Friday, October 12, 2007

Free Graeme Frost!

I'm reprinting Paul Krugman's column about Graeme Frost in full because it deserves to be read and it perfectly encapsulates the viciousness and inhumanity of today's Republican Party.

Peep the background of this column here.

  • Sliming Graeme Frost

    Published: October 12, 2007

    Two weeks ago, the Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address was delivered by a 12-year-old, Graeme Frost. Graeme, who along with his sister received severe brain injuries in a 2004 car crash and continues to need physical therapy, is a beneficiary of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Mr. Bush has vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have expanded that program to cover millions of children who would otherwise have been uninsured.

    What followed should serve as a teaching moment.

    First, some background. The Frosts and their four children are exactly the kind of people S-chip was intended to help: working Americans who can’t afford private health insurance.

    The parents have a combined income of about $45,000, and don’t receive health insurance from employers. When they looked into buying insurance on their own before the accident, they found that it would cost $1,200 a month — a prohibitive sum given their income. After the accident, when their children needed expensive care, they couldn’t get insurance at any price.

    Fortunately, they received help from Maryland’s S-chip program. The state has relatively restrictive rules for eligibility: children must come from a family with an income under 200 percent of the poverty line. For families with four children that’s $55,220, so the Frosts clearly qualified.

    Graeme Frost, then, is exactly the kind of child the program is intended to help. But that didn’t stop the right from mounting an all-out smear campaign against him and his family.

    Soon after the radio address, right-wing bloggers began insisting that the Frosts must be affluent because Graeme and his sister attend private schools (they’re on scholarship), because they have a house in a neighborhood where some houses are now expensive (the Frosts bought their house for $55,000 in 1990 when the neighborhood was rundown and considered dangerous) and because Mr. Frost owns a business (it was dissolved in 1999).

    You might be tempted to say that bloggers make unfounded accusations all the time. But we’re not talking about some obscure fringe. The charge was led by Michelle Malkin, who according to Technorati has the most-trafficked right-wing blog on the Internet, and in addition to blogging has a nationally syndicated column, writes for National Review and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

    The attack on Graeme’s family was also quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who is so important a player in the right-wing universe that he has had multiple exclusive interviews with Vice President Dick Cheney.

    And G.O.P. politicians were eager to join in the smear. The New York Times reported that Republicans in Congress “were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance” but had “backed off” as the case fell apart.

    In fact, however, Republicans had already made their first move: an e-mail message from the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, sent to reporters and obtained by the Web site Think Progress, repeated the smears against the Frosts and asked: “Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?”

    And the attempt to spin the media worked, to some extent: despite reporting that has thoroughly debunked the smears, a CNN report yesterday suggested that the Democrats had made “a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child,” and closely echoed the language of the e-mail from Mr. McConnell’s office.

    All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.

    Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies.

    Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America, insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.

    And there’s one more point that should not be forgotten: ultimately, this isn’t about the Frost parents. It’s about Graeme Frost and his sister.

    I don’t know about you, but I think American children who need medical care should get it, period. Even if you think adults have made bad choices — a baseless smear in the case of the Frosts, but put that on one side — only a truly vicious political movement would respond by punishing their injured children.

Attacking a sick 12-year old.
How Republican.
  • Confront a complex and emotional issue
  • Smear and lie to create distraction and discord.
  • Wait until the ADD infected American public moves on to the next picture of Britney Spears' exposed vagina.

I guess if Dick Cheney can bust a gat in his best friend's face then what the fuck chance does a poor 12-year old have?

Even if Frost's family made a few thousand dollars more, that doesn't change the point. Health care is expensive and the even decently stable middle-class people get the rug pulled on them when they discover they aren't covered by their shady insurance company.

Watch the video of Frost's radio address:

I'm sure the Republicans are glad that they stuck it to him...
Take that Frost!


  1. Where's all the pro-life people on this one? They don't want abortion, but they don't want to look after the health and well-being of these children after they are born.

  2. well that one hits hard..


  3. First of all Vic before you make ignorant statement read a newspaper or look up a foundation, there are many pro life groups out there that donate money for children and health care and medical benefits. The other thing you need to understand is that these pro life people you so adamantly are putting down are the same people who lobbied for the initial bill. So next time you decide you want to take a crack at those crazy Pro life people, if you think its that big of an issue..... what are you doing for it?

  4. Sco:

    Vic didn't once call any pro-life people crazy (though her opinion may have changed since your post). She was asking a legitimate question, where is the Pro-life people's stand on the issue? There is an impression out there that these groups only care about abortion and euthanasia issues, and nothing in between. Your response did nothing to combat that image.

    Provide some examples of the groups donating to health care, some names of the people who originally lobbied for the SCHIP bill, some names of people and groups who have come out against Bush on this issue.

  5. Vic: if the Republican party is evil, the Democratic party is even more so. They acknowledge the problems and do nothing to help them. Universal Healthcare will not be taken seriously by the Dems anytime soon because they know they can't be elected into office while talking about raising taxes. Do you know how much people pay in income tax in other countries? If you were solidly middle class in France last year, you forfeited almost half of your income to taxes. NEITHER PRO-LIFERS NOR PRO-CHOICERS ARE TRYING TO HEAR THAT SHIT. Yet, Dems have no qualms pointing fingers at the Republican party as the problem while pretending to give a shit.

    Fuck power-hungry politicians, period.

  6. And these are the people that Uncle Thomas represents and defends to the death.

    Let's not forget the "Dont vote for Harold Ford Jr because he'll take our white women" ad from the last election cycle.

    It always seems like the people who are against expanding health care already have it and are well covered.

    My father busted his ass for over 35 years before getting screwed by American Airlines and he died in debt from being underinsured throughout his battle with cancer.

  7. Let's keep it real here like go14 did.

    Not one Democrat voted against this bill.

    31 Republicans in the Senate voted no
    45 Republicans in the House voted no

    Not one Democrat.

    Let's see if the Republicans care enough about children that are fucking alive to override Bush's veto and give these kids health care.

    People act like Congress is 75% Democrat.
    It's not.
    49 dems
    49 repubs
    2 indies

    Dems don't have the votes to get shit done. It's a 50/50% stalemate.

    America has seen what a Republican majority can do, if Dems get 55 or 60 seats in 2008 then shit on them if they can't get anything done.

  8. Sco, never said Pro-life people are crazy. Anon, never said Republicans are evil. And what makes you think my question was directed only towards Republicans, Are all Pro-Life people Republicans?

    Looks like you guys tried to pull a page from the same playbook used to smear the Frosts. Nice try.

  9. The real deal is most of time it's no the politicians saying's a ventriloquist act with the lobbyists writing the script. As long as we're capitalists that's what how it will remain.