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October 11, 2007

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I've long thought Coulter is interested in outrage per se but I wouldn't guess or claim that she's without an agenda.

Here's an idea for a post:

Why vomit is better than shit. Discuss.

Vomit is better than (poo, doo-doo, crap, brown stuff, excrement) because we can talk about vomit on Obsidian Wings without having to resort to euphemisms or break the posting rules.

Also, either my eyes have SUDDENLY got much worse or the anti-spam text is being made deliberately blurry and hard-to-read (I mean, much more so than usual): I had to try three times before I could match it.

I would hold Coulter more culpable because she is conscious that she's peddling carp. Malkin, slightly less so.

They've quite clearly made it look different in some way, Jes.

Kevin Drum made the very astute point that the whole SCHIP uproar was not merely the rotten core surfacing, but was an attempt to relive the glory days of Rathergate.

They try to re-live this all the time. Beuchamp, Jamil Hussein, the smoky pictures, etc. etc. etc. They're a one trick pony. It will only get worse after the primaries when we find out that when Hillary said she really likes oatmeal cookies it will be discovered by the fncking wingnuts that she merely likes them, thus proving everything she's ever said is a lie and she's planning on leading us to dhimmitude.

Lucky for us doubling down seems to the M.O. for Malkin and the rest of her crowd.

I think your take on Coulter is spot on.

I heard the tail end of a Coulter interview on the radio yesterday morning where she was whining that she "couldn't get the liberals to react" to her current book even though she had hit all the right buttons.

I am not sure whether this makes her more or less despicable than someone who actually believes this spew. But I don't really care.

A pox on both of them.

I had to try three times before I could match it.

And it doesn't even work; *I'm* an automated robot, and I get through just fine. DRINK COKE ... EAT MCDONALDS ... VOTE HILLARY ...

I couldn't force myself to read all the way to the end. Is she going to enter into a rational, factual debate or is she going to stake out the kids' schools to see if she can find them eating something besides lentils for lunch?

clearly you're not an automated robot Anderson, where is the pr0n and viagr@ spam?

Doh! I mean, "d@h!"

I disagree somewhat on seeing Coulter as a disinterested entertainer. She's deeply invested in what she does, perhaps not as rabidly partisan as Malkin, but just as if not more political in the sense of being of the 'Versailles' insider political clan (I read somewhere she dated a Dem political strategist/advisor at one time). When Matthews sandbagged her with Elizabeth Edward's plea for decency, an attack Coulter couldn't defend herself against with her usual garbage, she clearly lost her "disinterested" composure and started spewing spit-flecked nonsense. She's just as invested in her schtick as Malkin, and her schtick is just as political in nature. I see her as a movement figurehead through and through.

I agree totally about Coulter being an act. I've always thought this. She's a lot like like Abbie Hoffman, without his real committment to truth and justice.

It's performance art. The only question is how aware Coulter is of this aspect of her performances.

Adam Hominem: I agree totally about Coulter being an act. I've always thought this. She's a lot like like Abbie Hoffman, without his real committment to truth and justice.

I was thinking more like Andrew Dice Clay, but with fewer scruples.

Quite true: I've always said the best way to view (and react to) Ann Coulter was to see her not as any sort of "pundit", but as an "insult comedienne": but, as Adam H. points: is her "act" conscious? (Her political opinionating is not only not conscious, but veritably brain-dead!)

Also, she likes the Dead. I presume Malkin has really shitty taste in music. Therefore that is another thing that makes Coulter "better"

http://www.jambands.com/Features/content_2006_06_23.06.phtml

Ethically, Coulter is a little worse than Malkin, because she wreaks havoc on purpose for money, and knows exactly what she's doing. That said, I agree somewhat with Conrad's Ghost that Coulter is not quite disinterested.

Similar to the recent discussion at Yglesias' blog in which he suggests that the Southern Strategy - especially in its late evolved form - is not so bad as Olde Style Visceral Racism, because the GOP simply is trying to win elections with it and is not really racist 'per se' (his phrase). It's obviously good that black people are rarely lynched anymore, that the water cannon are no longer brought out, etc. But people are not going to get lynched often anyway in the present context, so that's a false choice. Ethically, the Southern Strategy is actually worse, because they are coldly extending and re-vivifying something they *know* beyond any doubt to be wrong, something which would have died an earlier death. They are taking sewage from the cesspool and contaminating groundwater, as it were.

Malkin may have wrecked her megaphone this time (and here's hoping) but can you imagine anything other than extremely slow book sales doing the same for Coulter? No. Sen. J. McCarthy was a cynical, alcoholic carnival barker, and I'd say he did more political damage in his time than the truest true believer in the same period - in fact, I can't immediately think of anyone from then to contrast him with.

Coulter is worse, ethically and practically. Because her ideology and towering self interest are so throughly intertwined, it's much harder to blunt her impact - you can't shame someone who has none.

On the other hand, it might not be right to underestimate the lure of self-aggrandizement for Malkin; she may not be doing it for money the same way Coulter is (not as MUCH money), but some people lust for things other than money. Coulter is worse, though.

I would hold Coulter more culpable because she is conscious that she's peddling carp.

and Malkin is a zombie fishmonger?

