Debate over SCHIP Extension Gets Nasty

Charges and countercharges are being hurled back and forth between conservative and liberal bloggers of the use of a 12 year old child by Democrats to try and skewer Republicans over the issue of whether the government health insurance program known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) should be extended to middle class families.

It is one of the ugliest dust-ups the blogosphere has seen in a long time.

The imbroglio centers on 12 year old Graeme Frost who gave the Democratic reponse to President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill two weeks ago. Conservative bloggers began to question the Frost family's eligibility for the program given a wide variety of factors including their living in a house worth around $300,000 and the attendance at private schools by some of the Frost children.

Liberal bloggers shot back by pointing out that the house in question was purchased for $55,000 in the early 90's when the neighborhood was run down and that the Frost kids are getting help from the grandparents as well as the state of Maryland so that the children can attend the private school.

Conservatives accused the Frost's of making selfish choices that didn't include health insurance for their children and that they are asking families who make less than they do to subsidize these choices.

Liberals railed against the heartlessness of conservatives for attacking a 12 year old injured child. Conservatives countered that the family and the Democrats shamelessly used the child as a prop in their political passion play and that questioning the family's assets was fair game because SCHIP doesn't require such a test.

The invective back and forth has been extremely personal - especially on the part of liberal bloggers:

Something has gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin's cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they've spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game -- he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

For this, right wingers travel to their home, insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, make threatening phone calls to the family, interrogate the neighbors as to the family's character and financial state. This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate.

It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he "really" needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
Michelle Malkin, who has been accused of "stalking" the family, defends herself from these accusations:
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.
And she then explains what is at the heart of this debate:
This is not about The Children. It’s about the purported adults in the Democrat party leadership, the left-wing blogosphere, and the sycophantic media who can’t debate policy without flinging their peas when challenged.

Financial assets are at the very core of this debate. Schip was supposed to be a bridge to help insure children in poor families who barely missed out on qualifying for Medicaid. The Democrats are pushing the Schip eligibility level to 200, 300, 400 percent of the federal poverty line. The kids’ program is no longer just for kids and may well cover illegal aliens to boot.
The New York Times agrees:
But what on the surface appears to be yet another partisan feud, all the nastier because a child is at the center of it, actually cuts to the most substantive debate around S-chip. Democrats say it is crucially needed to help the working poor — Medicaid already helps the impoverished — but many Republicans say it now helps too many people with the means to help themselves.
This is the heart of the matter and indeed, the heart of the entire debate over entitlements. In effect, entitlements are a victim of their own success. As fewer and fewer people end up needing entitlements, Democrats seem perfectly willing to shamelessly cater to the middle class who want government programs even if they can afford alternatives.

In the meantime, we as a society seem perfectly willing to give up freedom of choice for a little security and liberty takes another hit. Encroachment by goverment on our freedoms then becomes a matter of choice, not stealth. In this, we are all culpable.

When a family who lives in a house worth nearly $300,000 and owns rental property as well while claiming to be part of the "working poor" becomes eligible for a program targeted at the "needy" what does that tell us about society? Either we are succeeding spectacularly in raising the standard of living of the poor or we are now choosing to simply give entitlements not to those in need but those who want.

When put that way, little Graeme Frost just doesn't matter very much.
Charges and countercharges are being hurled back and forth between conservative and liberal bloggers of the use of a 12 year old child by Democrats to try and skewer Republicans over the issue of whether the government health insurance program known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) should be extended to middle class families.

It is one of the ugliest dust-ups the blogosphere has seen in a long time.

The imbroglio centers on 12 year old Graeme Frost who gave the Democratic reponse to President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill two weeks ago. Conservative bloggers began to question the Frost family's eligibility for the program given a wide variety of factors including their living in a house worth around $300,000 and the attendance at private schools by some of the Frost children.

Liberal bloggers shot back by pointing out that the house in question was purchased for $55,000 in the early 90's when the neighborhood was run down and that the Frost kids are getting help from the grandparents as well as the state of Maryland so that the children can attend the private school.

Conservatives accused the Frost's of making selfish choices that didn't include health insurance for their children and that they are asking families who make less than they do to subsidize these choices.

Liberals railed against the heartlessness of conservatives for attacking a 12 year old injured child. Conservatives countered that the family and the Democrats shamelessly used the child as a prop in their political passion play and that questioning the family's assets was fair game because SCHIP doesn't require such a test.

The invective back and forth has been extremely personal - especially on the part of liberal bloggers:

Something has gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin's cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they've spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game -- he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

For this, right wingers travel to their home, insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, make threatening phone calls to the family, interrogate the neighbors as to the family's character and financial state. This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate.

It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he "really" needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
Michelle Malkin, who has been accused of "stalking" the family, defends herself from these accusations:
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.
And she then explains what is at the heart of this debate:
This is not about The Children. It’s about the purported adults in the Democrat party leadership, the left-wing blogosphere, and the sycophantic media who can’t debate policy without flinging their peas when challenged.

Financial assets are at the very core of this debate. Schip was supposed to be a bridge to help insure children in poor families who barely missed out on qualifying for Medicaid. The Democrats are pushing the Schip eligibility level to 200, 300, 400 percent of the federal poverty line. The kids’ program is no longer just for kids and may well cover illegal aliens to boot.
The New York Times agrees:
But what on the surface appears to be yet another partisan feud, all the nastier because a child is at the center of it, actually cuts to the most substantive debate around S-chip. Democrats say it is crucially needed to help the working poor — Medicaid already helps the impoverished — but many Republicans say it now helps too many people with the means to help themselves.
This is the heart of the matter and indeed, the heart of the entire debate over entitlements. In effect, entitlements are a victim of their own success. As fewer and fewer people end up needing entitlements, Democrats seem perfectly willing to shamelessly cater to the middle class who want government programs even if they can afford alternatives.

In the meantime, we as a society seem perfectly willing to give up freedom of choice for a little security and liberty takes another hit. Encroachment by goverment on our freedoms then becomes a matter of choice, not stealth. In this, we are all culpable.

When a family who lives in a house worth nearly $300,000 and owns rental property as well while claiming to be part of the "working poor" becomes eligible for a program targeted at the "needy" what does that tell us about society? Either we are succeeding spectacularly in raising the standard of living of the poor or we are now choosing to simply give entitlements not to those in need but those who want.

When put that way, little Graeme Frost just doesn't matter very much.