Howdy Doody was a kids’ show that those of a certain age will remember. It set the template for kids’ shows, in many ways during its run from 1947 to 1960. The pre-1952 Clarabelle the Clown (who never spoke) later became Captain Kangaroo. During that period after World War II, America got into a War in Korea, got out of that war, and, angry and fearful of our former ally, Soviet Russia, we fell into a very dark time.
Some may recall that Richard Nixon came to prominence as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which was doing in the House what Senator Joseph McCarthy was doing in the Senate — looking for “Communists.” Clarabelle the Clown turned out to have the right idea, sort of, for the age.
Today, after George W. Bush vetoed a bill to expand health coverage for poor children, and after the Democratic response to Bush’s Saturday Radio Address was delivered by a 12 year old boy, the usual suspects went into attack mode. ThinkProgress:
Right Wing Launches Baseless Smear Campaign Against 12 Year Old Recipient Of SCHIP
Two weeks ago, the Democratic radio address was delivered by a 12-year old Maryland boy named Graeme Frost. Graeme told his story of being involved in a severe car accident three years ago, and having received access to medical care because of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He said:
If it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today. … We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don’t have CHIP, and they wouldn’t get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. … I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me.
The right-wing immediately condemned Democrats for daring to put a human face on the SCHIP program at a time when Bush was proposing a “diminishment of the number of children covered.” Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) — who has posed with children to advance his own political agenda — claimed Graeme was being used “as a human shield.”
Conservatives have more recently turned their targets on young Graeme Frost himself … The smear attack against Graeme has taken firm hold in the right-wing blogosphere. The National Review, Michelle Malkin, Wizbang, Powerline, and the Weekly Standard blog have all launched assaults on the Frost family. The story is slowly working its way into traditional media outlets as well.
Yes. The confrontation is vast and highly polarized, with virtually no middle ground. This is yet another escalation in the war of words that began, one might say, with Ted Nugent’s attack on all those “dirty smelly hippies” on July 4. Look at this massed blog firepower arrayed one side against the other –sneer at the lad, defend the lad. It is impossible to compromise on a castration.
Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice wrote:
If He Criticizes Your Side, Demonize Him And Try To Discredit Him
Even if he’s only 12 years old.
And now with a 12 year old kid? American politics once dealt with issues; it has devolved into a perpetual game of Seek & Destroy. [several updates not included]
But the piece de resistance, the ne plus ultra of “let them eat cake” comes from this Steyn “person” at the National Review Online: (as long as it’s understood that by linking and inadvertently spreading this %&*#@* I am NOT franking Steyn):
The new poor [Mark Steyn]
Over the weekend, I posted a couple of things re Graeme Frost, the Democratic Party’s 12-year old healthcare spokesman. Michelle Malkin reports that the blogospheric lefties are all steamed about the wingnuts’ Swiftboating of sick kids, etc.
Sorry, no sale. The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man’s job, then the boy is fair game. As it is, the Dems do enough cynical and opportunist hiding behind biography and identity, and it’s incredibly tedious. And anytime I send my seven-year-old out to argue policy you’re welcome to clobber him, too. The alternative is a world in which genuine debate is ended and, as happened with Master Frost, politics dwindles down to professional staffers writing scripts to be mouthed by Equity moppets …
Wow! An alternate universe in which slimeballs like Steyn engage in “genuine debate.” Since he declaims the kiddie speech one, and we all know that the status quo HE infers is a land where Unicorns play among the jewel trees and the fountains of ambrosia by the rainbow bridge … I wonder what universe we are ACTUALLY inhabiting. Hmmm.
Jeepers. That sure as hell reminds me of something. What could it be, I wonder?
Oh yes! Now I remember!
Mr. WELCH. Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild, and Mr. Cohn nods his head at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn.
Mr. [Roy] COHN. No, sir.
Mr. WELCH. I meant to do you no personal injury, and if I did, beg your pardon.
Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
Senator MCCARTHY. I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch. But I may say, Mr. Chairman, on a point of personal privilege, and I would like to finish it—
Mr. WELCH. Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.
Senator MCCARTHY. I would like to finish this.
Mr. Welch has been filibustering this hearing, he has been talking day after day about how he wants to get anyone tainted with communism out before sundown. I know Mr. Cohn would rather not have me go into this. I intend to, however, Mr. Welch talks about any sense of decency. If I say anything which is not the truth, then I would like to know about it.
The foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party, its front organizations, and controlled unions, and which, since its inception, has never failed to rally to the legal defense of the Communist Party …
So, do you know what time it is, kids?
That’s right. It’s HOWDY DOODY TIME!
UPDATE 5 PM PDT: Thanks to The Moderate Voice for the link. Returning the favor, read the posting, which expresses the traged that this represents for self-governance.