because that would (they feel) erase the points he made. It’s easier doing that then finding someone who can give counter arguments with facts and figures to negate Frost’s points.

One conservative writer now says it’s OK to go after kids — if his kid did something wrong he’d be slapped down.

Rather than link to that on this site, we’ll give you THIS LINK which also has a quote at the end that is quite fitting to the “level” of what now passes for political debate.

I would have included that quote here, but then I would have thought it was too snarky — but perhaps this time I would not have deleted it.

Uh, oh, Joe…here come the emails and posts saying you’re a liberal, a Democrat, you support Dennis Kucinich.

That is the way American politics now operates.

IGNORE the issue. IGNORE the debate on facts, figures, trends and what often-contradictory experts say.

Go after the people who dare to differ with you personally. If you can’t destroy then, then discredit them. Negatively label them in public, or send emails to others to try to get them to go after you.

But there ARE issues here. And the Los Angeles Times, in an editorial, notes how Mr. Bush’s veto not only makes no sense politically but as a matter of POLICY. Here are key portions:

Critics have called President Bush heartless for his veto last week of a compromise bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. True enough, but the president didn’t seem to be leading with his head either. In purporting to defend against a government takeover of the insurance industry, he blocked one of the best options for lifting families from wholly government-paid entitlements like Medicaid and into private insurance paid for in part by parents.

SCHIP isn’t welfare. In California, it is Healthy Families, the highly successful program that matches every state dollar with two from the federal government and entices parents to obtain and contribute to health coverage for their kids. Families that earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal (the California incarnation of Medicaid) but not enough to buy insurance on their own use Healthy Families to get their kids off to a good start in life and correct any problems that, left untreated, would turn into a larger taxpayer burden down the road. Those parents also get into the habit of making health insurance part of their budget, which is exactly what opponents of government-provided healthcare want.

There’s more but here is the ending:

That figure doesn’t cut it for California, where successful outreach has pulled thousands of new kids into the program and could target thousands more. At the level of funding Bush is willing to accept, those kids would be left without insurance — or in programs that increase the burden on taxpayers — nine months into next year. Every year after, coverage would lapse earlier and earlier. That would deepen California’s healthcare crisis even as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats attempt to cut a deal to expand coverage.

Congress will try to override the veto later this month. If a few more members get clued in to the wisdom of using government help to introduce families to private health insurance, they will do a world of good for thousands of children.

Those who support Bush and the group of win-one-for-our-team might perhaps focus their efforts countering arguments such as this. Then you’d have an actual back-and-forth debate over issues and come up with policy (which might be different from the existing bill).

But no, it’s easier to go after a 12 year-old. After all, these days, anyone who is in the way of an agenda has to be discredited so that no one listens to them anymore.

Yet, once upon a time, American society would pull out all stops not to go after a kid. The bar has been lowered yet again.

This time it has been lowered so far, it has struck oil amid the sleaze.

There was a more innocent time when kids raced to their TV sets, to turn channels to find their favorite such as Howdy Doody and Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney.

They’d sit at their sets — and kids would zealously go after the puppets and dummies.

We won’t add a snarky comment about how in early 21st century America, this has been seemingly and lamentably reversed.

To read other posts on the Internet on this issue representing other views GO HERE.