In an editorial last Sunday the New York Times put forth a lengthy list of GOP lies being told over the S-Chip legislation in an Op-Ed titled "Misleading Spin on Children's Health." The term "misleading spin" has a much more genteel sound to it than "White House lies" but the meaning is the same, as you'll see from their list.
As I stated in my post last night featuring a television ad produced by Americans for Change that is being rolled out as part of a $1 million ad campaign, Bush's veto has nothing to do with the legislation itself and everything to do with the need for Republicans in Washington to polish their image as a fiscally conservative party going into the upcoming elections.
The fact that Bush chose this particular legislation on which to wield his veto pen, only the fourth veto in his term so far, is baffling to many in his own party, but I think his reasoning is not really all that mysterious. The approval rating for Congress is currently quite low and the passage and signing into law of an improved package of health care insurance for low-income American children might serve to change that. That's bad news for the GOP, which is facing a continuing fund raising crisis at this point, and by "holding the line" here the GOP can also attempt to show their conservative base that they are returning to their roots and their reputation for fiscally conservative governance. After all, it's easy to beat up on poor children, they won't be voting in the 2008 election.
That's right -- after seven years of wild spending and fiscal debauchery the drunken cowboy in the White House is trying to sober up in time for his party's next parole hearing.
The Sunday New York Times:
Trying to justify his ideologically driven veto of a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, President Bush and his staff have fired a barrage of misinformation about this valuable program. Before the House votes on whether to override the veto, all members -- especially those from Mr. Bush's party who say they are concerned about millions of uninsured children -- must look behind the rhetoric.
Ahhh, "misinformation"... It's bullshit, call it what it is. Watch, next we'll have the New York Times couching Bush's lies as namby-pamby "stretching the truth"... lol!
Mr. Bush stretched the truth considerably when he told an audience in Lancaster, Pa., that he has long been a strong supporter of the S-chip program. "I supported it as governor, and I support it as president of the United States," he said.
All right, drunks lie all the time... no surprise there and this is an important election ahead; a real turning point in American politics. Bush's actions should be of no surprise here since desperate times call for -- desperate people.
Here's the facts about Bush's bullshit statements that he supported this program while governor of Texas.
As governor of Texas, Mr. Bush fought -- unsuccessfully -- to restrict the state's program to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, well below the 200 percent allowed by federal law. As president, he is again trying to shrink the program for the entire country. His proposed five-year budget does not provide enough to continue enrollments at current levels, let alone cover millions of the uninsured.
So Bush tells the American voters that he supports the program. Bullshit. A lie, just another Republican flat out lie. He's on the record as Governor of Texas opposing the program vehemently, and he lost that fight in his own fiscally conservative home state of Texas.
And a bipartisan group comprised of 43 of our nation's 50 governors went on the record last July signing a letter of support urging Congress to pass this legislation.
Mr. Bush's primary rationales for his veto tend to disintegrate when examined closely. He contends that he wants to refocus the program on the poor -- those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. Yet the compromise bill approved by both houses would primarily benefit poorer children. It includes various prods and incentives to get states to enroll many more children who are below 200 percent of the poverty level, and projections suggest that a huge majority of children who would be enrolled in the expansion would come from this low-income group.
A huge majority of children would come from this low-income group.
Perhaps the most eye-catching argument from the president is that the vetoed bill would have allowed S-chip to cover children in families earning $83,000 a year. That claim hangs on the extremely flimsy thread that New York -- where insurance and living costs are higher than in many other parts of the country -- has proposed extending the eligibility level to 400 percent of poverty, or $82,600 for a family of four. As far as most states are concerned, the bill would discourage covering such children, by allowing the enhanced S-chip match only up to 300 percent of the poverty level.
But remember, a huge majority of children would come from this low-income group of below 200 percent of the poverty level, and 43 out of 50 -- a whopping 86 percent -- of America's governors believe that the program as proposed is right for America.
Health costs are through the roof everywhere, and yet Republicans are in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy -- who can afford to pay full-boat for the most expensive health insurance available for their children.
The bill primarily reflects a Senate version that was drafted with great care by key members of both parties. It embodies principles that would normally appeal to many conservatives.
Principles? It's an election year, pal. The Republicans in Washington put their principles outside with the cat in an election year.
The New York Times editorial concludes:
S-chip is not an entitlement program like Medicare or Medicaid. Instead, it provides block grants to the states, which can curtail enrollment if funds run out. Nor is S-chip permanent. It will need to be reauthorized again in five years, at which time some future Congress and president will be free to have another slugfest. The White House declined overtures to join in consultations while the bill was being framed, according to Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican sponsor. Like so many other things that Mr. Bush has gotten disastrously wrong, he'd already made up his mind and had no interest in listening to others' arguments.
Now it is up to Congress to show Mr. Bush that such blind partisanship will not be rewarded. For the sake of America's children, lawmakers must override the veto.
In my view, the drunken cowboy stumbled through the campfire, kicking hot embers everywhere, and has now caught the White House drapes on fire with this veto. Nothing could have been a more stupid, bumbling move but this is George Bush, the king of stupid, and it should come as no surprise.
The questions is 'what do we do about it?" and overriding the veto is the overriding answer. It's time to take a stand against "stupid" and not wait another year until these clowns are finally out of office.
The GOP's parole hearing isn't until November, 2008 -- but we need to act now to override this veto. It's bipartisan legislation supported by a bipartisan 86 percent of the nation's governors, and the White House cowboy is center stage serenading the moon with his lies.
Contact your representatives and support the groups who are pushing for the veto override.
We've followed the wayward cowboy down the wrong trail for far too long. It's time to redirect the priorities of our country, and providing health care insurance for the low-income children in our country is damned good place to start.
It's simply A Question of Priorities.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!