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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

(Not that I would have anytime soon, anyway)

I will never, ever, ever, vote for another Republican candidate for anything, as long as I draw breath.

Why?

Ezra Klein:

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.


John Cole:

I simply can not believe this is what the Republican party has become. I just can’t. It just makes me sick to think all those years of supporting this party, and this is what it has become. Even if you don’t like the S-Chip expansion, it is hard to deny what Republicans are- a bunch of bitter, nasty, petty, snarling, sneering, vicious thugs, peering through people’s windows so they can make fun of their misfortune.


Oh, and for the "You guys do it too!" crowd, here's Ezra again:

And here's another question: Does anyone remember DailyKos launching a feeding frenzy trying to smear or discredit Ashley? Anyone hear of Markos Moulitsas camping out outside her house to see if Ashley was really grieving? His readers interviewing her teachers to see if her academic performance had actually improved as a result of the President's hug? Did any of that happen? Or did the Left raise some questions about the political appropriateness of the ad without trying to destroy the family's name and reputation?

There's a difference here. And it's not in which side elevates sympathetic stories and individuals into the public eye. They both do that. It's in how low the other side stoops in response.


I could vomit, I really could.

8 comments:

LC Scotty said...

Hi Jaq,

I have to ask-have you actually read what Malkin has written about this? We may disagree about the validity of her points, but I just don't see any inchoate hate, rage, sobbing or vicious, rageful savagery.

Just fact checking.

Since Pelosi has held the Frost's up as "precisely the type of working-poor Americans that the program was intended to help.", finding out exactly what is meant by that is certainly germaine to the debate.

Between their 300k home, private business and other commercial holdings these people have close to 1/2 million in assets. Is that who we ought to be extending government paid healthcare to? That's exactly what Pelosi thinks.

Simply reporting facts that are a matter of public record (such as real estate transactions and publicized tuition for private schools) doesn't count as a smear, does it?

Here's a hate filled Malkin quote "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."

Maybe Klein read a different post, always possible with someone as prolific as Malkin.



I don't recall the Ashley ad

Jaquandor said...

I have to ask-have you actually read what Malkin has written about this?

Yes. And as far as I'm concerned, Ezra's take, and John Cole's take, and my take still stand. Michelle Malkin is Ann Coulter with dark hair and no Adam's apple.

Digging up personal data on the Frosts is not "germane" to any debate about S-CHIP as a policy, and whatever assets they may have simply aren't relevant, or haven't been shown to be. So they have assets. Big deal. The question is, with the assets they have, could they afford to pay for their current health care needs? It seems clear that the answer is "No".

Once that's out of the way, we're simply up against the typical right-wing response to stuff like this: "Sucks to be you. Sell all your stuff to pay for the healthcare. You worked hard for all that, and did things the right way, only to have luck deal you a serious setback? Too effing bad, you would-be teat-suckers." That bit of Malkin's, "They made choices, and choices have consequences?" That's among the most nauseating things I've ever heard. And do you know why?

Because that could easily be said about me, and my family.

We've had some problems here, of the professional, financial, and personal sorts. We've been in the weeds, and at times we've been extremely close to both bankruptcy and the collapse of the marriage. Much of it is because of the titanic expense we incurred with Quinn's medical problems. We could have been the Frosts.

But no sympathy would be forthcoming from Michelle Malkin, would it? No, it's all our fault, because we chose to have a second child. Choices have consequences. Kid suffered brain damage? You had to go for public assistance for his medical care? You're unlikely to be able to buy a house for quite a few years to come? Malkin, and all of her stinking crowd, would simply respond, "Too bad, so sad. Guess you shouldn't have tried for that second kid."

Well, maybe that's fine for some people. Not for me.

As for the information being "part of public record", so what? That doesn't make it OK for some very prominent blogger to blast that info about for everyone to then use to stand in moral judgment of them. Being a Malkin-follower, I guess, means that you never have to walk in anyone else's shoes, because you always know how you could triumph over anything just by sheer pluck and ingenuity. In the world of the Malkin-follower, people are never laid low by sheer bad luck; it's always their fault, and it's always to hell with them.

