Bush’s Ugly Veto (UPDATE)

Ah… Remember the good old days when Bush supported aggressively pursuing health care coverage for underpriveleged children?

I do.

Whatever happened to that?

The program in question, SCHIP, is one of those programs one would think is next to impossible to oppose. It provides health insurance for those children who live in families that cannot afford or are not made available healthcare, but at the same time are not quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. It’s the kind of initiative that you would think no one could say no to.

But when congress passed with wide bipartisan support a $35 billion dollar expansion that would seek to cover as much as four million more children, Bush was quick to step up to the plate and proudly prove yet again he has no clue either about the policy being offered, or about the will of the American people who are supportive of the measure by a vast margin.

The veto threat stems from a one-two punch of silly excuses. The first being that it costs too much. By the time we finally manage to extricate ourselves from Iraq, the total loss of treasure alone will reach into the trillions. Compared to this, $35 billion is mere chump change. But even funnier is the fact that unlike most Republican proposals which simply go off the assumption that money grows on trees, or in the case of Iraq that by attributing the money directly to the national debt the problem fixes itself, this expansion comes with a means to pay for it. A considerable $.65 tax on tobacco products would generate a considerable amount of revenue to pay for the program expansion, while at the same time having a net positive effect on the nation’s smoking habit. Win-win (unless you are in the tobacco industry).

The other prong in Bush’s reasoning, oddly enough, has absolutely nothing to do with the proposal at all. Bush is claiming that the expansion would make SCHIP available to families that make as much as $80,000 a year. But this isn’t based on the proposal, but instead by a failed appeal by New York to raise the limit up to the $80K mark, and has already been rejected.

With the two primary reasons for Bush’s ugly veto threat ruled widely erroneous, one can only look to two other reasons. The first is a third ugly stepsister reason that’s been offered that this is a step in the wrong direction on the path down social medicine, in other words, he’s choosing insurance companies over the fate of your children. The other is that maybe tobacco is the new oil?

Whatever the case, it is clear that Bush understands how unpopular his move is considering that he will sign the veto quietly and without ceremony (Note the look on the reporter’s face after Dana talks about Bush making a trip to Lancaster to talk about the economy. Priceless. You can almost see the thought bubble saying, “Are you effing serious?”).

But ask Bush to tell kids to their face that he plans on vetoing a proposal to cover millions more children under the SCHIP program, and you’ll find he just doesn’t seem to have the stomach for it. When hordes of children pulling little red wagons and hauling mail bags full of petitions to sign the proposal into law came knocking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they were turned away. Not to be stopped, they did the natural thing, and marched to congress.

Congress, where the number of votes to overturn a veto already exist, and where the supermajority in the House is within spitting distance.

In earlier years, before he engaged on his mission to run America into the dirt, Bush was once upon a time described as a straight shooter, and a man of integrity. He prides himself on being principled, and sticking to his values. But I have a question.

How principled can you be when you won’t even look the people you’re screwing over in the eye when you do it?

UPDATE: At 10 am this morning, Bush vetoed the bill.  Now the real fight begins!

13 Responses to “Bush’s Ugly Veto (UPDATE)”

  1. Laura says:

    He prefers helping only one person at a time like Terri Schiavo. And don’t you forget the “snowflake babies”! He can only help so much; the uninsured are so greedy.

  2. Laura says:

    Fine. While they sort all this out, I hope none of the little buggers gets into medical trouble or avoids going to the ER where the wait keeps a parent from work for an entire day. but what the hell. Treat people like something on the bottom of your shoe, as long as the process is correct. Sactimonious whatever, this is a frightening real-life problem for a lot of people. If only they were the important people we recognize from the tabloids; if only we were thinking clearly. Where’s MatttB; I some verbal herbs and spices here….

  3. I’m kinda hoping that that wasn’t directed at me!

    So here’s some not good news, but not entirely bad. Both congress and the White House have already stipulated that they will fund the program at its current levels until November which will at least give Congress enough time to put together an override vote.

    In the Senate, I would spend just enough time to make sure everyone who voted for the bill will also vote for the veto, and you got a winner there. IN the House, you got somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty voters. I think it’s doable. That’s only fifteen districts you need to target and make it clear to the offending congressman that should he fail to override the veto, he will most likely not be serving another term. I would personally target freshmen Reps and those Reps who are looking to face a strong Dem opponent in the upcoming election.

    My congresswoman, Thelma Drake, is having a little get together this weekend. I plan on making SCHIP a key part of the converstaino (that is if I don’t go to a funeral, which is very likely to happen)

  4. I also meant to say that I think it’s doable. I think it’s VERY doable.

    Also, and this is the idealist in me, but I’m also hoping that once Republicans slap Bush in the face on this and realize the earth won’t open up and swallow them whole, they’ll be a little less standoffish on other measures like Iraq. Aside from helping disadvantaged kids, this may help Republicans learn that doing what the people want them to do may actually be a good thing.

  5. Laura says:

    OK. No, it was directed at Health Care BS links. (Sorry, regarding your personal note there.)

  6. Eh. It’s alright, it was actually someone I never met before. I just know it was my wife’s coworker and she passed away due to cancer. I don’t deal well with funerals, and am actually hoping not to go. Particularly, I don’t deal well with funerals for people I never knew because I feel bad for not feeling the level of grief of those who are so much closer to the deceased. I feel like I’m barging in or something, you know?

  7. Laura says:

    Yep. But families like to see a big crowd in attendance, so if for no other reason, I go to these things to add to the crowd. I know that sounds weird, but it means a lot to the family. Funerals and weddings; lots of people are always good. I’m not really helping your argument here, am I?

  8. No, especially after I just did a quick look up and found out that Drake voted AGAINST this.

    I need to make a rule for this in my rules of politics.

    Never invite a Liberal Blogger over for tea and crumpets. It will get ugly.

    Damn I’m pumped to go to this thing. “Yes, Congresswoman. Could you explain why you voted against the SCHIP renewal bill which would have provided health care for up to four million children currently doing with out? kthxbai!”

    At this point, Thelma Drake better be hoping I go to that funeral and that it coincides with her little get together.

  9. Back on funerals, they also freak me out. I don’t do so good in Hospitals either. My mom works in a home for the elderly. When we fly home to visit, I have to go to her work at least once, and I always feel very tense when I go.

    I gotta thing, leave me alone.

  10. Mick Arran says:

    The very first “reason” Bush gave for his veto was, and he actually said this, it would hurt the profits of insurance companies by taking kids out of the private sector and putting them in the public program. That was pretty bald and he never said it again that I know of, but that was the first rationale that came out of his mouth – and, I think, the most honest.

  11. You know I tried to find clips of him justifying his veto, and I couldn’t find one on youtube, or even on crooks and liars. Do you gotta link or a vid? I really want to post it if we can dig it up.

  12. eRobin says:

    I’m helping to organize response rallies across PA. We’re having three: Erie, Bethlehem and Bryn Mawr (outside Philly). If you want to get to a rally near you, go here: http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=97

    We’ll be tying in the message that we’re wasting 10 billion dollars a month killing people in Iraq and that as long as that continues, we cannot be the strong and just America that we expect to be.

  13. matttbastard says:

    elle, phd notes that David Vitter (yes, that David Vitter) supported the veto, despite representing one of the poorest states in the Republic.

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