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Suffer The Little Children

It's strange, how some events can have tremendous influence on our attitudes and beliefs, but we forget the actual incidents themselves.

For example, one of my pushbutton issues is the use of children in political events. I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh when he had the infamous "Chelsea Clinton as White House Dog" incident, and still don't listen to him today. I get infuriated when people talk about "drafting the Bush twins." And I got seriously annoyed when Harry Reid had his staff get a 12-year-old boy to make their pitch for the S-CHIP program.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what really bothered me about the Frost/Reid/S-CHIP incident, and it suddenly dawned on me what was at the root of my anger, what event had set such a potent trigger in my subconscious that was easily set off.

Randall Terry.

More specifically, that asshole and his "Operation Rescue," more specifically their "Summer Of Mercy" in Wichita, 1991.

I recall seeing news coverage of those rallies. The Operation Rescue people were protesting at an abortion clinic. The police kept them across the street from the clinic, but they would routinely breach the barricades and cross the street (often crawling to symbolize the helpless nature of the aborted fetuses) to assail the clinic.

Then one day, I saw that a bunch of the protesters had brought their children, and were encouraging them to participate along with everyone else.

These people, supposedly there "to save babies," were leading -- sometimes sending -- their children across a city street, sometimes through traffic, to make their point.

"Go play in traffic." It's a common phrase, one used as a form of dismissal, with the cynical twist that it's a very, very dangerous thing to do. These parents were literally making their kids do just that.

Ever since then, I've been very, very angry about the use of children in politics. I have a great loathing for those who attack children for the "sins" of their parents (Chelsea Clinton, the Bush twins, Mary Cheney, Al Gore Jr., just to name a few), but I save my greatest anger for those who exploit their own children for their own political gains, who push their children on to the national stage for their own gain.

And that's how I saw the whole Graeme Frost/S-CHIP brouhaha. There is a need for a serious discussion on the program, and whether (or how much) to expand it. But to send out as your champion a 12-year-old boy is the political equivalent of the Eddie Gaedel stunt.

Gaedel, as some might recall, was a midget who was signed to a major-league baseball contract as a stunt. He was walked in four straight pitches, as his "strike zone" was only an inch and a half high.

The idea here is the same: to give the other side an impossible target. Trying to strike out a midget is a good metaphor for trying to rebut a serious political issue when the front-man is a 12-year-old boy -- especially one that is still recovering from major injuries from a car accident.

If the Democrats want to have a serious debate on the SCHIP program, then let them send forth people who can make the arguments on its own merits, and not send a boy to do a grownup's job.

Ezra Klein took a stab at that, challenging Michelle Malkin to just such a debate. It's too bad that Klein had already poisoned the well with Malkin. Good idea, lousy execution.

The thing is, we already have (in theory) a forum and debaters for such a discussion. It's called "Congress."

Pity that the Majority Leader of the Senate has already decided to have a kid take his place.


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Comments (39)

Pity that the Majority ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Pity that the Majority Leader of the Senate has already decided to have a kid take his place.

If only that were true in reality.

The improvement would be enormous.

The Operation Rescue "crawl... (Below threshold)

The Operation Rescue "crawling" legal tactic was meant to avoid arrests for claimed "resisting arrest" or other "protester brutality" claims by the police or paid clinic security that could result in serious criminal charges against members. Operation Rescue viewed themselves as peaceful religious protesters, while police and abortion clinics became so tired of the tactics of this organization that members of this group were treated in an increasingly brutal manner by the police, that certainly violated any accepted American standards for suppressing a peaceful political protest. Operation Rescue also hoped that by involving their children in the protests would also help to keep the protests from resulting in police violence against them and would also help to present their philosophy that abortion is antifamily.

In addition, many antiabortion protesters faced "racketeering" lawsuits by abortion clinics and the loss of their homes due to their peaceful but annoying to the clinic, protests.

Were the tactics of Operation Rescue annoying and bothersome to both the police and clinics? Certainly. But at the same time they were mostly peaceful in nature and deserved the constitutional protections of any peaceful protests, although this organization often violated specific restrictions set on their protests imposed by judges and court orders.

American Society will always grapple with the legal balance of allowing constitutionally protected protests and when to use police power to suppress such protests when they supposedly cross some line. While certainly not as bad as Burma, often constitutionally protected peaceful protests in the U.S. have been put down by brutal government means. The early civil rights movement was subjected to attacks by police dogs and brutal beatings by police for example for things such as campaigning for the right of Blacks to vote or opposition to segregation.

I must have entered Superma... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I must have entered Supermans bizzaro world. I agree with Paul and disagree a little with JT. Randall Terry's group did not have control over the media. Did not know if they would be there. Did not know what they would film. Reid "set up" the whole event. Pre meditated the whole way. The comparison is apples and oranges.

I too do not like to see kids used for political points. ww

Trying to strike out a m... (Below threshold)
Proof:

Trying to strike out a midget is a good metaphor for trying to rebut a serious political issue when the front-man is a 12-year-old boy Substitute "Democrat" or "liberal" for "12-year-old boy" and put the word "mental" in front of "midget" and you have the Dems M.O. to a "T"!

Right there with you Willie... (Below threshold)

Right there with you Willie. What does that mean the rest of my day will be like?

Just because the the cognit... (Below threshold)
kim:

Just because the the cognitive dissonance on the left suffocates, doesn't mean the right doesn't have its breathless issues.
==============================

Hooson:Were th... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hooson:

Were the tactics of Operation Rescue annoying and bothersome to both the police and clinics? Certainly. But at the same time they were mostly peaceful in nature and deserved the constitutional protections of any peaceful protests,

Except the hundreds that were arrested for for civil dis obedience at '88 Democratic Convention in Atlanta.

Except the California branch that had to pay a $880,000 judgment against the organization for harassment and intimidation of Planned Parenthood.

Troy Neman took over leadership of these nutjobs and promptly offered support for Shelly Shannon who shot Dr. Tiller in 1993 and James Kopp who murdered Dr. George Slepian in 1998.

Yep, great organization there Hooson!

When President Bush vetoed ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

When President Bush vetoed stem cell research from behind a flock of children, it was a warm and sincere moment, wasn't it?

It's funny to see how how Liberal and Conservative alike are most offended when their own tactics are used by their foe.

Gee Jay, you could have at ... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Gee Jay, you could have at least given me a shout-out for inspiring you to write this tread. Here is what I wrote on your tread from the 5th:

You mean you only when Democrats use kids as props, but it's OK for conservatives:

"MORGANTOWN, W.Va. "They'll all burn in hell, every one of them," said Malachi Green, one of the protestors.

Though he is only nine years old, Malachi is already well versed in anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality messages. Youth is no excuse for "ignorance," according to the nine year old's parents.

"You're never too young to be touched by God," said Denny Green, Malachi's father. "

7. Posted by BarneyG2000 | October 5, 2007 9:07 AM | Score: -15 (17 votes cast)
http://wizbangblog.com/content/2007/10/05/liberal-child-abuse.php#comments

Jay, be prepared to be called all sorts of names for your opinion as I was for having the same. Such as:

BarneyMoron is so kneejerk...it is like he is 14 years old.

18. Posted by Michael | October 5, 2007 10:37 AM

I'd guess Phred's kids are ... (Below threshold)
kim:

I'd guess Phred's kids are coerced.
==================================

"The thing is, we already h... (Below threshold)
Sirocco:

"The thing is, we already have (in theory) a forum and debaters for such a discussion. It's called "Congress.""


Of course, the SCHIP supporters already _won_ the debate in Congress ... then the trained monkey sitting in the Oval office vetoed it.

I'm a conservative, but I f... (Below threshold)
Odysseus:

I'm a conservative, but I found the behavior of my fellow-travelers in this episode disgusting. Attacking an innocent kid and his family is beyond the realm of decency. Do we have no sense of shame?

We need to make a rational, fact-based case against the SCHIP program, not attack the Democrat's messenger. As it is, we have only made ourselves look small, petty and mean-spirited.

Ezra Klein took a stab a... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ezra Klein took a stab at that, challenging Michelle Malkin to just such a debate. It's too bad that Klein had already poisoned the well with Malkin. Good idea, lousy execution.

Malkin is a wimp who can't handle a real debate. I can't say it any better than John Cole:

This never was about policy to Michelle and her net followers. This was about rage. This was about "us" versus "them" and "they" had to be destroyed because "they" are evil leftists who dared to challenge Bush. It was about fomenting anger, about whipping people up into a jealous rage- "LOOK AT THE BIG HOUSE THE FROST FAMILY HAS- WORTH A HALF A MILLION- AND THEY WANT YOU TO PAY FOR THEIR CHILDREN," and then letting the mob do the rest. Goebbels truly would be proud.