So yeah, Malkin's a hate-filled person.

Anonymous said...

Here's the piece from Malkin for anyone tuning in:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2007/10/10/the_democrats_unhealthy_poster_child_abuse

And here's my piece: What bothers me about it, is that she doesn't say if the Frosts qualify for the aid! She just says they're scum because they're taking advantage.

If they qualify for the assistance, then they should get it. As should eveyrbody else that qualifies for it. But keep in mind that oversight and enforcement of the program IS appropriate - to assure that only qualified people are benefitting from the program - that's entirely legitimate.

If you disagree with the assistance PROGRAM - does it benefit too many? too few?... then work to change the PROGRAM. Don't condemn the beneficiaries. BUT... also don't condemn the enforcers - REGARDLESS of what you think of the program.

LC Scotty said...

If I say "This is an the sort of person expanding this program is designed to help", then it is germane to the policy discussion to determine exactly what is being talked about. How else would you know exactly what "this" entails? Why else would you trot out a living, breathing example, if not for examination? Unless, of course the plan was to simply play to emotions with a sad story.

"The question is, with the assets they have, could they afford to pay for their current health care needs? It seems clear that the answer is "No"."

I don't think that's clear at all. Four kids in private schools, two of which attend a school with a 20 k per year tuition? Even if they got a significant break, and are paying 5k per year per child, they can withdraw from private school and take the 10k per year to buy insurance. Or, they could sell their 300k house, buy a 200k house and with the approximately 1k per month savings buy insurance. These people almost definitely had the means to provide insurance and chose not to.

I will never be able to afford private schools or a 300k house. I really don't feel like I need to be subsidizing someone else that can.

I think there is world of difference between your situation and theirs. I'm not intimately acquainted with your finances, but I am guessing that there is no house to sell for a smaller one, there is no business that you own, and there are no commercial properties that you rent out. When you suffered the devastating problems of the last few years, you did not have the ability to dig yourselves out. There was no recourse for you but aid from the government. The Frost's could have handled this without going bankrupt.

"I guess, means that you never have to walk in anyone else's shoes, because you always know how you could triumph over anything just by sheer pluck and ingenuity."

Oh come on. Expecting people with the means to take care of themselves to, well, care for themselves, hardly means you completely lack empathy. Holding the position that the government, by and large, is not here to fix your personal catastrophes without regard to your ability to handle them on your own does not make you hard hearted.

As an analogy, if their house burns down, and they don't have insurance, should the government build them a new house? Replace all their belongings? They had the means to buy homeowners insurance, but decided instead to buy laptops for their kids to use at school. Of course the answer is no. They could have and should have bought insurance. Same thing with health insurance-they could have but chose not to.

I don't know what Malkin's reaction to your story would be-perhaps you're right. For myself, I don't see a problem with a safety net. I don't take exception to people backed in a corner by unforeseeable circumstances being given help. I just don't believe that the Frost's fall into that category for the reasons outlined above.

Here's the other problem-the Frost's were covered by SCHIP. It's pretty disingenuous to trot out a family meant to be a sympathy case in order to hammer the president on his veto when said veto would not affect them at all. Bush proposed a modest increase to SCHIP, the Democrats wanted a few hundred percent increase. That's what got vetoed.

Jaquandor said...

Scotty, I wonder if you're familiar with the facts here:

1) Graeme has a scholarship to a private school. The school costs $15K a year, but the family only pays $500 a year.

2) His sister Gemma attends another private school to help her with the brain injuries that occurred due to her accident. The school costs $23,000 a year, but the state pays the entire cost.

3) They bought their “lavish house” sixteen years ago for $55,000 at a time when the neighborhood was less than safe.

4) Last year, the Frosts made $45,000 combined. Over the past few years they have made no more than $50,000 combined.

5) The state of Maryland has found them eligible to participate in the CHIP program.