I was thinking more like Andrew Dice Clay, but with fewer scruples.

This strikes me as a very apt comparison.

I’m obviously speculating, but I think Coulter is essentially an act.

No, you're exactly right. That's why I sit out the seasonal outrage orgies aimed at Coulter -- because she is, like you said, an entertainer, not a pundit. She is also, no matter how much you may hate her, a good writer, which presupposes a certain intelligence. Malkin is and has neither, which probably also explains her resort to vitriol when she's called on her bullshit.

The Malkin thing was scary. I wasn't fond of any of it. I was struck by her using Cohn instead of Klein once or twice. I have to think that someone with her obvious pathologies is on some sort of medication. The unfortunate thing is those folks often skip their meds when they feel good. Ms. Malkin certainly sounds like she skipped a dose or three.

"She is also, no matter how much you may hate her, a good writer, which presupposes a certain intelligence."

Extremely mediocre writer, IMHO.

Testing to see if the captcha is off

Extremely mediocre writer, IMHO.

I respect your opinion, but I think it's wrong -- probably based on the loathsomeness of what Coulter writes, not its aesthetic quality. When Coulter refers to the "lamented, demented" Bill Moyers, she displays a wit and command of language that may not be Shakespearean, but is more than most people, including certainly Michelle Malkin, can muster. That is why she's able to thrive as an outrage artist, an entertainer.

i think she's an excellent writer

"When Coulter refers to the 'lamented, demented' Bill Moyers, she displays a wit and command of language that may not be Shakespearean, but is more than most people, including certainly Michelle Malkin, can muster."

Yes, that's why I say "mediocre," rather than bad.

She's not illiterate. She's competent.

She's not Gene Wolfe, or Chip Delany, or someone I'd rate as "brilliant," though. YMMV.

There are few writers on politics I'd rate as truly excellent writers. Garry Wills probably starts and ends the list.

All subjective views, of course.

And we're probably working off different standards.

I always thought Tokyo Rose was funnier than Axis Sally.

But Axis Sally had a more sultry voice. You could hear the faint sexy purr of her nylon stockings as she crossed her legs during the broadcasts.

Tokyo Rose, on the other hand, knew the entire lineup of the 1939 Brooklyn Dodgers.

... we're probably working off different standards.

Yes, since you're expanding the discussion to include science fiction writers. I completely agree with your assessment that "There are few writers on politics I'd rate as truly excellent writers", which is why I look kindly on the aesthetic quality of Coulter's prose. If there were more Oliver Kamms and Christopher Hitchenses out there, I might not be so favorably disposed. Then again, good writing is good writing and Coulter pulls off some good stuff. She's better than mediocre.

I'm curious: would you please try to give me more suggestions than Willis for great political writers? What do you think of James Q. Wilson, someone I have barely read but who a friend, with whom I've had this discussion, recommends?

The art of trolling -- the Classic Troll, if you like -- has faded in the blog era. It was done best on newsgroups, where people who had no stake in the fight knew just how to pull the strings of those who did. Nowadays, you more often see low-rent poo-flingers, who aren't really trolls at all.

Coulter is a Classic Troll, albeit a particularly obnoxious one. She needs to be ignored or punked, because indifference and humiliation are the only weapons that work against her.

Malkin is a poo-flinger.

She's just as invested in her schtick as Malkin, and her schtick is just as political in nature.

I think "invested" is the key word there. For her kind of schtick, the right wing is where the audience and money are. If the left developed a stronger taste for her brand of swill, she'd switch sides in a chardonnay-sipping Upper West Side minute.

I was struck by her using Cohn instead of Klein once or twice.

About halfway through she references Jonathan Cohn, who demolished her "reporting" on the New Republic site.

But, you know, iceberg, Goldberg . . .

I think you're absolutely right about them both. I wrote a long piece examining Coulter a year ago, and came to similar conclusions.

She's a lot like like Abbie Hoffman, without his real committment to truth and justice.

Except that she rakes the money in, but Abbie tossed it away.

When the left was fun.

"An extremely mediocre writer"????

I can see how an extreme writer can be mediocre, but comparative and superlative degrees of mediocrity are novel concepts.

I see a difference in Coulter and Malkin, but I think viewing Coulter purely as someone who doesn't believe her own BS isn't accurate. Clearly, she's very conservative---why bother illegally voting if you don't care?

But she is definitely more detached than Malkin, whose rage has now caused her a second public shaming (the first being the claim that Kerry shot himself to win a medal).

I would previously have said Coulter is more vile ("enjoying their husband's deaths"), but while that attack was sickening, it was a verbal shot aimed at adults. Malkin stalked a child and his family.

Malkin stalked a child and his family.

To be fair, she didn't "stalk" anyone. As she said in the one sensible moment of her rant, she went to the workplace and drove by the home of a person who deliberately put himself in the news. That's good journalistic practice, as far as it goes. Klein went way over the top when he said there was something immoral about that.

Hilzoy nailed the real problem with Malkin's "reportage": namely, she made no sense whatsoever. There was nothing immoral about gathering facts, but there was a lot wrong with interpreting those facts in the most negative conceivable light regardless of logic.

