Bethany is the latest child being profiled by Democrats arguing for an override of President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill.
Malkin, the conservative blogger, made waves last week when she investigated the finances of Graeme Frost's family after 12-year-old Graeme, an SCHIP recipient, gave the Democratic radio address. While conservative bloggers mounted a campaign to dig around in the Frost family's life and question the policies that led the family to subsidized health care, liberals pushed back.
This week, Democrats have brought forth the Wilkerson family, whose two-year old daughter Bethany is covered by SCHIP and had life-saving heart surgery when she was an infant. On Monday the Wilkerson family held a conference call, sponsored by USAction, a liberal grassroots advocacy group lobbying in favor of the $35 billion SCHIP expansion.
For the record, the Bo and Dara Wilkerson say they make $34,000 in combined income from restaurant jobs in St. Petersburg, Fla. They rent their house and the couple owns one car, which Bo calls "a junker." Malkin and other bloggers have revealed over the past week that the Frost family owned two properties, as well as a couple cars, and had a $45,000 income. The accusation against Democrats, and by extension the Frost family, is that they are too middle class to be granted any subsidized health insurance for their children.
The Wilkersons said they are fully aware of the possibility that their finances and personal lives may be investigated by opponents of the SCHIP bill.
"We rent a house, we have one car that is a junker. Let them dig away," Bo Wilkerson said. "I have $67 in my checking account. Does that answer your question?"
The Wilkersons will participate in an SCHIP rally in Washington on Tuesday, plan to lobby several House offices on Wednesday, and will be in the House chamber for the override vote on Thursday. They also plan to appear with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a press conference.
All of this effort, including using children on SCHIP to promote the expansion of the program, seems unlikely to change any votes in the House, where Democrats are still well short of an override. Stay tuned to see if bloggers pick up on the Wilkerson family story.