These are not rich people. They are not paying giant amounts of tuition for private schools. They don't make much money. Their house is worth what it's worth not because they could afford a $300,000 home but because its value has appreciated, as houses do. "Send 'em to public school" -- so the choice is education or health care? "Sell your house" -- what the hell is that? Every time something goes wrong in life, you should have to completely move and uproot your kids and disrupt lives even more? And if they sold their house, there's no "extra 1K a month", since they're not paying a mortage. Besides, selling a house takes time. What if no one buys for six months? What if they can't find a house in a good school district? It's just like the nimrods who just shout "Oh, get a job!" all the time, as if getting a job is like getting a pack of underwear at Target.

And the fact still remains: You don't know that the Frosts could have done what they've done without that government program. You just don't. But this is what the Right does, so often: judge, judge, judge, without knowing what the real circumstances are, or even if the judging is fair in the first place. "What? Your kids have an unforeseen health problem? Sell everything you've ever worked for, then." Screw that.

Roger Green said...

My only point is that my house is "worth" twice what we paid for it 7 years ago. (Could we sell it for that price? Doubtful.)

Could we sell the house we live in and buy a cheaper house? Possibly, but it would be a major strain, and, given that it'll be paid off in 7 more years, not necessarily desirable.

Jaq, you showed great restraint not SCREAMING at your correspondents.

Jaquandor said...

My only point is that my house is "worth" twice what we paid for it 7 years ago. (Could we sell it for that price? Doubtful.)

Could we sell the house we live in and buy a cheaper house? Possibly, but it would be a major strain, and, given that it'll be paid off in 7 more years, not necessarily desirable.


That's one big reason why I find the whole "Just sell your house!" rejoinder so irritating. Granted, I've never sold a house (nor bought one), but I've known lots of folks who have, and even in straightforward cases it always seems like a time-consuming process. It's not like taking your jewelry down to the pawn shop and walking out with cash in hand; if you need health insurance now, selling one's house won't do anything to help that need now. (And that is, of course, assuming you can actually get what the appraised value is from the buyer...and also assuming that you find a buyer relatively quickly. I've known several families who have moved and been unable to sell their old homes for more than a year, just because the people who tour them just decide not to buy. What then?)

Jaq, you showed great restraint not SCREAMING at your correspondents.

Heh...well, I came close, but Scotty's a good egg. He and I are on opposite sides of the political fence, obviously, but there's a lot of other stuff we like in common (SF books, grilled meat). It's easier to not scream when one actually knows the other person.

LC Scotty said...

"And the fact still remains: You don't know that the Frosts could have done what they've done without that government program."

Fair enough. It's possible that I am misinformed about their situation, and it is possible (even likely) that I have oversimplified the proposed solutions.

I did not suggest that they sell everything they own and live in a van down by the river before they should be helped, either. While it may, in retrospect not apply to the Frost family, I still stand by the premise that people with the means to help themselves out of a bind should use at least some of those means before reaching into someone else's pocket.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your position, but it seems that you feel that anytime there's a setback, the government needs to step in to ameliorate any adverse effects of that setback.

There is still the troubling issue of why the Frosts were brought into this matter at all. They were covered by S-CHIP, and if the president had gotten the program he wanted that would have remained unchanged. They are not in any way exemplary of those the expansion is targeted at, since they are already covered.

Roger,

We've never traded comments here before-I'm Scotty. Pleased to meet you.

Do you scream at averyone you disagree with? I may be wrong, misguided, misinformed, or even just plain ignorant sometimes. As Jaquandor pointed out, we are nearly opposite on most issues. Rather than hide out and comment only on sites with like-minded individuals, I tend to wander around a bit on the other side and engage in discussions. You'll probably never find me commenting at LGF (I think I left one about 2 years ago) or at Red State or Free Republic.

Sometimes I change my mind, sometimes I cahnge someone elses mind. Most importantly, I avoid the echo chamber effect.

What I posted here was not meant to be trollish, and I certanily wouldn't want to piss in Jaq's cornflakes. Having some idea of exactly how close to home this issue is for him and his family, I do appreciate that he didn't come out swinging. I also hope I didn't cross any lines with my postings.

Cheers.