The Right Opinion

Prop-a-palooza: The Use and Abuse of Kiddie Human Shields

By Michelle Malkin · Jan. 16, 2013

The president of the United States will release a binder full of new gun-control executive orders today. Instead of standing alone, bearing full responsibility for the imperial actions he is about to take, President Obama will surround himself with an audience of kids who wrote to him after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. This is the most cynical in Beltway theatrical staging – a feckless attempt to invoke “For the Children” immunity by hiding behind them.

What has happened to the deliberative process in this country? Public debate in Washington has deteriorated into Sesame Street sing-alongs. We are already inundated with logical fallacies: argumentum ad populum (it's popular, therefore it's true); argumentum ad nauseam (if you repeat it often enough, it'll become truth); argumentum ad hominem (sabotage the person, sabotage the truth); and argumentum ad verecundiam (if my favorite authority says it's true, it's true).

To that list we can now add “argumentum ad filium”: If politicians appeal to the children, it's unassailably good and true. The Obama White House has shamelessly employed this kiddie human shield strategy at every turn to blunt substantive criticism and dissent.

During the legislative battle that rammed the federal health care takeover through Capitol Hill and down our throats, President Obama and the Democrats piled up youth props around them like bunker sandbags. Nancy Pelosi wore babies like Wonder Woman bracelets, one on each arm, to deflect troublesome questions about costs and constitutional concerns.

Obamacare stage managers paraded 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Washington state in front of the cameras to make the case for the half-trillion-dollar tax hike plan. The boy's “qualifications”? Owens' mother, Tiffany, had died of pulmonary hypertension at the age of 27. A single mother of three, she lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She received emergency care and treatment throughout her illness, but died in 2007.

As I noted at the time, Washington state already offered a plethora of existing government assistance programs to laid-off and unemployed workers like Marcelas' mom. For some reason, unexplained by the family or its zealous exploiters, she didn't bother to enroll. Moreover, she died nine months after she reportedly lost her health insurance. By the time she lost her coverage through her employer, she was apparently already in dire health straits. It's not clear that additional doctor visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death. Nor did Obamacare do anything to address very real flaws with our employer-sponsored health care system.

Young Marcelas admitted he didn't understand health insurance reform and didn't “think it's anyone's fault” that his mom died. No matter. Big government-by-anecdote doesn't need the anecdotes to be true or the solutions to do anything effective to solve our problems.

The intellectual infantilization of politics and public policy is nothing new, of course. The Clintons engaged in one of the most notorious examples of poster child abuse involving an ailing 7-year-old girl named Jennifer Bush. Her mother, Kathleen, wrote to the White House about the agonizing decision to “choose between purchasing groceries for the week to feed your family or buying needed medications for your chronically ill child.” Her gall bladder, appendix and fragments of her intestines had been removed in a desperate attempt to diagnose her mystery sickness.

Coached by her overbearing mother, Jennifer gave the Clintons a lucky silver dollar “to bring you good luck so everyone can have good insurance.” She dutifully told the press: “I pray every night that I can get better – and that everyone can have insurance.” Hillary trotted the family all over Capitol Hill for photo ops and press conferences on behalf of her health insurance mandate proposals.

Two hundred hospital visits, $2 million in medical bills later and two years after Hillary propped her up, doctors discovered that the only thing wrong with little Jennifer was that her mother had been starving and exploiting her while splurging on trips, motorcycles and home remodeling. Mrs. Bush was sentenced to five years in prison on two counts of aggravated child abuse and welfare fraud.

From health care to gun control, the left has perfected this fallacious art of prop-a-palooza – the well-being of the children and national discourse be damned. Political vultures in Washington refuse to do the one thing that might actually benefit the children they recklessly use and abuse as fodder: Grow up.



Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

I am a Desert Rat because I have lived in NV so long and have gone the whole length of the Grand Canyon twice. So I am also a River Rat but BHO is a ratfink. He is so cowardly to say out of one side of his mouth that he is responsible for the whole tamale and from the other side of his mouth he says, Hey kids, come over here in front of the camera and cover my ass. What a twit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 1:46 AM

rab in jo,mo said:

When I lived in CA, it seemed as though every proposed tax increase was "for the children" - so much so it became a running joke. Now, we seem to have the same foolishness at a national level.

