Welfare Queens V2.0

« October 2007 »

Memo to Michelle Malkin: YOU ARE DUMB.

I give the Democrats a lot of shit in this column. This is because they deserve a lot of shit. But sometimes, you just have to empathize with what they're up against. And what they're up against is a level of raw, callous stupidity the likes of which hasn't been seen in a long time.

That callous stupidity combines with an infinite reserve of rationalizations to create a void of such density that not even a single particle of shame can escape. If we take one lesson from the Graeme Frost clusterfuck, it's this: any pretense that the right wing in this country are beings who can be worked with, compromised with, or reasoned with is just that. A pretense. Something to expound upon in polite company, and abandon the instant any serious business needs to get done.

You may have heard about a little program called S-CHIP. It's a program that provides health care for lower-income children and families. As these things go, it seems to be pretty popular and pretty effective, and in one of the few pieces of legislation the Republicans DIDN'T filibuster this year, the program was expanded to cover more kids. Or it would have been, if Bush hadn't vetoed it.

This is a problem, politically. The reason it's a problem politically is that everyone knows our health care system is fucked. Everyone. If you don't have insurance, you know it's fucked. If you have insurance, you know it's fucked. Unless you're rich enough or privileged enough to have a top-tier plan, every single problem they tried to scare you with about "socialized medicine" thirty years ago, twenty years ago, and ten years ago? You've got 'em. Waiting for care. Being denied care. Not choosing your own doctor. The only difference between the health care system the majority of Americans participate in and the worst strawman the wingnuts can conjure up about Canada is that in Canada, nobody's getting filthy fucking rich off of it.

But Bush vetoed it, because Bush didn't get to be President by taking care of poor children. In a sane world, politicians do this kind of thing at their peril. Vetoing a bill with broad public support damages the president, and all those who stand with him. Since it is in the interests of Michelle Malkin and her ilk that the world remain as crazy as possible so that they don't stand out against the background and end up in straitjackets, they cannot let that happen.

Which is where Graeme Frost enters into it. Graeme Frost is a 12-year-old from Baltimore. He was on S-CHIP when he was hurt in a car accident. As a result, his family is now not bankrupt or homeless. He had coverage. The Democrats put him on the airwaves two weeks ago in their weekly radio address. A political stunt? Yes. But an old and time-honored one. And one that made Graeme Frost and his family the latest target of the latest bit of "investigative journalism" from the right-wing blogosphere.

Over the past few days, they've done their damndest to paint the Frosts as post-modern welfare queens, collecting government benefits they don't deserve while living the high life on the cash they save. They start with their conclusion and work backwards - like Dan Rather and the Iraqi police captain before them, the smears are loud, and as soon as they're disproven, there's a new smear, a new rationalization.

The Frosts can't be poor! Their kids go to private school! (On a scholarship and a subsidy.) The Frosts can't be poor! They live in a ritzy neighborhood! (That they moved into years ago when it wasn't ritzy) They can't be poor! Their kitchen looks really nice! (The father is a cabinet-maker.) They can't be poor! I went to their house, and their neighbor is a COMMUNIST!

That last one was Malkin, queen demon bitch of the wingnut blogosphere, ichor dripping from her teats as black as sin and twice as nasty. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I just returned from a visit to Frost’s commercial property near Patterson Park in Baltimore. It’s a modest place. Talked to one of the tenants, Mike Reilly, who is a talented welder. He said he had known the Frosts for 10 years. Business is good, he told me, though he characterized Frost as 'struggling.' Reilly was an outspoken advocate for socialized health care without any means-testing whatsoever and an insistent critic of the Iraq war."

Even McCarthy didn't go after nearby welders. Maybe Malkin can write a book about how all the communist welders should be put in lovely internment camps. Seriously, though, nobody with the tiniest fraction of self-awareness and/or shame could possibly justify poking their noses into a family's life, interrogating their welders, and turning what probably was that welder's desire for a single-payer health care system into a scarlet A. Which is why they let Malkin do it.

"Asking questions and subjecting political anecdotes to scrutiny are what journalists should be doing. When a family and Democrat political leaders drag a child down to Washington at 6 in the morning to read a script written by Senate Democrat staffers on a crusade to overturn a presidential veto, someone might have questions about the family’s claims. The newspapers don’t want to do their jobs. The vacuum is being filled. If you don’t want questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage. Fight your battles like adults and stop hiding behind youngsters dragging around red wagons filled with your talking points."

They can't possibly be filling the vacuum, because something's still sucking. Hard. Let's make this perfectly clear. When a low-income family lets their kid promote a the expansion of a popular health-care program, then questioning their claims in the most snide and venomous way possible is "journalism".

And when a president lets his four-star general promote the expansion of an unpopular war, then questioning his claims in what is not even the snarkiest way possible is a fucking crime against humanity, worthy of a Senate condemnation and two weeks of hairshirted hand-wringing.

They are unscrupulous, ruthless, and conscience-free. They will win at any cost, and if they cannot win at any cost, they will mitigate their losses at any cost. And if they can't mitigate their losses at any cost, they'll shit in your potted plants on their way out the door JUST TO PISS YOU OFF.

And I'll give 'em this, it works. I'm pissed.