Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You're next, Bethany!

Supporters of SCHIP expansion – translation: the grassroots activists who want Congress to override President Bush's veto of the popular, bipartisan State Children's Health Insurance Program bill – are trying once again to put a human face on the issue. They are spotlighting a modest-income Florida couple whose 2-year-old daughter, Bethany Wilkerson, was able to get life-saving heart surgery in 2005, thanks to the SCHIP program.

But, considering how the conservative media/blogosphere assailed the first publicized youngster – 12-year-old Graeme Frost, who received SCHIP-financed hospital care after a serious car accident, and whose parents were promptly slimed by false innuendo about their personal finances – we can only assume that Bo and Dara Wilkerson are psychologically prepared for what might happen next. Perhaps it will be something like this…

TUCKER CARLSON: “Good evening, and welcome to this Fox News emergency special, 'The Wilkersons: Threat or Menace?' I am joined here in the studio by my guests, Bill Kristol – hi, Bill, you look happy, glad the war is going so well – and best-selling author Ann Coulter. Ann, I must say, that dress is good TV. You look absolutely fetching tonight. Where’s the party?”

COULTER: “You mean the Socialist party? I’d be interested in knowing why these Wilkersons are behaving like Socialists. And as for that name - 'Wilkerson’ - doesn't that sound Jewish to you?”

KRISTOL (beaming): “Not necessarily. And, Ann, please remember that I’m Jewish.”

COULTER: “Well, Bill, I’ve always said that you need to be perfected. Would you like to start the Christianization process? Come to church with me?”

(Laughter, crosstalk)

KRISTOL: “Frankly, Ann, I think it’s the Wilkersons who need to get religion about our priorities in this country. First, let me say that this is a great time in America to be a conservative, to stand up for smaller government, to advocate for a muscular America abroad, and surely, as Americans, the Wilkersons should agree with that. The president decided to veto this bill, which, if enacted, would waste billions that could be better spent to aid our fighting men and women in Iraq, as well as our freedom workers at Blackwater. So what the Wilkersons are doing is irresponsible. The key question to consider is, why is their toddler against the troops?”

COULTER: “And when you consider who these Wilkersons really are – it’s a disgrace. I’ve been scanning the blogs, and there are many commenters who say they know this couple, and did you know that the Wilkersons pre-enrolled sweet little Bethany in a posh preschool program, and that they have a chauffer-driven limousine and a vacation home in the Cayman Islands?”

CARLSON: “Really, let’s be honest, it is truly a disgrace that these people have decided to exploit their own child for partisan political propaganda, and that certainly doesn’t speak well of their personal family values, or their skills as parents. I also suspect that a lot of people in St. Petersburg vote Democratic. But with respect to the personal information you just mentioned, that’s amazing! Where did you hear that…”

COULTER: “It’s just out there, for anyone to hear about.”

CARLSON: “…Because I read a quote yesterday from Mr. Wilkerson - Bo Wilkerson is his name - saying that the family income is only around $34,000, and that he has only $67 in his bank account.”

COULTER: “Well, the rest of the money could be in his Cayman Islands account, couldn’t it?”

KRISTOL (beaming): “Conceivably, Ann. But I’d like to get back to this issue of patriotism, and whether the Wilkersons think it is a disgrace that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize. I understand, from news reports, that Bo Wilkerson claims to have only one car, and he refers to that car as a ‘junker.’ First, we don’t know if that’s true, he could have stashed his Audi somewhere so that his daughter could qualify for her socialist heart operation. But if it is true, let’s remember that junkers are not fuel-efficient. Which means they contribute to global warming. It is Bo Wilkerson’s right to pollute if he chooses to. And if he continues to remain silent about Al Gore, if he refuses to speak out and condemn Gore for meddling with the rights of junker drivers, I think that tells us a lot about Bo Wilkerson.”

COULTER: “And I’d like to get back to this name thing. What kind of name is ‘Bo,’ anyway?”


CARLSON: “You know, there’s a website – and this is true – which says that ‘Bo’ is a popular Scandinavian nickname for both boys and girls.”

COULTER: “Well, that figures, doesn’t it? The Scandinavian countries have long been a hotbed for socialist, welfare-state thinking. Sweden, for instance. That tells us all we need to know.”

KRISTOL: “Not just Sweden, either. Norway is a Scandinavian country. The Nobel Prizes are awarded in Norway. Do the Wilkersons believe that George W. Bush rightfully deserved to win the peace prize this year, for his liberation of Iraq? More importantly, does Bethany believe that?”

COULTER: “Is Bethany walking yet? Or still crawling? And what does that say about her parents? I also notice, in the YouTube ad, that Bethany is shown on a beach. So why is the family beach house conveniently out of camera range?”

CARLSON: “And did you notice that Bethany had her heart operation in a Florida hospital in 2005 – the same year that Terri Schiavo was allowed to die in another Florida hospital? I’d like to know, do the Wilkersons believe that Terri had the same right as Bethany to live a full and healthy life? But we’re out of time. Bill, take us to commercial break.”

KRISTOL (Beaming): “Join us tomorrow night, for a special investigation of the Wilkersons’ political beliefs. Have they put their daughter’s interests ahead of winning the war on terror? Thank you for joining us.”