Which leads me to the question - if Odumbo and his minions care so much about "the children", why have "the children" been saddled with an untenable debt? Where is the concern in DC about that?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM

sfj in Alabama replied:

Better question: If odumbo and the lib scumbags care so much about "the children" why do they continue to support (with our tax dollars and their politics) the murder of innicent babies? What a bunch of savages.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA said:

Any help coming for unborn children, Mr. President?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Alex in NJ said:

You said "binders full"...
Heh heh heh...snort snort...that will cost you an election these days...unlike letting your ambassador be murdered.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

OzzWorx in Fullerton, CA said:

The Coward of Benghazi has been hiding behind the skirts of his women (Valerie Jarrett, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Kathleen Sebelius, Janet Napolitano) or his criminals (TurboTax Geithner, Pedophile Jennings, GunRunner Holder). The only time he's stuck his own slimy forked-tongued head up is to do nothing or prevent anything being done (BP oil spill, Libya). The Cowardly Muslim murderer is now hiding behind children. Despicable.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Robert in New Mexico said:

Maybe he could stand on the corpses of the 19 children killed by the ATF and FBI at the Branch Davidian Compund in Waco.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

Maybe his third term election theme could be "Baby on Board".

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:25 AM in sc said:

Great article, Michelle. How many of these kids that he is hiding behind do you think REALLY wrote letters to the big bully about gun control??
I thought his disgusting speeches during his campaign (with the cadre of his dunces of his confederacy surrounding him) were the height of classless, smarmy behavior--now this attempt to sucker the stupid among the American people is just about the lowest he can get. ( Although I think he can get a lot lower and will do so during this next term.).
Congratulations to you and to your team of researchers---you guys do a fabulous job !!!!! Thanks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Kurt.S in Missouri said:

"Children should be seen and not heard".
I would never let my children decide what house I lived in or what car I would drive. Children don't have the intellect to make those decisions and complex national problems are beyond their ken. Give each of the "fellow traveller" and "useful idiot" toddlers a bag of Gummi Bears and send them home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

JAC in Texas said:

And today Odickhead announces his new gun bans with four children literally surrounding him on stage. Talk about Al-Quaeda hiding behind civilians, Odickhead has this down to a science. It's reminiscent of him having so-called medical professionals in white lab coats behind him as he announced ObozoCare. This is more despicable than that, however. Someone mentioned before that the bar to being president is now so low that it is lying on the ground. How correct they were!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Pushpa in BWTR, NJ said:

I feel so bad for the 7 year old Helen who was starved, while her mother Kathleen was wasting welfare money on her own personal luxuries. And taxpayers paid 2 million dollars to find this out!!! What a story. This was in Clinton's time. Now under Obama it gets worse. I read somewhere recently that many welfare reciepents swipe their welfare and food assistance cards in bars, casinos, restaurants and even Go-Go bars!!! What a waste of taxpayers money. Is anyone checking on these people?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Jim in Western NC said:

Whenever I hear the progressive-collectivists say it's "for the children" I instinctively know it will be a convoluted scheme requiring the taxpayer's dime, a little less freedom, and a host of government parasites to implement it. No thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

Wanna bet the letters were written in school with the supervision of their liberal teachers? Obama solicits the letters as a prop for the advancement of his agenda and the teacher's unions come through! Next: a dozen children behind Obama urging the elimination of the debt ceiling and a dozen infants proclaiming their support for government funded abortion. Cynical? You bet!

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Sue in Chicago, IL replied:

I was thinking the same thing. That is, the letters might be legit; it's just that the teachers had the letter writing campaign as a class project.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:44 AM

frankaboutit in arcadia said:

k. simmoms in st. say you're not having any kid tell you where to live and what to drive. Have you seen who's voting ? 18 - 19 - 20 year olds, the vast majority of who don't own homes, but vote on propositions affecting property taxes and services to property owners. The majority of who didn't buy their own cars (if they have them), but whose parents purchased their cars for them and pay for their school loans. The majority of who vote for legalization of drugs without any concern, or consideration for the financial burden this places on our medical facilities, law enforcement, the jails, day-to-day business and so on and so forth. Fact of the matter is kids are driving machines and processes today that they have NO BUSINESS being a part of. The vast majority of them are wet behind the ears; have no concept of the negative impact they have on the BIG picture; and (if they attend college) are in the number one institution for brainwashing; converting to communism, socialism, marxism and all the destructive "isms" that are not healthy for this country. Of course the flip-side of this is the 18-19-20 year olds who dropped out of high school and vote. They can safely claim stupidity.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM