Oct 10 2007

Conservatives Implode On Their S-CHIP Smear

Published by at 9:00 am under All General Discussions

Update: This is why this kind of mob-attack is so self destructive – this is passion run amok which is now a news media representation of the GOP on health care:

But while the Frosts were helping a bipartisan majority in Congress sell a plan to expand the program, they were not prepared for comments such as this one, posted over the weekend on the conservative Web site Redstate:

“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.”

The family relied on SCHIP during the more than five months that the children were hospitalized. Graeme had to learn again to walk and talk, his parents say; he remains weak on his left side and speaks with a lisp. Gemma is blind in her left eye; she has difficulty with memory, learning and speech, and sees a behavioral psychologist to help her deal with her frustration.

This is fair game – and why the handling of this issue has crippled conservatism because it was led by thoughtless reactionaries. Why would anyone align with people like this who are vile and political incompetents to boot? This is why the GOP is going to lose, it can’t correct for mistakes. – – end update

Something is in the water on the right side of the political spectrum. We have seen emotion driven attacks on a family that is in the perfect situation to be an example FOR market driven health care in this country. The mob is so focused on attacking the family (and then covering up for their mistake in doing so) the irony of their blunder just escapes them. Now some are crying out they are being censored when, in fact, they are simply being challenged in the forum of public debate – and losing miserably. But let’s review the facts before we dissect the why today’s angst on the right is not about policy but personal embarrassment from overstepping in the first place.

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 and becoming totally destitute would not cover the medical costs of two kids with serious injuries and a long road to recovery. I know, I have seen the cost of simply delivering premature twins. 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 4 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.

The Frosts had an emergency and we, their neighbors, were going to subsidize them one way or the other. Either through taxes or insurance premiums we were going to help out. So to say they are free-loading on the rest of us through their decisions is mindless bunk. Taxes or premiums – we pay for EVERYONE. The question is whether we keep our free market health care or get roped into a government mandated disaster like the ones in Europe and Canada. The NY Times has more real reporting on the family today, which IS in financial straits.

There are OTHER arguments that should have been made before personal attacks where ever contemplated (too many run on knee-jerk responses – which by definition means the brain is not engaged). First: The BUSH proposal on S-CHIP would have had no effect on the Frosts or anyone in their situation since the program was going to get an increase in funds no matter which option was passed in the Congress. Second (and most important): to retain our free market health care system – and the competition it creates to foster innovation, price control and quality of service – we need to allow for more families like the Frosts and programs like S-CHIP.

‘Free Market’ means free to decide how to handle your health care individually. That includes paying out of pocket without insurance, or with limited insurance. A government run health care system must mandate everyone participate and pay insurance premiums through taxes if it has prayer of not collapsing at the vert start. Therefore, the Frosts ARE the prime example of free market health care, and the dialogue should have been on what kind of service they would have gotten under Hillary-Care! That would have been the way to address this – adopt the family as an example of US health care WORKING.

The people who attacked this family as frauds were wrong. All negative and disparaging comments about the family’s decisions on health care choices are in total opposition to the supposed conservative-preferred free market health care approach, and were wrong. All comments about their rich income and financial status were wrong. All those who claim they free-loaded on the rest of us were wrong – we subsidize them either way (premiums or taxes). All those who were wrong and cannot face that fact are hurting their own image and the conservative cause, and simply compounding their mistakes. I see the self destruction of the conservative movement and I think it is wrong – liberal policy solutions are wrong.

But we have people who have gorged on the ego-of-success that comes with getting a large following, and then panic as they start to see it fade. The fact the mob mentality can apparently be sustained indefinitely over the internet is one aspect of this brave new world which is a definite negative. With constant bombardment on the net we can push our way forward through barriers – or we can doggedly run off the cliff barging through all the safety devices meant to keep us on the right path.

People are mindlessly attacking each other with lust based on cursory information and claims, and then crying victim when they have blundered. We cannot blame others for pointing out our mistakes when we go to such lengths to publish them and communicate them out to the world. The backlash is not censorship – it is the body politic trying to restore balance. And if we fight that balance we can be rejected by the body politic for not listening or being respectful. It is time to address HOW we want this new world to debate and where the boundaries are. And how to react when we cross those boundaries. I doubt we will respect someone who decides to repeatedly tear down the stage of public discourse with erroneous claims and cries of victim hood when called on it.

23 responses so far

23 Responses to “Conservatives Implode On Their S-CHIP Smear”

  1. gh says:

    Malkin is not much different from Coulter. See my comments
    in the previous post on this topic.

    MM is almost certainly not as bright as AC but read literally she is just as “correct” — read her response to the left attacks on her in this case. The error is the same. The difference is that AC fully understands that what she says will bring the response and she makes a good living from it selling books. I think MM believes she is doing the right thing for her cause. Unless she grows up a little she will end up like AC. Marginalized but of independent means.

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