If the broad sweep of President Obama's gun control proposals wasn't enough, conservatives on Wednesday found another reason for their blood vessel-bursting apoplexy. The president was joined at the White House by several children who had written letters to him pleading for action on gun violence, some of which were released to the press. In response, the usual suspects from the foaming-at-the-mouth right called Obama's stagecraft "utterly shameless" and the "use and abuse of kiddie human shields." But while the likes of the National Review and Michelle Malkin spewed their venom as President Obama tried to save actual children in America, they seemed to have had no problem when President Bush deployed his "snowflake babies" to make the case against stem cell research.
In 2006, President Bush issued his first veto to block stem cell research legislation that had easily passed the Republican-controlled Senate and House. In front of several families and their "snowflake" children (so named because they "were born from "adopted" frozen embryos that had been left unused at fertility clinics), Bush explained why the other 400,000 embryos would have to stay on ice. As CNN recounted:
"These boys and girls are not spare parts," he said of the children in the audience. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research.Of course, when the Democrat Barack Obama tries to prevent real children from becoming targets for mentally ill gunmen armed with assault weapons, the conservative commentariat had a different reaction.
Appearing on Fox News, Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman insisted impeachment must be on the table, adding, "He's even using children, reminds me of Saddam Hussein." While the National Review complained that "the White House appears not to have released a single letter to the AP in opposition to President Obama's gun proposal." Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin protested:
"This is the most cynical in Beltway theatrical staging -- a feckless attempt to invoke 'For the Children' immunity by hiding behind them."Which is why Malkin specializes in taking them down, if only in those cases when the child in question is part of an effort to promote a progressive cause. Just ask Graeme Frost and his family.
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When the 12-year-old became the poster child for Democratic calls to overturn President Bush's veto of the expanded State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Malkin was among the putting his family's information on line. As ABC News reported at the time:
Some bloggers have made repeated phone calls to the home of 12-year-old Graeme Frost, demanding information about his family's private life. On Monday, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused GOP leadership aides of "pushing falsehood" in an effort to distract from the political battle over S-CHIP.Now, Democrats are once again trying to save the lives of actual living, breathing American children. And that, the right-wing blogosphere insists, is "utterly shameless."
"This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, D-Nev. "Instead of debating the merits of providing health care to children, some in GOP leadership and their right-wing friends would rather attack a 12-year-old boy and his sister who were in a horrific car accident."