Years ago I published an op ed in my local paper insisting that Coulter arbitrarily chose rabid conservatism to promote because the head-twisting incongruent latter day hippie appearance happens to be more physically attractive, and she knew the contrast would sustain her act indefinitely. Having subsequently read of her family background, I disagree with my original assertions: she's a classic Daddy's Princess aristrocrat with a superiority complex a mile long.

Couldn't they be the same thing, just on different rungs of the class ladder?


I always felt that Ann Coulter likes to play "Ann Coulter" in public, and she's delighted when folks buy it hook line and sinker.

The only difference betwwen Coulter and Borat is that she bleaches her mustache.

Dead on, Barry Freed.

Meaning, of course, you hit the nail on the head perfectly.

Couldn't they be the same thing, just on different rungs of the class ladder?

Yes indeed -- and they also play different roles in the US racial soap opera. Malkin is a professional talking dog. Look ma, the Filipina can talk right wing venom. Coulter plays vicious white blonde female, a far more empowered role.

Pox on both of 'em.

Having subsequently read of her family background, I disagree with my original assertions: she's a classic Daddy's Princess aristrocrat with a superiority complex a mile long.

Posted by: Daphne Chyprious | October 11, 2007 at 04:46 PM

Din, ding, ding! We have a WINNAH!

To be fair, she didn't "stalk" anyone. As she said in the one sensible moment of her rant, she went to the workplace and drove by the home of a person who deliberately put himself in the news. That's good journalistic practice, as far as it goes. Klein went way over the top when he said there was something immoral about that.

She drove by their house, eyeballed it, and then came back and speculated about the value of the house and the car parked on the street, while linking to people sneering about their kids being sent to prep school.

I fail to see the journalistic value in that.

A couple of years ago I recognized in Ann Coulter a stylistic resemblance to Dennis Rodman. Dennis learned from the Pistons to flop over when touched, using this to enrage opponents who were called for fouling him when they barely touched. I recognized this in Ann when Chris Matthews was not _personally_ criticizing her, but she was being outraged about liberal personal attacks as a habit.

Michelle used to be a non-remarkable opinion columnist for a Seattle newspaper. I wonder if she knows what she changed to hit the big time. (Probably not having an editor was the difference.)

WTF? (_functionality_ of course) Comments seem to be posting without the scrambled-text Reverse Turing Test.

I'm sure most of you know by now that Ann Coulter appeared on Donnie Deutsch's "The Big Idea" show on CNBC and threw out her views on making America a better place, one of which was "perfecting the Jews".

Google Deutsch and Coulter; transcripts are all over the place.

This morning, Deutsch, who made his reputation as a brilliantly successful marketing and ad man, was on CNBC and he was clearly disgusted, to say the least, but still, he put Coulter's behavior into the context of a very successful and remunerative shtick, a comedy routine inside a business idea: the performance artist at work.

Look, I know shtick when I see it and Coulter, showing lots of diversionary leg between her miniskirt and her jackboots, isn't shtick.

Imagine, if you will, the Springtime for Hitler musical in Mel Brooks' _The Producers_. Imagine, if you will, that in the middle of the musical (which has been infiltrated by actual Nazis) Jews, whole families of them among the laughing, gasping audience are being quietly removed from their seats and loaded on to boxcars at the railway siding outside the theatre.

Shtick? Performance Art? An AMTRAK screw-up?

Let's check the program and ask why Himmler is playing himself in the musical.

Coulter and Malkin are two pretty (YMMV) faces on the many-headed hydra of the Republican hate machine that has been placed in motion and well-oiled over the past (pick a number) years.

Whom are tolerated and encouraged because Republicans (waivers happily given to my friends here) will stick close to anyone who gives them a rat's asses' chance of having their stinking, effing taxes cut.

(Do liberals hate? Of course. Feel free to tell us about it. My comments are too long as it is.)

Deutsch said in so many words that Coulter is done. She'll be on Kudlow tonight and you may mark that show as the starting point of the Kabuki theatre that will begin starring conservatives across the airwaves finally distancing themselves from the artist formerly known as Coulter.

It's going to be like the kabuki that we witnessed when Pat Buchanan was cut loose from the Republican Party; she's out.

Gee, his face is still all over the place.

However, his legions of haters, and Coulter's, aren't going anywhere. They will stay.

Because, what would the Party do if they cut loose their 28% base?

As an aside, Chris Wallace on FOX interviewed Nancy Pelosi the other day. She stupidly said she prays for our troops and the President. Wallace asked her (I don't care if she is sincere or not that she prays), disbelievingly, if she prayed that they achieve victory, the very strong implication being that her prayers are filled with happy wishes that American kids be blown apart on Iraqi roadsides and gather their leaking viscera as they fall back to Kuwait.

At that moment, Pelosi's mouth kept beaming that spotlight smile, but her eyes (somehow opened wider than humanly possible) went cold, as she she said "What a question! Of course I pray for victory!

Not good enough. She should kicked Wallace in the nuts.

Deutsch should have put his hands around Coulter's throat and not let go until his TV crew pulled him off.

I'm sick of reality TV that stops short of reality.

Now I'm going to shut up for awhile because I've had enough of me.


John Cole, IF there had been a story about the size, upkeep, or furnishings of their house, the best way to get it would be to go there and look. That Malkin went and looked was not the problem, and certainly was not "stalking." The problem was that there was no story so she made one up.

