campaign against injured 12 y.o. still working its way through national media
October 20th, 2007 Matt Gunterman
The smear campaign against 12 y.o. Graeme Frost and his parents that was orchestrated by the staff of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) is still gaining momentum in the national press. Just today, the Kansas City Star put up this editorial:
BLOG BITS: Dirty trick; attack on Bhutto; take a stand on FISA
This latest action by Republicans in Washington has to rank among the lowest. In an effort to beat back full funding for children’s health care, the staff of Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, supported a smear campaign against a 12-year-old survivor of a car crash. A hard-working, two-job family with four children, the Frosts of Baltimore were struck by tragedy: a car accident nearly killed two of their children. Because of SCHIP, the Frosts could afford the five months of hospitalization that allowed their children to survive.
Kentucky’s local press is still getting in on the action. Here’s Bob Leonard writing for the Georgetown (KY) News-Graphic:
McConnell should be ashamed
Let me get straight to the point - Kentucky’s senior United States senator, Mitch McConnell, should be ashamed of himself. Or, at the very least, he should be ashamed of his communications director, Don Stewart, and terminate him immediately.
But McConnell crossed the line of civility when his office orchestrated a partisan attack on a 12-year-old boy, Graeme Frost, by the right-wing zealots who line up to impugn any person or organization who dare disagree with the Republican Party. By zealots, I specifically mean Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and others of their ilk who will tell any lie or misrepresent any fact in an effort to discredit and slime their political opponents.
In this case, the only transgression of Graeme Frost was to speak on national radio, in spite of a partially paralyzed vocal cord, about how he and his sister would not have survived and recovered from a horrible car accident without the insurance coverage provided by SCHIP. The accident left them in a coma for months, and required years of therapy to teach them how to talk, eat, swallow and walk again.
This personal story that put a face with the program so offended the right-wingers that they immediately set out to destroy the child and his family’s credibility by disseminating lies about their health, their employment and their financial condition.
And who was leading this charge to malign a 12-year-old for telling his story? None other than our good senator, Mitch McConnell, and his communications director, Don Stewart. On the day after Graeme bravely told his story on radio, Stewart was busy sending out e-mails containing blatant falsehoods about the Frost family in an attempt to totally discredit and destroy their credibility. As a result, the family has even received death threats.
When it was first suspected that McConnell’s office was involved, he refused to comment. Subsequently, he professed a lack of knowledge of his staff’s actions. Yeah, right. His staff did this without his knowledge or acquiescence. McConnell, who claimed righteous indignation at MoveOn.org’s ad about Gen. Petraeus, wants us to believe he would not be a party in propagating such fallacies.
If he wants me to believe his story, he should bolster his own credibility by also being righteously indignant at his communications director. After all, that’s what he demanded from members of Congress concerning the MoveOn.org advertisement. Absent this indignation, we must assume McConnell believes a 12-year-old is more capable of defending his honor than a four-star general.
And, in case you missed this editorial in the Courier-Journal today, you should read it. It’s getting lots of play in the progressive blogosphere.
Hold firm for kids
The House vote that failed to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was a real test of values.
In siding with the President and against millions of kids, the House Republicans — including Kentuckians Ron Lewis, Geoff Davis, Ed Whitfield and Hal Rogers — hid behind patently false claims that the bill to expand SCHIP was a move toward socialized medicine. The measure was an effort to meet real human need, not a sneaky way to establish another federal entitlement for the middle class.
What was rejected this week, by the same GOP members who sabotaged it last month, was a bill to provide insurance for 10 million children. Indiana Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th District, did change his mind and voted this time for the welfare of these youngsters. Supporters earlier had beaten the Senate GOP minority and its leader, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, with a veto-proof margin for the legislation.
Sen. McConnell is spinning the House failure to override the President’s veto. His chilling position is, “Now that the veto has been sustained, it’s time to move forward with a serious plan to extend health coverage for those SCHIP was meant to cover: low-income children. It’s time to stop the campaign ads and time to start working across party lines to forge a bipartisan compromise.”
In fact, the defeated bill was fully as serious as the huge need it was written to meet. And the notion that it was a mere political ploy is easily rebutted by the fact that Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, were among its chief defenders. It was Sen. Grassley who rejected White House distortions about the bill, saying, “The White House claims are flatly incorrect.”
If the House Democrats are who they claim to be, they won’t let George W. Bush push them, and needy children, around on this issue.
I LIKE SCHIP AND KCHIP
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