If the typical busy voter can't find time to stay on top of all the nuanced political issues that impact their family's health, at least they can connect the dots between who is behind the vitriol, misinformation, distortion and lies, and ask … if they're lying about one issue (take your pick), might they also be lying about others?
The latest evidence of the right-wing's hysteria comes courtesy of a seven year old child, Graeme Frost, who was asked to share his story and appeal to President Bush not to veto SCHIP.
Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report writes:
At this point, the jig is just about up. The right-wing mob grabbed their torches and pitchforks, went after a struggling, down-on-their-luck family of six, only to find that the real villains were the ones leading the mindless gang in misguided rage.
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Time’s Karen Tumulty did a piece on the conservative smear of 12-year-old Graeme Frost and his family, highlighting nearly all of the right’s errors of fact and judgment. The Frosts, understandably, are turning down media requests, but the father sent Tumulty a helpful perspective:
He … passed along a letter from a friend, Andrew Gray, who wrote: “Chances are, Bonnie, Halsey and their kids will survive this. The sad reality is that they’ve already been through much worse. But what does it say about us as a nation that we seek to destroy the reputations of those we should honor? Have we become so cynical and nasty that we no longer can recognize simple courage and decency?”
Politics has never been a gentle game. As far back as 1895, satirist Finley Peter Dunne’s fictional saloonkeeper Martin Dooley observed that women, children and prohibitionists would do well to stay out of it, because “politics ain’t beanbag.” But surely, even Mr. Dooley could never have imagined a day would come when a mere seventh grader could be swift-boated.
Hard to imagine, and yet, here we are.
After describing what one socially conservative blogger "learned" online about the boy's family, making assumptions about their means from his "research", Tumulty goes on to describe the explosion of venom from the far-right:
"One has to wonder that if time and money can be found to remodel a home, send kids to exclusive private schools, purchase commercial property and run your own business… maybe money can be found for other things," the blogger wrote. "Maybe Dad should drop his woodworking hobby and get a real job that offers health insurance rather than making people like me (also with 4 kids in a 600sf smaller house and tuition $16,000 less per kid and no commercial property ownership) pay for it in my taxes."
That was just the beginning of what turned into a Category 5 hurricane on the blogosphere. Typical of the tone was what Mark Steyn wrote on National Review Online: "Bad things happen to good people, and they cause financial problems and tough choices. But, if this is the face of the 'needy' in America, then no one is not needy." Nameless commenters to conservative blogs were even harsher. "Let 'em twist in the wind and be eaten by ravens," wrote one one on Redstate.com, who was quoted in the Baltimore Sun. "Then maybe the bunch of socialist patsies will think twice."
Tumulty then debunks the myths perpetrated by the right.
As Eesha Pandit wrote earlier this week about other misinformation put out by opponent's of SCHIP and the White House,
There are also other myths, spoken as fact by President Bush, reported on by Julie Rovner of NPR.
Strangely, what is missing in all this coverage of SCHIP is the awareness children's poverty does not occur in a vacuum. We hear nothing about the rest of their families, poor and likely uninsured themselves.
What is also missing is a sense of civility and decency, and most often that can be traced directly to social conservatives and the rabid nature of the so-called "pro-life" movement that has poisoned and personalized politics for 30 years.
It's time voters start connecting dots not only between issues, but also to the fact that it is, for the most part, one narrow (minded) segment of society that distorts the truth on such a wide range of issues, holding the entire nation back from progress.
If their morals and values are so superior why not just debate the facts and let voters make up their minds?