It’s taken a while, but the Democrats have finally gotten around to baiting another trap for conservatives on the S-CHIP program. Another family, another helpless child were convinced to step forward as examples of how the S-CHIP program helps families who can’t afford health insurance from private insurers.
This week, Democrats have brought forth the Wilkerson family, whose two-year old daughter Bethany is covered by SCHIP and had life-saving heart surgery when she was an infant. On Monday the Wilkerson family held a conference call, sponsored by USAction, a liberal grassroots advocacy group lobbying in favor of the $35 billion SCHIP expansion.
For the record, the Bo and Dara Wilkerson say they make $34,000 in combined income from restaurant jobs in St. Petersburg, Fla. They rent their house and the couple owns one car, which Bo calls “a junker.” Malkin and other bloggers have revealed over the past week that the Frost family owned two properties, as well as a couple cars, and had a $45,000 income. The accusation against Democrats, and by extension the Frost family, is that they are too middle class to be granted any subsidized health insurance for their children.
The Wilkersons said they are fully aware of the possibility that their finances and personal lives may be investigated by opponents of the SCHIP bill.
One wonders what took them so long to push another family forward. Was there a lack of volunteers? That last bit about the Wilkerson’s being aware that they “may be investigated” makes me think that the Democrats let their potential poster families in on their strategy this time – unlike the Frosts who obviously were not informed that they were being used as bait to trap opponents of the S-CHIP expansion in a brilliant political ploy where criticism of the program became impossible without criticizing little 12 year old Graeme Frost.
Of course, the strategy of using children as human shields in a political fight received scant attention thanks to the outburst of fake outrage on the left over anyone daring to question anything about the program. Watching them falling over each other trying to outdo one another in the level and originality of their invective for “smearing 12 year old Graeme Frost” – where no smear ever occurred anywhere at anytime by any blogger, pundit, writer, or spokesperson – actually became something of an entertainment – sort of like a bad episode of Days of our Lives where every scene was horribly melodramatic and overdone.
The Democrats just don’t get it. They didn’t get it when questions arose about the Frosts. They don’t get it now. And it is likely they will never get it because they refuse to ask the right questions.
It’s not about income. It’s about choices. It’s about the kind of government we should have. It’s about freedom versus dependence, liberty versus slavery, self-reliance versus serfdom.
And it’s about fairness. In the Frosts case, the consequences of one family’s choices being foisted upon their fellow Americans who may be less well off but are nevertheless asked to pony up to support them.
No one should begrudge the Wilkerson’s their participation in S-CHIP. They are barely above the poverty level and have little in the way of assets. But the Wilkersons and those like them are not the problem and the Democrats know it. Borderline cases like the Wilkerson’s who regularly fall through the cracks of coverage in other government programs are not part of the central criticism against the expansion of S-CHIP. It is subsidizing coverage for those up to 400% above the poverty level that is the basis of conservative opposition to the Democrat’s bill.
Funny how we don’t see any poster families who are 400% above the poverty level being pushed forward as examples of the kinds of people the $35 billion expansion of S-CHIP will help. Why not? Since the original parameters of the S-CHIP program enjoys the overwhelming support of Congress and the President, why trot forward families like the Frosts and the Wilkersons who qualify under the current rules? Why not bring to the fore those families at the high end of the expansion requirements and let the American people decide if they want to subsidize insurance for them?
The answer is obvious; a family living 400% above poverty are not as sympathetic as those, like the Wilkerson’s, who couldn’t get by without S-CHIP. In fact, pushing forward people who make more than 40% of all the families in America as the poster family for S-CHIP expansion would probably torpedo the bill then and there.
I note that this time around, the Democrats were careful to push a family forward whose choices regarding health insurance couldn’t be questioned. In that respect, if they’re waiting for conservatives to attack the Wilkerson’s, they are going to be sorely disappointed. The Democrats just don’t have a clue about the true nature of the opposition to their S-CHIP expansion. For that, they would have to give a fig about the tradeoffs we make between dependency and freedom every time they get some not so bright idea about “helping” those who can usually be counted on to help themselves.
You are dealing with those so impressed with their own presumed genius that theyâ€™ve given themselves license to use any means necessary to bring about their desired ends. Using a largely sympathetic press â€” and casting their political opponents as villains who hate for the simple pleasure of hating (hi, Mr Krugman!) â€” they are attempting to control public policy by way of rhetorical totalitarianism and cynical manipulation of the un- or ill-informed, a group to whom they both pander and empower.
Of course, once the â€œprogressiveâ€ revolution achieves its ends â€” and soft socialism replaces the liberal democracy the founders envisioned â€” the â€œcreamâ€ will rise to the top, and a new class of elitist bureaucrats and politicians will take full control of the nannystate, just as they have long believed was their right.
Hell, itâ€™s more than a right. Itâ€™s their destiny!
And Malkin keeps the heat on:
If Republicans donâ€™t have the stomach to do battle over fundamental policy questionsâ€“like, you know, who deserves government-subsidized health insuranceâ€“ what are they doing in office? More â€œpartisan bickeringâ€ could have spared us McCain-Feingold, No Child Left Behind, and the hugetastic Medicare expansion boondoogle. If not for â€œpartisan bickering,â€ shamnesty would be the law(lessness) of the land.
We need more â€œpartisan bickering,â€ not less.
As long as that’s the tactic being used by the otherside, the GOP has little choice. You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.