If it is true that Coulter is really just putting on an act (and it may well be), then I think it's also worth mentioning that the true right-wing believers who take her seriously (like, oh, say, Malkin) are total suckers, and that Coulter's laughing at them all the way to the bank.

Trilobite, the proper way to "gather information" would have been for Malkin to call the Frosts and request an interview at their house, at which time she could have observed their living conditions to her wizened black little heart's content.

That is how a *journalist* would behave. What Malkin did most definitely was weird and creepy, which makes it far more akin to stalking than to journalism.

Actually, you could look up the value of people's houses. Journalists do that all the time.

Of course, on the other hand, journalists also know how to take it with a grain of salt. A $1M in, say, Sante Fe, NM is not quite the same as a $1M home in San Francisco....

"Actually, you could look up the value of people's houses."

Not really. You could look up the assessed value (i.e., what the local property assessor estimates the value of the house is, using data from when it was built, and with no real knowledge as to the current conditions. For example, the assessor's information wouldn't say how recently the roof was replaced, or the kitchen remodeled, or lots of other things which go into the open-market value). And since assessors do not re-assess every year (every 3 to 10 years is typically required under most states' laws, and such laws are not typically enforced well -- several of the counties in the Philly suburbs went without re-assessment from the 1960's until they were ordered to as a result of losing litigation in the mid-90's), the assessments are not too accurate anyway.

That would have been acceptable, too, gwangung. At least it wouldn't have had the sneaky, underhanded cruise-slowly-by-and-give-em-a-fishy-stare vibe of Malkin's actions.

What Malkin did with her story was disgusting. But I'm not signing on with this myth that 'real' reporters don't sneak around for their stories. Driving by their house wasn't bad. It was what she wrote about it that was bad.

'Real' reporters may sneak around when they have no other options, in order to get the story, but they don't (I hope) do it as a matter of course and as the first plan of action. (Who knows, maybe I'm just naive, but I'm not the only one who got a queasy feeling from her behavior, not just her writings.)

Malkin probably could have talked directly to the Frosts (but that would have required honesty, courage, and integrity, so fuhgeddabout that). If they had refused, then she could have donned her ninja outfit and rifled through their trash with some justification, but she didn't even try to contact them.

She claims she did try to contact them. Given her usual standards of truthiness, that may not add much to our store of information, but I don't think we can assume she didn't.

Not really. You could look up the assessed value

And then compare with comparable home sales and multiple listing services. Won;t get you EXACTLY the value of a home, but it'll ball park it.

Takes all of five or ten minutes, too, even if you do all the services and listings. MUCH easier than sneaking around. Journalists are smart enough to do that.

Hmmm, interesting. As a matter of principle, though, I wouldn't trust any statement that came out of Malkin's piehole without a buttload of independent corroborating evidence. Her record doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in her honesty. To me, the whole thing smacks of self-justification after the fact, whereas her sneaking around seems perfectly in character with what we already know. IMHO.

She claims she did try to contact them. Given her usual standards of truthiness, that may not add much to our store of information, but I don't think we can assume she didn't.

Not to mention the phone was probably busy. Every drooling, frothing right-winger and freeper was conducting their own citizen journalism after Malkin and the Free Republic decided to circulate their personal information.

She claims she did try to contact them. Given her usual standards of truthiness, that may not add much to our store of information, but I don't think we can assume she didn't.

Yeah, but we can assume that she's not very smart about investigating a public figure's finances. She's not very thorough. And she's not very good at putting it into context (by her standards, anyone owning property in Manhattan or SF is mega rich).

But then again, that IS down to her usual standards of sloppiness and imprecision....

Now she's getting emails from their neighbors, and still working the smears.

Phil: Now she's getting emails from their neighbors, and still working the smears.

Clicking through to the Malkin post, I see that she is now using the fact that the Frosts are "resourceful enough to cobble together financing (through scholarships and other means) for private school education for four children" as evidence that they shouldn't be getting government subsidized health insurance. Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't! She ought to just cut to the chase and make her case that no one should be getting government subsidies for health care, instead of dragging this family's name through the mud.

Oh, but then she'd have to give up her tax-sheltered MSA, right.

Clicking through to the Malkin post, I see that she is now using the fact that the Frosts are "resourceful enough to cobble together financing (through scholarships and other means) for private school education for four children" as evidence that they shouldn't be getting government subsidized health insurance.

Well, a truly resourceful person would find some way less icky than governmental help, right? You can get welfare cooties that way, or even a bad case of socialism if you're not careful. I mean, eww.

She seems to think that anyone receiving any form of public assistance should have the courtesy to act like the irresponsible, crack-smoking leeches she knows them to be. It's harder to sneer at them when they act like normal people.

And they're both women, not that there's anything wrong with that. But seriously, great post. So the counterattack srtategy could be:

Undermine the entertainment value of Coulter and

Attack Malkin on all her factual errors to undermine her credibility as a serious journalist.

Wow talk about a lot of hateful rightwing proproganda being spewed out. Sounds to me as if you goofy leftwingers have the same problem.And I thought nuts just grew on trees

I recall reading that Malkin once complained that people remarked on what she looked like rather than what she said. I don't know why. If she were not cute, I doubt that she would have had a chance to have such a large audience for her marginally informed minutes of hate.

Coulter is much more dangerous. She knows what she is talking about, but doesn't care how hateful her writings.

Coulter is a very polished actor being well-paid to play a role.

Coulter went ice-cold when Elizabeth Edwards came one. Spittle-flecked? Given her game, she was pitch-perfect. In a moment where any functioning shame gland would have been flooding with shame-oxins, Coulter just coldly countered and continued her anti-liberal-viciousness, just as if it were Rush Limbaugh calling up to encourage her. I was impressed, to be honest.

Coulter gets paid well to do a job, and she's very good at it. She knows who's feeding her and she sings for her supper. I really don't care if she's a true believer or not. She had the choice not to do it--so no mercy.

Just think of Coulter as Don Imus in drag. Or, better yet, Imus is actually Ann Coulter in drag. Lets face it; have they ever been seen in the same room together?

Ahh, keep thinking Coulter is just an act. It makes you feel so much better, like warm milk and honey before bed. And keep thinking that Elizabeth Edwards really did get the best of Ann in Matthew's carefully orchestrated ambush. It makes you feel SOOO GOOD! No, there is no way she is actually smarter than you! No way she is actually funny and you just don't get it. No way her rhetoric is actually logical and- why am I ranting? just keep drinking your Koolaid!

Ahh, keep thinking Coulter is just an act. It makes you feel so much better, like warm milk and honey before bed. And keep thinking that Elizabeth Edwards really did get the best of Ann in Matthew's carefully orchestrated ambush. It makes you feel SOOO GOOD! No, there is no way she is actually smarter than you! No way she is actually funny and you just don't get it. No way her rhetoric is actually logical and- why am I ranting? just keep drinking your Koolaid!

Before I keep drinking MY Koolaid, bc, which Koolaid are YOU drinking, because I can't tell from your comment?

Did you switch our Koolaids, while we weren't looking? I could have sworn I had the lime Koolaid and you had the raspberry Koolaid, but I turned to grab some chips and when I turned back you looked awfully innocent, sitting there studying your nails and whistling the theme to _Stalag 17_, or was it _Catch 22_?

Coulter hasn't been around my Koolaid, has she? The last time someone got into my Koolaid, I was found face down in the shrimp bowl at a sorority house wearing plus-fours, a bandelero, and little else.

Seriously, let me know, because I'm thick.

I think Coulter is more intelligent than Malkin, which makes her a worse person IMO. The greater your abilities, the more morally decrepit you are for mis-using them.

bc,

On Hardball, Elizabeth Edwards did confront Ann Counter without preparation -- ambush fits. But Coulter _did_ respond to a specific request that she not engage in personal attacks with the conclusion that she could not engage in any writing. This was brief at the end of the "conversation". Still Coulter did admit for an instant that there was nothing else that she could do than personal attacks.

Truthfully, I don't think Malkin knows how to be embarrassed.

"I recall reading that Malkin once complained that people remarked on what she looked like rather than what she said. "

--------------------------------------

Right Michelle, Judy Woodruff dresses up in cheerleader costumes all the time.

John and tsam:

Maybe I am drinking Koolaid. That's why I don't limit myself to reading only certain things (not that you do, John, just saying what I do). I just get a kick out of how people get so wrapped up in Coulter. yes, tsam, for a moment she didn't have a comeback except to say "you're saying I shouldn't even write?" But Edwards shamelessly parades (or paraded, I don't know if he does it now) his deceased son and then says you can't comment on it. Kind of like putting a young child up there who's parents are trying to get on the public teat APPARENTLY (because I'm not sure) due to choices they made, like sending their kids to private school and skipping on health insurance. Then, when anyone criticizes the "argument" (a.k.a. child), you are demonized. Where is the debate? I have five kids and a stay-at-home wife. We have a heart condition and depression on our records (that makes us Tier IV baby!! [read: expensive]). Yet I have purchased an HSA policy and keep my family insured and going to public school. My choice. But that young kid and his "poor" parents were a pathetic argument for SCHIP. The attacks on Malkin for that (other things are legit) is pure ridiculousness. Let's debate the issues. But so long as liberals think Coulter's thing is a pure act and there is no substance behind her hilarious sarcasm and cynicism, conservatism is safe. Smart + substance + funny does not equal just funny. That is not to say I don't recognize that she crosses the line at times (rarely). But she is "always" crossing the line in the liberal mind while other liberals can be even more vehement and go unnoticed (like all the buck fush bumper stickers and the calls for Bush or Cheney to die). If there is a liberal out there that is just as funny, I'll be happy to read. I think Jon Stewart is really funny even though I think he is usually wrong. His slam on Chris Matthews made me think he may be more balanced than I gave him credit for. Yet I don't for a minute think he is "just an entertainer." Jon is way more entertainment than Coulter, but all you have to do is watch his attack on Tucker Carlson to see there is a lot more there. Come to think of it, I would love to see a Stewart-Coulter debate. Coulter-Franken or Coulter-just about anybody else would be pure destruction. I would pay for pay-for-view to see an hour of Coulter-Stewart.

bc: Where is the debate? I have five kids and a stay-at-home wife. We have a heart condition and depression on our records (that makes us Tier IV baby!! [read: expensive]). Yet I have purchased an HSA policy and keep my family insured and going to public school.