But like all schoolyard bullies, when punched in the mouth, they back down. Given the chance to debate the policy she clearly feels so strongly about, Michelle wimped out. She turned her tails and fled. One could say she gave the French response.

I hope a lesson has been learned this week- when Malkin and her cohorts attack, you stiffen your spine, put on your hip waders to deal with their bullshit, and you throw it back in their face. Behind all that bluster, there really is not much there. Just scared, petty, loudmouth bullies.

Heh, indeed.

mantis, the evenhanded disp... (Below threshold)
kim:

mantis, the evenhanded dispenser of outrage.
===========================================

For 2 days now, you have st... (Below threshold)
GOP wide stance:

For 2 days now, you have strained eye-poppingly to synthesize a rationale for condemning the Graeme Frost event as political hackery amounting to child abuse.

Your approach has been to develop a so-called reasonable "wide stance" on the issue that enables you to condemn what you already were inclined to condemn: the SCHIP program in its current form, all the while avoiding the scurilous and contempably vicious methods of a shrew like Malkin anda hate-meisters like Limbarf & that puke,Hannity.

The simple fact is that Frost is a face on the SCHIP legislation that the compassionate (?) conservatives & their WH fraud want to squash simply because it goes beyond the usual GOP value of life from conception up to birth only.

Malkin & the rest of the right-wing hate-mongers have used every despicable slime-ridden tactic to smear & terrorize the Frost family, while you demur, looking instead to make a case for child-exploitation. The end result is that you are implicitly condoning the Malkins, because all of you are furious at having to look at the human side of SCHIP.

In spite of your wily thesis, SCHIP & Bush's obstinate cold-hearted veto, supported by all too many Republicans, especially the kook fringe, is seen plainly by most Americans for the vicious and coldly calculated outrage that it is.

You can try as mightily as possible to put lipstick on this Repuublican pig w/ feigned outrage over child exploitation, but your tolerance of and silence about the vile spirit of your rightie compatriots speaks volumes.

What you cannot abide is that Frost puts human a face on the SCHIP veto, just as flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover could have put faces on the Bush carnage of Iraq.

And President Bush pointed ... (Below threshold)
Odysseus:

And President Bush pointed out the ethical perils of stem cell research by talking about the "snowflake" babies, children who were conceived from leftover embryos from fertility clinics. I think he even appeared in a photo-op with some of them.

This sort of thing is a tried and true PR technique for putting a human face on an issue, and both Republican and Democrat operatives have done it.

Yeah, right. I guess you co... (Below threshold)
R.Mutt:

Yeah, right. I guess you conveniently forgot about the kid Bush paraded around when he was pushing his Social Security private accounts scheme.

Does anything you say justi... (Below threshold)
Tom Shefchik:

Does anything you say justify death threats against the kid and his family?

Just more proof, right-wingers have no morals, no ethics, no integrity, will lie, kill, torture, whatever it takes to try to gain power, while hiding behind Jesus's skirts.

Bunch of cowards.

Malkin was faking it when s... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Malkin was faking it when she said we should debate the merits of the ideas.

Klein called her on it, and Malkin folded like a poker player with a 6 high.

BTW, that was the whole point. Beat up on the messenger (a 12-year old and his fa,mily who have suffered), because you can't beat the message.

Kill the messenger is one o... (Below threshold)
Linda:

Kill the messenger is one of the favorite paradigms of the Bush administration and the right wing in this country. The art of the personal attack without conscience or regard for those who dare to disagree or who bring the truth to the table. The list is long, from ex-cabinet members to soldiers who serve their country to children. No one is immune from this abhorrent tactic of the right.

When their message fails, as it frequently does, the messengers become the targets.

No, set out the message beh... (Below threshold)
kim:

No, set out the message behind a staged twelve year old, because this is not going to be an adult discussion.
========================================

As has been pointed out, mu... (Below threshold)
kim:

As has been pointed out, much outrage should be directed at the Baltimore Sun reporter who laid the foundation for this inauthentic discussion. Why must print media necessarily be wrong? My guess is that it can only, at best, approximate the truth, and the feedback of bloggers can laser guide.
===========================================

Michelle Malkin is to truth... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Michelle Malkin is to truth, kim, as Michelle Malkin is to Arab-Caucasian race relations. Oh, and she's an asshole.

