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

The president of the United States will release a binder full of new gun-control executive orders on Wednesday. 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.

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  • Mary Sue

    You know, I feel like that teacher that said, "Your Dad gets an A. You get an F." How much do you want to bet the parents either put each child up to it, or at the very least heavily encouraged them?

  • Guest

    This may be a complete coincidence, but the reason for the complete ban on handguns in Great Britain was a massacre at a school, by a lone gunman for no apparent reason. The gunman couldn't be questioned as to his motives because he killed himself at the scene.
    The reason for the banning of automatic weapons and large capacity magazines was a massacre in a small town, by a lone gunman who couldn't be questioned because he killed himself at the scene.
    Known as the Dunblaine and Hungerford massacres respectively.
    The gun ownership laws were already much stricter in Great Britain than the U.S.Owners of any of these weapons were required to be a member of a gun club and were vetted and licensed by the police. Strict controls were applied on the use, storage of weapons and ammunition, as well as the amount of ammunition that could be stored.
    At the time of both these massacres gun crime was relatively rare (interesting to note, less legally held weapons and gun crime has risen steadily, although there weren't enough guns in private hands to be a deterrent ), and mass shootings were absolutely unheard of.

  • AdinaK

    One only needs to understand how Islamists use their children as shields/props, then it becomes easy peasy to internalize Barack HUSSEIN Obama's method of "madness".

    Take a peek within, realizing full well why PA terror honcho, Abbas/Abu Mazen commiserated with the Islamist-in-Chief over Sandy Hook –

    A real head scratcher – NOT!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • Bert

      We have long seen how Muslim terrorists attack from behind women and children. Obama is a Muslim who mounts his political attacks from behind American women and children. Unfortunately the Republicans and most Americans and most 'liberal' Jews are morally brain dead. Otherwise they would be exposing Obama's duplicity and making him pay a huge political price for his cynical exploitation.

  • Ghostwriter

    Why are there parents willing to use their kids as props in political events? It's stupid and unnecessary. I wish it would stop.

  • PAthena

    Adam Lanza did not buy the guns he used in the Newport massacre, so all the talk about stricter gun controls in selling guns is pointless.

  • @jfshaughnessy

    Are you getting your milk, Stuart?

  • cxt

    Odd that not a single "child" wrote the president on needing more security in schools. ;)

    I also find it telling that the SAME folks that have no problem what-so-ever with the President using childern as "props" are "outraged"….."outraged I tell you!" that people point out that HIS kids get 24/7 armed personal protection, the school they go to has 10 and is advertisng for an 11th armed security guards and many of the othjer students there also have their own personal armed security.

    Yet he not in favor of the "little people" enjoying the same protection for their children.

  • Adolf Hitler

    I did'nt use the children. Man this obama is a real user!

  • coffre-fort A2P

    Sometimes I wish I could buy guns, to put all of it to the garbage, after destruction.

  • Reinventing Aging

    Access to health care varies across countries, groups and individuals, largely influenced by social and economic conditions as well as the health policies in place. Countries and jurisdictions have different policies and plans in relation to the personal and population-based health care goals within their societies. Thank you.
    Reinventing Aging