The Democrats hit a new low for themselves when it comes to their responses to President Bush’s radio address when, this week, they used a child to deliver their weekly radio address. Twelve year old Graeme Frost was in a serious auto accident where he suffered severe brain trauma, and due to the CHIP program, he was able to get the medical care that he needed.

“Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I’m 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably haven’t heard of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today. CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn’t eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse. I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger.”

Young Graeme continued, “My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. 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. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.”

Mr. Frost said that he is doing better now. “Now I’m back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don’t talk the same way I used to. And I can’t walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can’t play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I’m just happy to be back with my friends.”

He then urged President Bush to sign the expansion of CHIP. “I don’t know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I’m glad I could see them because of the Children’s Health Program. I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me.”

I am glad that the young man survived such a horrible accident. I am also a staunch supporter of the CHIP program, and I too wish that President Bush wouldn’t play politics with a program that can help so many children. The problem I have is with the shameless exploitation campaign that these Democratic radio responses have become. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I would rather hear an elected Democrat talk about the minimum wage, healthcare, or the CHIP program.

I am fairly certain that the youngster who delivered the radio response did not write it.Republicans have been using this kind of exploitation since the days of Reagan, but that doesn’t make it right. The next time either political party puts out a piece of fluff like this ask yourself, did this really help me learn more about the issue or the presenter’s position on the issue? The Democrats need to realize that cheap tugs on the old heart strings won’t help gather public support for their programs, but an honest discussion of their beliefs just might.

Full text of the Democratic radio response 

Jason Easley is the politics editor at His column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.

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