Robert: no such hand as a 6 high. If 6 is the highest card, there must be a pair or a straight. 7 high is the worst poker hand. (Not to nitpick or anything.) :)

That doesn't quite jive wit... (Below threshold)
HH:

That doesn't quite jive with what actually happened on the show. It was one of the original smears of Limbaugh, propagated by Molly Ivins and Al Franken.

Copyright 1992 Multimedia Entertainment, Inc.
RUSH LIMBAUGH
SHOW: RUSH LIMBAUGH (9:00 PM ET)
November 6, 1992, Friday 11:15 AM

LIMBAUGH: Thank you. This show's era of dominant influence is just beginning. We are now the sole voice of sanity, the sole voice of reason. We are the sole voice of opposition on all television. This is the only place you can tune to to get the truth of the opposition of the one-party dictatorial government that now will soon run America. Oh, I mean, we are only beginning to enjoy dominance and prosperity. Most of these things on the in-out list are not even funny, but a couple of them--one of them in particular is.

David Hinckley of--of the New York Daily News wrote this, and what he has--he's got--it's very strange. He says, In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.' Could--could we see the cute kid? Let's take a look at--see who is the cute kid in the White House.

(A picture is shown of Millie the dog)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) No, no, no. That's not the kid.

(Picture shown of Chelsea Clinton)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) That's--that's the kid. We're trying to...

GOP wide stance:<e... (Below threshold)
marc:

GOP wide stance:

What you cannot abide is that Frost puts human a face on the SCHIP veto, just as flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover could have put faces on the Bush carnage of Iraq.

And if Frost, i.e. the father or mother, were used in the ad the Dems wouldn't have put a child in the position to be "attacked" and I suspect the kids they wouldn't have been.

Not that I believe they were. If you can show me a quote (with link to source) that specifically targets the kids show it to me.

And BTW who was it that started the restriction of media coverage of flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover?

Tom Shefchik:D... (Below threshold)
marc:

Tom Shefchik:

Does anything you say justify death threats against the kid and his family?

Does anything justify you pointing at despicable behavior from a single side of the political divide when a certain very small percentage from both sides are delusional nutcakes?

In short...NO.

mantis:Malkin ... (Below threshold)
marc:

mantis:

Malkin is a wimp who can't handle a real debate. I can't say it any better than John Cole:

John Cole? If your trying to make a point about Malkin why quote someone who obviously wouldn't take her side even if she was correct?

And if your defending liberal blogger Ezra Klein why not quote him or summarize what he said?

Maybe you are unaware of the very selective quote cherry picking Klien utilized in his attack on Malkin, if that's the case this is her response to an obviously [dis]respectable Ezra Klein. This is the section of her original post of 2004 he didn't quote.

In the end, we decided to purchase a very high-deductible plan (sold by Golden Rule Insurance Co.) coupled with a tax-sheltered Medical Savings Account (MSA). We couldn't qualify for the preferred rate because Golden Rule says I am underweight. Hmph! In any case, while Krugman and most Democrats don't seem to like MSAs, in our case we were glad they were an option.

Update: The Times reports that the proportion of Americans without health insurance is on the rise. The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, says the proportion has remained steady. (Both are right; it depends on which timeframe one is talking about.) The WSJ editorial writers suggest:
States like New York could do a lot for [those who cannot obtain health insurance] merely by getting rid of the state insurance regulations that make a basic policy roughly 10 times more expensive than it is in neighboring Connecticut. Better still, Congress could save poor New Yorkers from the tyranny of Albany by putting an end to our Balkanized and anachronistic 50-state insurance market and simply decreeing that there shall be nationwide commerce in health insurance. They could then buy policies issued in saner states or over the Internet.

Malkin continues in explanation:

Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein and his Pavlovian (Yet Respectable) boosters are treating my 2004 post as proof-positive of my utterly flabbergasting HYPOCRISY!

******

Grown-ups, on the other hand, will be able to grasp effortlessly that if I had decided not to buy private insurance and then demanded that the government cover my medical expenses and insure me after a catastrophic accident, then, yes, why, yes, you could flap two HYPOCRISY! cards up and down in each hand until your feet lifted off the ground.

In fact, I advocated MSAs and noted approvingly the Wall Street Journal's suggestion that the cure for limited market choices was less government intervention. Not more.

Nice try mantis, maybe you should have gone to the source vice two hacks that spent more time twisting what was said than attempting to be honest.

marc,Medical Savings... (Below threshold)
Robert:

marc,
Medical Savings Accounts are government-subsidized, tax-protected accounts in which you can shelter income to be used for health spending.
If you pay taxes and don't have a MSA, you're subsidizing those (like Malkin) who do.

Regardless, Malkin said she wanted an open and honset debate on the issues.
Back when I was a kid, we called that lying.

Fun fact: Medical Savings Accounts were created in the 1996 Kassebaum-Kennedy bill and signed into law by Clinton. In case there's any confusion here that's Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. And the accounts only exist because of a federal law signed in 1997. Not only is this government intervention, but it's really fresh government intervention.

honset debate ... (Below threshold)
Proof:

honset debate
Back when I was a kid, we used to say: "What a maroon!"

"Does anything you say j... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Does anything you say justify death threats against the kid and his family?"

Where's the link to this? I would like to see it.

"Fun fact: Medical Savin... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Fun fact: Medical Savings Accounts were created in the 1996 Kassebaum-Kennedy bill..."
Source.

Omigod, even CNN blames the... (Below threshold)
kim:

Omigod, even CNN blames the Democrats for exposing the Frost's.

Hyperbolist, you are just jealous about Michelle. What ya' got? Jane Hamsher? Melanie Sloane?
====================

Robert:Regardl... (Below threshold)
marc:

Robert:

Regardless, Malkin said she wanted an open and honest debate on the issues. Back when I was a kid, we called that lying.

No nitwit, she wanted an honest and open debate and chose not to with Ezra Klein because he purposefully cherry-picked her post of 3 years ago to misrepresent her position.

Back when I was a kid, and now, I'd call that cheap-assed partisan bull excrement.

Something you are in favor of apparently as indicated by your defense of it.

If any Right Wingers thinks... (Below threshold)

If any Right Wingers thinks they are winning this debate with the American people, think again.

Tonight this story (as news folks like to say) "got legs".

Tomorrow morning Americans from all parts of the country will wake up to their morning coffee, bagel, and a big heaping dish of modern media telling them what the GOP is up to now.

The GOP is attacking a 12 year old accident victim and his family is getting the "swift boat" treatment.

What did the Frost family do to deserve this modern day keyboard lynching? They sought help so their family could heal from an unexpected tragedy.

Make no mistake about it, what they did was detrimental to the profit margins of the Health Insurance industry. This industry has $ millions invested in lobbying this current crop of politicians.

The Frost family got government assistance to help with their medical expenses. This is the sin they must now pay for by being subjected to the right wing attack machine?

Every one of you would be willing to suffer the same fate if your family's health and wellbeing was on the line.

Do a quick search: Frost/Hillary or Think Progress to get a quick preview of what is going to hit critical mass with this story over the next few days. This one is far from over.

It's going to be a rough few weeks for you RWs so you better get a good nights sleep....you'll need it.

kim - are you asking for a ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

kim - are you asking for a list of female bloggers who are liberal and more trustworthy/interesting than Michelle Malkin? That's no small feat. Why don't you just ask every single woman you meet whether or not they consider themselves to be liberal. If they say yes, ask if they have a blog, and if they do, you can count them as one person with a better blog than Michelle's. Keep a tally.

[email protected]:What di... (Below threshold)
marc:

[email protected]:

What did the Frost family do to deserve this modern day keyboard lynching? They sought help so their family could heal from an unexpected tragedy.

And they HAD THAT HELP before they made the decision to insert themselves into the debate in a VERY PUBLIC way when they didn't have to.

And to add to their piss poor decision making process they pushed the kid into public view rather than have Pops or Mom stand up and do the bidding of Shillary and the rest of the Dems. pushing this boondoggle of a bill.

Boo frickin' Hoo.

Swift-boating about fits. ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Swift-boating about fits. The Dems put up this phony story, and the Repubs poke holes in it.

When will they learn that the internet shreds narratives.
=======

This criticism about exposi... (Below threshold)
Ken:

This criticism about exposing the facts of the situation of this little boy amazes me. The boy was put forward as an example of why the veto was so terrible. Those who supported the veto did the logical thing, which was to show how the boy does not demonstrate that the veto was bad. Those complaining about the conservatives mistreating the boy are in effect complaining "the other kid hit me back first".

The boy's use was a non-sequitur because he was already covered by the existing program, so the expanded program (that was vetoed) was not necessary for this boy.

The dhimmies should have pu... (Below threshold)
kim:

The dhimmies should have put Graham Frost on Senator Cleland's lap. I wish I'd thought of that crack.
==========================




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