Children, and their many uses as political props, are suddenly at the heart of two Connecticut campaigns. First, the Murphy-Johnson race:
An angry Nancy Johnson demanded Wednesday that her Democratic opponent pull a television ad accusing the Republican congresswoman of ignoring a constituent's pleas to help her obtain health insurance coverage for her infant's reconstructive facial surgery.
"I contacted Nancy Johnson's office repeatedly," McCall-Goldie says in the ad, as a series of dates scroll across the screen. "She never called back. But I went to state Sen. Chris Murphy and within six months Chris passed a law mandating insurance coverage for reconstructive facial surgery."
Johnson called the ad "dishonest to the core."
She said McCall-Goldie contacted her in 2005 by e-mail, two years after the state law passed. In the e-mail, the mother sought the congresswoman's support of a similar federal law that requires insurers to cover ongoing medical procedures needed by patients with craniofacial problems. ("Johnson")
Go read the whole article to see the rest of the sniping.
However, that's not nearly as bad as this:
A group of children, on Democratic gubernatorial candidate John DeStefano's behalf, delivered a handwritten letter to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell Wednesday asking why she hasn't done more to help children without health care.
Minutes before, the children stood behind DeStefano and his running mate, Mary Glassman, at a news conference outside the state Capitol.
DeStefano, citing statistics from the Universal Health Care Foundation, said nearly 400,000 people, including 75,000 children, have no coverage in Connecticut. He blamed Rell's administration for reducing state spending on promoting the HUSKY health care program for children. Outreach funding dropped from $4 million to $850,000, he said. ("News")
I can just imagine a four-year-old boy toddling up to the governor and asking her, in the most adorable little way, about health insurance premiums. Sorry: pwemiums. Right, that's better.
Kids make great props, no doubt about it. They're right up there with the military and the elderly among the things that its very, very hard to be against. After all, when was the last time you heard this?
CANDIDATE A: We must make sure our kids are safe, our elders are well cared for, and that we respect our men and women in uniform.
CANDIDATE B: I disagree completely.
In fact, politicians try so hard to be in favor of keeping kids safe that they will, from time to time, do dumb things like holding Congressional hearings on video games or getting tough on junk food.
Both DeStefano and Murphy, however, are treading dangerously close to the line between favoring childrens' issues and simply using them. It's too bad, because health care for children is a serious issue. Unfortunately, it will be overshadowed by the less-than-subtle tactics of the candidates.
"Johnson demands ad featuring birth defect baby be pulled." Associated Press 11 October, 2006.
"News and Notes from the Campaign Trail." Associated Press 11 October, 2006.