If you have a strong stomach, you can wander over to the wingnut-o-sphere and see Michelle Malkin & Co. basically staking out (or stalking) a 12-year-old kid and his family, for having the temerity to say on the radio that the government helped them out when he got hurt. It’s this kind of mob action and intimidation that has become Malkin’s calling card — and don’t think it isn’t being noticed by some conservatives that don’t find it a gas anymore:
I simply can not believe this is what the Republican party has become. I just can’t. It just makes me sick to think all those years of supporting this party, and this is what it has become. Even if you don’t like the S-Chip expansion, it is hard to deny what Republicans are- a bunch of bitter, nasty, petty, snarling, sneering, vicious thugs, peering through people’s windows so they can make fun of their misfortune.
I’m registering Independent tomorrow.
So, instead of letting blood vessels in my head pop right open, I’m going to take a deep breath … (need another one, sorry) … let’s just ask What It All Means. Why does the right-wing mob action crowd desperately need to defame this kid and his family? It’s simple: They are unalterably opposed to the idea that the government actually helps someone — particularly someone in the “middle class”. It absolutely goes counter to their Panglossian idolatry of wealth, in which you always get what you deserve, and deserve what you get. And if you don’t have health care — hell,
let them eat cake just earn more money!
And they know they’re losing this one. The idea of shared sacrifice and shared benefit is extremely powerful, and extremely popular. Add that to the acute awareness people have of the wrenching decisions our health care system forces on people, and their kids, and SCHIP’s popularity becomes overwhelming. The opposers know it — which is why folks like Jim Ogonowski are trying their damndest to change the subject to something else, like illegal immigration. They simply cannot win by opposing the substance and central ambitions of the law. Malkin & Co. can continue to espouse their tinny, smug individualism, and they’ll get their butts kicked at the polls. People know that’s just not how the world works.
As Kevin Drum states, President Bush is just being honest with his reasons for vetoing SCHIP: He doesn’t want the government having anything to do with health care. Sets a bad precedent, in his mind. Of course, that very precedent is part of why I’m so enthusiastic: Once we start saying we’re going to look after each other, well gosh, where do we stop?
Look, people of good faith can talk about the ins and outs of the SCHIP law, what’s good or bad about it, whether it’s the very best way to get the job done; but I’m really talking about marginalizing the people who don’t really care about making sure kids have coverage at all — indeed, who see it as a threat to their ideological shibboleths.
And that’s why a 12-year-old kid with a paralyzed vocal cord is such a huge problem for them.
Update: Ezra’s got some tough commentary, with which I totally agree. And yet … There’s got to be something beyond a.) gnashing our teeth and railing against the Malkin-mob’s lust for the personal destruction of its imagined enemies, or b.) responding in kind. Somehow we’ve got to take our game to another level, to use these spats to make bigger points than merely that Michelle Malkin is a thug (and a stain on her Oberlin pedigree). She is what she is, but I want to know how to make her irrelevant.