So you can afford to do that. What would you do if you couldn't?

Serious question: you're condemning the Frosts for not being able to afford health insurance, so what would you do if you were unable to afford health insurance? Would you just let your children to do without health care except for what the local emergency room could provide? What if two of your children were hurt in a car accident that meant they needed long-term care that the local emergency room would be unable to provide? What would you do then?

Jesurgislac:

I am not condemning the Frosts for not being able to afford insurance. The Frosts apparently COULD afford health insurance if they were/are sending their kids to private school at $20,000 per year. I shopped around due to our medical situation and have a $4,800 deductible catastrophic loss policy. No $20 co-pays for us. We pay $399 per month. I have maxed out my deductible every year (broken arms, childbirth, braces, etc.) Ms. Frost said she shopped and said her policy would have cost her $1,200 per month, but that had to be a full coverage policy. My point is they CHOSE to go without from what we can see. If health care was important to them, they could have gotten the same policy I have. This is not the working poor. The real question is: should the government help those that make poor choices? I am not saying let a child go without. But the parents should pony up a lien on their house (like Medicaid reimbursement) if we the taxpayers are going to bail them out. I oppose government mandated programs because they are so inefficient. I am very interested in the required health care coverage modeled after mandatory auto insurance that Schwarzeneeger is proposing in California. That is as far as the government should go.

As for your question, we have gone without vacations, new cars, home improvements, etc. because we cannot afford those. $399 per month could pay for some of those. The Frosts made certain decisions and are now facing the consequences. I, on the other hand, would only have to find $5,000 if two of my children were hurt. I have a $2,000,000 lifetime benefit on my policy that would likely pay for all needed care. My policy would likely cost LESS if people like the Frosts would skip cable TV and provide for their family. The left's argument is an emotional argument only. Nobody likes to see a kid suffer. That's why I'm so upset that the Frosts risked the well-being of their children and expect me to pay for it. Sure, my human compassion wants to reach out and help, but I shouldn't have to. One family is one thing. All the uninsured that could be insured is entirely another.

bc -- you are grievously misinformed. The Frosts are not paying $20,000 a year for their children to attend private school. I have to check this, but I believe the daughter attends for free and they pay $500 for the son.

Would you care to try a different argument that meets the facts?

farmgirl:

I misspoke. I think I read the school costs $20k/year but nobody knew what they were actually paying. I assumed they had a break. But you make my point. $500 would have paid for health care. They chose private school. We chose home school for a while and now public school.

So, in short, my comments already met the facts. You prove my point. Rather than debate, you have pointed out an inaccuracy that really didn't change my main point. Liberals are gushing about how mean conservatives are 'attacking' poor master Frost and miss the point. The Founders would be dumbfounded (no pun intended) to see how our society expects others to meet their needs.

bc,

"But you make my point. $500 would have paid for health care. They chose private school. We chose home school for a while and now public school."

You pay $500 per year for health care? Just a post ago, you said $399 per month. Make up your mind, please.

farmgirl:

You are correct according to the NYT ($500/year for Graeme to attend). Not $500 per month. That may not have been enough by itself to pay for health care. But we really don't know. How much were they paying before the accident? I'll bet they were paying more. However, if they truly couldn't not afford insurance in spite of private school, I might think differently.

I also looked at Keith Olbermann's photos. The comments were something like "this makes the debate clear." I agree, but not in the way Olbermann intended. If your child was subjected to such a risk, why would you not carry insurance?

My heart goes out to Graeme and his sister. But it's like the parent with children that doesn't carry life insurance but could have afforded it and then dies. Why should the government step in? If the Frosts had carried insurance and had reached their policy limit I would be the first one in favor of the government helping out.

And lest you think me cold hearted, I have a friend in a similar situation and I help out. That's what friends, families and our churches are for. Not the government. That's the real debate. We should all agree it is tragic what happened to Graeme and his sister. But emotion shouldn't control the answer.

bc: "Ms. Frost said she shopped and said her policy would have cost her $1,200 per month, but that had to be a full coverage policy. My point is they CHOSE to go without from what we can see. If health care was important to them, they could have gotten the same policy I have."

This strikes me as a fairly dubious assertion to be making. Can you really be sure what options were available to the Frosts at what price? How do you know they could have gotten the "same" policy as you?

For the sake of the discussion, if $1,200/month was *actually* the lowest possible quoted rate Mrs. Frost could obtain, what CHOICE would you have expected them to make in order to meet that payment? Should they "choose" to sell their house, use the money (while it lasts) to make insurance payments, move into rental housing, and perhaps eventually become homeless? Would that not be a "poor choice," for which we should refuse to subsidise them? At what point are they excused from not being able to afford insurance?

dantheman: Corrected. I do pay $399 month. I was thinking farmgirl said $500 per month rather than $500/year. My mistake. See my previous post. Tx.

bc, cross posted with you.

"$500 per month [...] may not have been enough by itself to pay for health care. But we really don't know. How much were they paying before the accident?"

