Ad puerum

Every now and then E.J.Dionne puts up his dukes. This time it concerns the slime campaign against the 12-year old Graeme Frost, a boy who had the misfortune to qualify for Maryland’s SCHIP program (an expanded version of which Bush vetoed). The young Mr. Frost, who benefited from the SCHIP program after a serious car accident (and brain stem injury) delivered the Democratic response to Bush’s veto. In response to this, many mainstream–and this is an important classification–conservative personalities attacked young Mr.Frost and his parents, claiming they were undeserving of such federal benefits (among much else).

>So rather than just condemn the right-wingers as meanies, let’s take their claims seriously. Doing so makes clear that they are engaged in a perverse and incoherent form of class warfare.

>The left is accused of all manner of sins related to covetousness and envy whenever it raises questions about who benefits from Bush’s tax cuts and mentions the yachts such folks might buy or the mansions they might own. But here is a family with modest possessions doing everything conservatives tell people they should do, and the right trashes them for getting help to buy health insurance for their children.

>Most conservatives favor government-supported vouchers that would help Graeme attend his private school, but here they turn around and criticize him for . . . attending a private school. Federal money for private schools but not for health insurance? What’s the logic here?

There isn’t any.