I was watching a talk show on Fox Saturday night, and a couple of the members of the panel roundly condemned conservative bloggers for "attacking" (I think scrutinizing is a much more accurate word) Graeme Frost and his family and for thrusting them into the media spotlight. The fact is that it was the Democrats who used this 12 year-old boy in an ad criticizing Republicans and the President for not supporting SCHIP. If Democrats are going to publicize his story then it seems inappropriate for them to complain if their opponents question the boy's family's circumstances and whether they really should be receiving taxpayer paid insurance.
Conservatives have indeed made a number of claims about the family's financial status (the value of their house, their income, the businesses the father owns, etc.). I have read that the data that has been cited is either mistaken (value of the house) or outdated (the business didn't do well) so the question of how wealthy the Frost family is seems to be up in the air, but it's a legitimate issue nonetheless.
What would not be legitimate would be to attack the twelve year old boy, which, to my knowledge, no one has, or to accuse conservatives of attacking him - as some certainly have - if, in fact, they did not.
One has to wonder why people would make such a terrible accusation if it were not true. For example, the progressive blog Think Progress has a post on this brouhaha that is either very dishonest or very dumb. They take information put out by conservatives about the family's financial abilities and present it as an attack on the boy. That sort of thing is inexcusably shoddy or malicious.
As I said, the financial circumstances of this family that some have cited may be out of date or otherwise incorrect, but for pro-SCHIP people, having introduced the Frosts into the debate, to say that their ability to buy their own insurance should not be part of that debate is absurd. To furthermore misconstrue references to that ability as an attack on the boy, as Think Progress does, is pretty low.
Here's another fact that makes this smear all the worse: The boy was not denied medical coverage. He actually received the help he needed under the old SCHIP program, the same program the President wants to expand. The President and others, though, are being maligned by their opponents because they don't want to expand it as much as the Democrats do. Bush wants to increase the program by five billion dollars. His opponents want to increase it by 35 billion.
Michelle's been following the whole thing here.
Parenthetically, one pro-SCHIP blogger has claimed that the left would never do anything like attack a child for political reasons, only the right would resort to such reprehensible tactics. Aside from the fact that no one has "attacked" this child at all, this claim is absurd for another reason. It turns out that two years ago the left actually did launch a vicious attack on young Noah McCollough.
Allahpundit reminds us that in 2005 the Republicans used nine year old Noah to tout their Social Security reform proposals, and the bloggers on the left savaged him. They made sexual references to him, called him a "budding young fascist" and made up a derogatory nickname for him.
Pretty disgusting stuff, but when all that matters is winning this is the sort of thing you get.RLC