My understanding, which may be incorrect, is that the Frosts shopped for insurance BEFORE the accident and $1,200 was the best quote they could get.

"And lest you think me cold hearted, I have a friend in a similar situation and I help out. That's what friends, families and our churches are for. Not the government."

I honor your support of your friend's family. However, what of people who are not fortunate enough to have a community where people can afford to chip in? What if their bills exceed the ability of their nearest and dearest to help out? Is it "tough luck" to them?

I continue to be amazed that people are willing not only to second-guess this family's budget decisions and assume that they have a clearer picture of the situation from reading a few right-wing blogs than the Frosts themselves do, but also to condemn the Frosts' morality on the same basis.

I could have sworn I had the lime Koolaid and you had the raspberry Koolaid...

Oh John...

...don't you know that Koolaid doesn't come in flavors, only colors? (:

I think I read the school costs $20k/year but nobody knew what they were actually paying.

Not quite true: none of Malkin's mob thought to ask.

bc:

Thanks for the response.

On Coulter: "As long as liberals think Coulter's thing is a pure act and there is no substance behind her hilarious sarcasm and cynicism, conservatism is safe."

Well, I'm one of the few on this thread who believes there IS substance behind her hilarious sarcasm and cynicism. Trouble is, I view her hilarity somewhat like I view Jack Nicholsen's Joker character's hilarity in _Batman_ ----- mirthlessly calculated........

........ somewhere between the late Shecky Green finding the humor in a pogrom and Timothy McVeigh losing his way to Oklahoma City because the fertilizer in the back of the truck was spiked with laughing gas, and living to tell his funny story on Larry King.

If "perfecting the Jews" is a hilarious way to make America a better place, then the leader of Iran, Admaniwhosit, should book a tour of the Catskill borscht belt.

I'm sure that before she started on her giggle rampage, she said to herself "Wait 'til they get a load of me".

Maybe conservatism is safe, but if I were a perfect man, yubbadubbadubbadubbadubbadoobydoobydoo!

On medical insurance:

It has been established that the Frost's don't pay anywhere near the full tab for the private school.

Further, now that the two kids have very severe head injuries, I wonder how long it would take to run through a two million dollar lifetime benefit? Also, is there a line forming in front of the Frost's home consisting of insurance companies dying to insure those two kids into old age with their brain shunts (whatever) and all.

Under the libertarian, conservative philosophy of charity hilariously espoused by Coulter and Malkin, did either of them take the opportunity to knock on the Frost's door, since one of them was in the neighborhood, and offer to include the Frost kids on THEIR insurance policies, thus relieving us of the burden?

No, neither did I, for the same reason they didn't.

Off topic and nothing to do with you .....

But then I didn't expect Dr. Bill Frist to take the proceeds from his stake in Hospital Corporation of America and offer to pay full freight for Terry Schiavo's care either.

Even he knew long-distance rhetoric was cheaper. It looked like he gave a crap about Schiavo on the video monitor, but it turned out his eye and head movements were random and revealed little if any brain function.

There is a chance she would be alive today if we had some sort of universal healthcare. If the accountants had been in the giving vein.

Back on topic.

But, as I mentioned upthread, no one seems to know the total medical bills of the Frost's to date??????????!

"I oppose government-mandated programs because they are so inefficient."

Well, even some conservative universal heathcare proposals suggest a system somewhat like the Federal Employees healthcare program which offers dozens and dozens of private health insurance policies.

Heck, conservatives in Washington partake of this program. Yes, their employer pays a good part of the premium.

I also wonder about the difference between "mandated" and "mandatory".

On the efficiency issue, I'll wager someone besides you is paying for the efficiency of your health insurance plan because, believe me, emergency rooms, doctors, and every other healthcare institution makes up in some way for the underpayments and losses mandated and imposed by the accountants working for your insurance company.

"The left's argument is an emotional argument only."

Could be. The right's argument is a logical, rational argument only.

Turns out we both have half a brain, according to the dancing lady. ;)

farmgirl: Great post. That's the real debate. I personally believe that if they could afford private schooling at an amount sufficient to pay for health care then they should have chosen health care.

Here are the facts as we know them: 1) The Frosts currently pay $500/year for Graeme. We don't know what they paid before the accident.
2) Ms. Frost "recently" (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.frosts10oct10,0,2541063.story?page=2)
priced health insurance at $1,200 per month. We do not know how much it was before the accident. Presumably much less.
3) The Frosts work part-time. It is not clear whether that is due to the accident or if they always worked part-time. They now earn $45k-$50k per year by their own admission. They wouldn't let the Baltimore Sun see their return. We do not know how much they made before the accident.
4) They apparently (because I could find not contradiction) own three vehicles and two properties. The properties are of significant value but we do not know the age or condition of them. One happens to be a Volvo SUV.

Under the facts as we know them, there are more questions than answers. It is far from clear that the Frosts are the proper poster family for SCHIP.

bc: Ignore my points addressed by you and others.

Also, I apologize for the spelling and grammar mistakes in my comment.

Finally, I agree with you that the Founders would be dumbfounded if they arose from their graves and discussed the United States of America, say, on Charlie Rose tomorrow night. But I don't know that anyone could guess what they would be dumbounded about.

I think we'd all be surprised.

