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No, McConnell’s Childhood Polio Treatment Was Not Funded By Government

No, McConnell’s Childhood Polio Treatment Was Not Funded By Government

Occupy Democrats’ latest meme is pants on fire fiction

Occupy Democrats is a progressive group who claim they provide “a counterbalance to the Republican Tea Party.”  They are best known for creating “click bait” memes on Facebook that the left eats up. Occupy Democrats keeps busy writing reports on their false, or “mixture” of fact and fiction, claims.

Their latest false claim is getting widespread attention; however, its premise is a complete, and easily-debunked, fantasy.  They declare that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had polio as a child (true) and that all of his medical care was paid for by the government (false).  McConnell’s care was paid for by the March of Dimes, a private, nonprofit charity.

The Occupy Democrats’ false McConnell Facebook meme (which we had to add ourselves since the meme appears to have been removed from their page):

The Washington Post reports:

That meme has been shared hundreds of thousands of times since Occupy Democrats posted it on its Facebook page on Thursday.

. . . .  Similar stories have since been shared on Facebook, mostly by left-wing sites, and have been making the rounds on Twitter. A story about a man who relied on the government to help him recover from a debilitating disability, but is now pushing for a bill that would deeply cut government care for the poor seems to expose hypocrisy and sounds like an irresistible weapon for anyone who opposes the legislation.

But that story is false, historians told The Washington Post.

McConnell was struck with polio at the age of 2 in 1944, a decade before a vaccine was developed. He’d written in his memoir, “The Long Game,” that he received treatment at the polio treatment center that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had founded in Warm Springs, Ga.

The articles falsely claim that McConnell’s health care was paid for by the public, and therefore, by the government.

“The public” in this case, however, means the public’s donations to a private foundation, not taxpayer money funneled through the government.

WaPo continues:

Shortly after the [National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis] was created in 1937, comedian Eddie Cantor spearheaded a fundraising campaign that he called March of Dimes, a pun on the contemporary newsreel, “The March of Time.” Its goal was simple: Use radio and the president’s Birthday Ball to encourage people to donate at least one dime to the cause of fighting polio.

The result was an “avalanche of donations” in the form of 80,000 letters containing dimes and dollars that inundated the White House mail room, according to the March of Dimes website. By Jan. 29, 1938, the eve of Roosevelt’s birthday, Americans had donated a total of 2,680,000 dimes, or $268,000.

“This wasn’t like NPR or a taxpayer funded museum or library,” David Oshinsky, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical narrative “Polio: An American Story,” said in an email. “This was millions of Americans donating a dime or a quarter to a fully private charity.”

. . . . “Rather than relying on a few wealthy donors, it raised small donations from millions of people. No one was too poor to give a dime to help a kid try to walk again,” he said. “McConnell was one of thousands of children with polio who received help free of charge, thanks to the shrewd advertising of the March of Dimes and the goodness of the American people.”

Here are a couple of examples of the false stories Occupy Democrats spread . . . and that progressives believe.

Via Snopes:

Via PunditFact:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Polio might account for McConnell’s odd physical condition, but in leadership of men McConnell is to Donald Trump as Serena Williams is to John McEnroe in tennis.

Liberals lie. It’s what they do.

2nd Ammendment Mother | June 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm

And the only reason government assistance to children and adults with severe handicapping disabilities is in danger of collapsing is the rampant fraudulent disability claims. When anyone attempts to reign in the fraud, severely handicapped children are thrown out as human shields for the hucksters.

Having dealt with this system for my 50 year old sister who has been severely handicapped from just after birth only receives medical payment assistance, she has been forced to appeal cancellation of her services (with no explanation) 3 times in the last five years and every dime must be accounted for; including the money she has been saving for 2 years to purchase dentures where the prescribed medication destroyed her teeth over the years. We ended up with my paying for them and her paying me back a few dollars at a time so her savings don’t exceed the prescribed dollar amount.

In the meantime, they guy down the street is classified 100% disabled and unable to perform any type of work receives medicaid, SSI income, housing vouchers, utility assistance and SNAP – that I know about. He also runs a very lucrative lawn service and does small motor repair. His shop is quite busy and his “ex-wife” “rents” him his house – she lives next door in “her house”…..

I do have to admit – until I started taking care of my sister’s paperwork, I never really understood how hard some folks work to stay on government checks.

What’s Occupy Democrats? I remember Occupy Wall Street, but this seems to be something different. Is this yet another astroturfed front for the Democratic Party? Is this David Brock’s latest effort to copy The_Donald?

I was going to write “inquiring minds want to know,” but the simple truth is, I’ve seen this tired story once too often. I am already bored with them, and I do not care.

“Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.”
The March of Dimes was something our parents and grandparents chose to do together.
Therefore the March of Dimes was the government.

tarheelkate | June 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I remember putting dimes in a March of Dimes folder from my allowance. It was not government; it was neighbors helping neighbors. A child in my first grade class got polio and spent some time in an iron lung.