Politics & Policy


Manipulated-child syndrome.

For months now, National Review Online has been arguing against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It’s bad policy for a myriad of reasons — it doesn’t prioritize truly poor children; “children’s insurance” actually covers adults; you can make $80,000 dollars a year in some cases and still qualify for it; it will incentivize people to get off of employer insurance rolls and have taxpayers foot the bill; it’s funding mechanism — a cigarette tax — is effectively a tax on the poor; the way the proposed program’s “funding cliff” is set up will encourage expansion of the program in five years time; it’s a step in the direction of socialized medicine; President Bush’s proposal to provide tax credits for people that purchase their own insurance will encourage market competition and is a better proposal… and so on.

However, the Graeme Frost affair has pushed all of these arguments off the table. In the face of sensible policy arguments, the Democratic response was much gnashing of teeth and wailing about how opponents of SCHIP don’t care about some kid name Graeme Frost who might possibly benefit from the program’s expansion. As per one of the major policy critiques of SCHIP, several people have raised questions about the Frost family’s relative need for taxpayer funded insurance, but for Democrats the only important SCHIP question is WHY DO YOU HATE CHILDREN SO MUCH?!

We here at NRO are in fact deeply concerned about the world our children will live in. But of all the arguments we have presented against SCHIP, we’re most deeply troubled by the fact SCHIP does nothing to protect kids, who like Graeme Frost, suffer from MCS — Manipulated Child Syndrome. Perhaps the gravest public threat endangering our youth, MCS occurs whenever insubstantial claims of child endangerment are substituted for real political argument.

Though MCS has gone largely untreated, the signs are readily visible. Every time you turn on the TV do you see sullen children, half-lit against austere backdrops, opining about the dangers of global warming, despite the fact they’re barely potty trained, let alone able to grasp the intricate dynamics of climate science?

We know — you’re probably asking yourself why you didn’t recognize the signs sooner. Each of these children pictured above are suffering the ravages of MCS. Somewhere right now, one out of every 10,000 children is auditioning for a public service announcement. This can be a harrowing experience. One former casting agent who wished to remain anonymous told NRO of the horrors. “I saw a parent standing off-camera threatening to tear the stuffing out of Mr. Jangles if their little moppet didn’t start crying and telling the camera about an obviously childish and manufactured fear of ‘not being able to see, like, a blue sky or green grass,’” the casting agent said. “It was clearly sickening to the child. I know it made me ill just watching it.”

MCS unfortunately is hereditary in this regard. Ironically, many of the children protesting the existence of global warming today would not be doing so if they were not the product of parents who were themselves once young children suffering from MCS and enlisted in efforts to stop clean, low-carbon-footprint nuclear power.

If left untreated, MCS only gets worse over time. By the time children suffering from MCS reach adolescence, the disease is much harder to combat. The effects are, sadly, plainly evident in this Greenpeace ad.

In younger children, treatment can be simple. Allowing them to play and have fun as they receive a competent education may be all that is needed for them to form their own political opinions at a more age-appropriate time. However, more draconian measures are needed for adolescents and teenagers suffering from MCS. The child in the Greenpeace ad who’s been brainwashed into thinking of adults as the enemy of the environment? Tragically, to the only cure for such an advanced case of this terrible affliction may be four years of military school.

The causes of MCS are even institutional. Don’t let their name fool you — the Children’s Defense Fund has been a veritable breeding ground for MCS since it came into existence. In perhaps the most severe case of MCS seen in recent years, the Fund, led by Hillary Clinton BFF Marian Wright Edelman, forced nine-year-old MCS sufferer Susie Flynn to do the unthinkable: Susie Flynn ran for president of the United States on a narrow platform of children’s health insurance — despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly forbids candidates under the age of 35 for the office of the president.

Sadly, Susie’s untreated MCS proved to be a fate worse than death as the pressures of the campaign trail mounted. Already despondent over her poor showing in the Iowa straw poll, Susie threw herself out the window of her speeding campaign bus just outside Nashua, New Hampshire, immediately after her campaign manager informed her that she couldn’t have another juice box until her interview with the Associated Press was finished.

Unfortunately, the cautionary tale of Susie Flynn didn’t stop the Service Employees International Union from frogmarching children into a recent photo-op criticizing the presidential SCHIP veto. The lesson was also lost on the parents of Graeme Frost. They could have personally argued the SCHIP debate on the merits as adult parents and voters affected by the policy. Instead, they chose to saddle their already unhealthy children with MCS, by having them publicly buttress Nancy Pelosi’s argument.

At NRO, we’re doing our best to stop MCS. While we’re still working on a cure, a preventative approach has thus far proven successful. Understanding the real effects of policy has been shown to have a nearly 100-percent success rate in preventing voters from reacting to cynically calculated appeals about the welfare of children, thus discouraging more parents from exposing their children to MCS.

Months before Graeme Frost became Patient Zero in the most recent MCS outbreak, NRO had effectively immunized its readership by discussing in great depth the pitfalls of SCHIP. This was not dumbed down; it was strong medicine delivered in a way that only could be understood by adults. For only adults are capable of taking the necessary precautions to protect future generations from being fiscally bled to death by their government.

Unfortunately, we need your help to prevent further cases of MCS. In addition to getting the daily inoculations against bad policy at nationalreview.com, a year’s supply of a biweeky dose against MCS is only $29.50. Subscribe to National Review — and do it for the children.

— Mark Hemingway is a National Review Online staff reporter.


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