At a press conference today, President Bush got a little defensive when asked about his veto of the SCHIP bill, claiming that the veto was something he employed to ensure that he was still relevant.  Pressed even further about whether he was still relevant, Bush replied, “I’ve never felt more engaged and more capable of getting the American people to realize there’s a lot of unfinished business.”

Thank you, Mr. President.  It was so nice of you to veto SCHIP in order to bolster your flagging ego.

The hilarious thing about all of this is we didn’t need the president to veto health care for lower income children to be reminded of his relevance.  Of course he’s still relevant, that’s the problem.  You don’t pull a 24% approval rating because people think you’ve become irrelevant, you pull a 24% approval rating because you are relevant and people would really like for that to stop.

With a little over a year left in his tenure as President, the greatest thing this man can do is stop being relevant, but instead he takes every opportunity to remind us that he’s still in office, and unfortunately, still matters.

A great example came earlier today when we learned that of all the people Bush could have tapped to head up Family Planning, he chose Susan Orr.  Yes, Susan Orr comes to us from the Family Research Council, a far right socially conservative organization that has a nicely theocratic mission statement:

And you can expect that Orr will most likely impress her family values upon Family Planning.  In fact, this is the same woman who expressed the opinion that contraceptives were part of the “culture of death.”

Feministe really has the goods this woman.  Orr may not be a champion of women’s rights, per se, but is definitely a champion of staying married, as evidenced by her paper, “Real Women Stay Married.”

Now, I’ve been married ten years, and my wife and I have had some rocky times, but we stuck it out.  Still, I think it is a little premature to take the stance that all marriages should be indefinite, particularly in cases where the relationship is either unhealthy or even dangerous.  Nor should the head of family planning have a biased opinion in this matter as it could result in the differentiation of the quality of care between women who are married and women who are single.

This is, of course, sidestepping the sheer offensiveness of the piece that more than implies that you have to be a wife in order to be a real woman.  I’m not even a woman and I take offense to that.

A few more things to take into consideration courtesy Feministe:

She also toes the “pro-life” line when it comes to born children — that is, she doesn’t so much care about them.

Like domestic violence programs, child protection procedures blur the distinction between therapy and law enforcement, allowing social workers to exercise police functions. “Although spoken of in terms of social services,” writes Susan Orr, “the child-protection function of child welfare is essentially a police action.” Orr calls child protection “the most intrusive arm of social services.”

She also promotes limiting definitions of abuse and neglect. And did I mention that she was the Associate Commissioner for the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services when she was trying to limit the power to respond to child abuse?

Not to mention that birth control actually lowers the abortion rate and outlawing abortion kills women. So her anti-contraception stance isn’t particularly “pro-life.”

Not that this should be particularly shocking to anyone who has been paying attention.  No, this is really just more of Bush putting the fox in charge of the henhouse; like trying to appoint Richard Stickler as the mine safety czar, or Paul DeCamp as the head of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, or Michael Baroody as head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or… well… you get the point.

The fact is, the last thing we needed was for a veto to remind us that the president is still there and mucking things up on a regular basis.  No, for that we typically just need to actually spend five minutes reading a newspaper.  The problem of relevance in relation to the president right now is that he has any at all.

One Response to “Relevance”

  1. xranger says:

    Sigh…if only GW could enunicate his position:

    SCHIP is a valuable program, designed, with bipartisan support, to provide financial aid to those poor working parents who had been purged off of the welfare roles. It is a good program, and is designed as the classic hand up, not hand out.

    The SCHIP bill that W vetoed was expanding the program’s guidelines, so that parents in the middle class had access to it. This is clearly against the program’s intent.

    Pretty good political ploy by the Dems to A. Creep us towards socialized medicine and B. Castigate the Reps as hating children.

    If only W could think on his feet and spell it out.



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