In fact, I think they were so dumbfounded two weeks after they finished haggling over the language in the founding documents that they thought to themselves, "Maybe we should have made that language even more general, because reality has already outrun us".


John: Lol. I just saw the dancing lady yesterday. But you are proving my point. We are now in a polite, appropriate debate. We should be debating the best way to provide health care for the country. If one side puts up the Frosts, or Bill Frist, or Terry Schiavo as Exhibit A, the other side should be able to comment on Exhibit A without being called a troll.

For me, I am in favor of HSA's. They are relatively low cost and they play to human nature. Human nature is to not have to pay anything. HSA's provide a low cost alternative. By allowing you to "roll-over" any contributions not spent, it gives an incentive to not spend all the dough. Free government health care = "oh, I have a headache, I need an MRI." I would wager that if everyone had an HSA, our crises would be over.

As for someone else paying for my plan, no. Just me. Self-employed. Just paid an insane amount of taxes. Part of me wants free health care. But the other part knows that those taxes would eventually just go up to pay for it and beyond. Like to infinity and beyond.

Free government health care = "oh, I have a headache, I need an MRI."

wait... when did they change the definition of "free" healthcare to mean patients get to choose the kind of tests they get ?

farmgirl: Wow. I don't know how to respond. I think you are saying they had a choice but I cannot comment on their choice. The beauty of our country is that we have choices. Some would have us not live by the choices we make. I don't agree.

We really don't know the exact choice the Frosts made but from the outside it looks like they in fact had a choice. It looks they chose wrong.

It reminds me of a trial I heard of where the plaintiff tried cleaning his chimney with a brush attached to copper pipe. He had made the contraption. he appeared at trial missing two limbs looking truly pathetic. The jury, however, judged him by his choice. No liability on the hardware store that sold him the parts.

Here, Graeme and his sister are truly worthy of our sympathy. However, his parents apparently made a choice not unlike climbing on the roof with a copper pipe and hoping you don't hit the power line.


Now, if the Frosts truly had no choice by any reasonable definition, then I would not be opposed to the state helping out. But that is not clear. It appears just the opposite. I think it is entirely appropriate for me to be skeptical given the properties they own, the three cars they drive, etc.

cleek: Just wait! My point is that the incentive is to push for the most care possible. In reality, free health care means you'll have to wait for some insane amoutn of time for needed care a la Great Britain. Right now we have the uninsured going to the ER for colds. The incentive is to get it for free. HSA's turn that around. HSA's combined with an auto-like mandatory provision might just be the ticket.

"Free government health care = 'Oh, I have a headache, I need an MRI'."

Now, that's hilarious!

That would be like me saying, "Oh, I've had this headache for months and blood is streaming from my ears, but my high deductible and the rollover feature of my HSA disincentivize me from seeing the doctor just yet."

I'm emotionally distraught that your logic and rationality fail to describe the real world.

Because if it does describe the real world, could you please convince my headachy mother to avail herself of Medicare's low-cost services and see a doctor more than once every 20 years?

I hope I didn't prove your point again. Because if that happens one more time, I'm going to be incentivized to stop arguing altogether. ;)

John:

o.k., trying . . . real . . . hard . . there, I won't say it. So I throw out a little humor. At least you recognized it as such.

I believe if we weren't bailing out all those that don't have insurance but could actually afford it we would be able to provide more services for the truly needy.

And my point wasn't that if we had free healthcare we would get MRI's for headaches. It's that many if not most people would tend to want more care rather than less making the needed services that much harder to get. Your mom may be a case in point.

As for your other comments, I'm laughing (really am). I think I have reached a logical paradox trying to understand your emotional distress and how that disincentivized a liberal because that is inherently contradictory . . anyway. And I'm taking back any comments that lead you to think that liberals are ONLY emotional. I was trying to say that while there are plently of logical arguments to be had, the liberals (using that term way-too-overly-inclusviely and generally) put up an emotional argument like the Frosts rather than debate the point. That's why you get the "child shield" arguments from the right. You are disproving my point by appealing to logic, you liberal dog [said in pirate talk like "scurvy dog"]!!

My point is that the incentive is to push for the most care possible.

no it isn't.

with my current plan, health care is essentially free (less a $10 co-pay, BFD). why don't i go to the Dr for every little thing? because it eats 2 hours out of my day. because going to the Dr's and sitting in the waiting room with all the really sick people sucks. because i know the Dr is going to tell me "it's probably a virus" or "try icing it" or "stay off it for a week".

and i'm perfectly average and representative in every way.

In reality, free health care means you'll have to wait for some insane amoutn of time for needed care a la Great Britain.

no it doesn't. besides, i already have to wait four to six weeks to get an appointment with the only allergist my insurance plan covers. it's enough to keep me from making appointments at all.

hey wait... knowing i'll have to wait an insane amount of time dis-inclines me from making appointments in the first place. and since i am, as i said before, perfectly representative and average in all ways, longer wait times for appointments for non-urgent matters would tend to decrease the number of appointments people make.

so there.

Right now we have the uninsured going to the ER for colds.

damn them!

HSA's turn that around.

no they don't. if you can't afford monthly payments for insurance, how you can afford those high deductibles when you end up in the emergency room ?

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