Stanley Thornton, Jr, is a 30-year old man who lives like a baby. He sucks on a pacifier. He wears a diaper. He sleeps in a crib. Watch the video if you don't believe me. But Stanley also collects Social Security disability insurance, and that's where Republicans draw the line.
In a letter from Sen. Tom Coburn to Inspector General Patrick P. O'Caroll Jr., the senator points out that since Stanley can determine appropriate behavior in public, drive himself around, start a website for other adult babies, and "custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult," he should not qualify for disability insurance.
Whether Stanley is actually disabled is a question for doctors and judges to decide. But as long as we're talking about denying disability insurance to an adult baby, let's talk about fixing disability insurance for everybody else.
That's right folks, we're using an 350-lb adult baby to start a conversation about disability insurance reform. (We'll have more serious news pegs, but none more felicitous than a conservative senator taking on a 30-year old in diapers.) Call it the Palin Peg. When Sarah Palin referred to the independent Medicare panel as a "death panel," it was a wild exaggeration that manged to inspire a real debate about health care. From Atul Gawande's award-winning New Yorker story about the cost of dying, to Evan Thomas' Newsweek cover story "The Case for Killing Granny," a formerly grim and dreary topic was suddenly rendered popular and approachable thanks to Palin's peg.