Conservative and liberal bloggers clashed this week in a fight over Graeme Frost, the Baltimore 7th grader who delivered the Democrats’ weekly radio address two weeks ago. Frost, 12, called on President Bush to sign a bill expanding a popular children’s health insurance program, saying that without the program he wouldn’t have received adequate care after a car crash that left him and his sister comatose.
What the commentators said
The Democrats should be ashamed for dragging this kid into the debate, said the PrairiePundit blog. And the Frosts should never have let Washington partisans use their son as a “prop” in a contentious debate. But the ugliest aspect of the stunt is the phony implication that the child “would not be covered” because of Bush’s veto of the $35-billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The only ugly thing about this story is the way conservative bloggers have “swift-boated” a 12-year-old boy, said Karen Tumulty in Time.com. They pointed out that Graeme attends an expensive school, without bothering to find out that he has a scholarship. They announced that his family lives in a neighborhood with $500,000 homes, without looking up the fact that the Frosts bought their rowhouse in 1990 for $55,000. The Frosts, in short, are “precisely the kind of people” the program was meant to help.
If Democratics insist the Frosts are “emblematic” of the families who need this program, said Mark Steyn on National Review Online’s The Corner blog, then “it’s entirely appropriate to consider how emblematic they are.“ Whatever the truth about this family’s home, and school, and income, it’s “far from clear” that they should qualify for any “safety net of last resort.”
And conservatives want people to think they are compassionate, said Markos Moulitsas on DailyKos. Well, “for once, the smear-meisters' efforts are backfiring, as traditional media outlets start examining this despicable effort.” And the closer you look, the easier it is to see that this mudslinging isn’t the work of “a few fringe party elements”—it has “the full support of the GOP apparatus.”