When it comes to children, the Democrat Party has a major case of schizophrenia. While they've lost no sleep supporting the slaughter of millions of unborn children over the last 34 years, they love the ones who survived Roe v. Wade-and now can bring them votes.
President Bush's recent (and rare) veto of a bloated "children's health care" bill is being subjected to the usual overblown, scathing criticism we've come to expect from the Left. "Heartless" is one of the kinder epithets hurled at the president as a result of his courageous veto. The only question I have is where this courage was on several other issues, but that's a story for another day.
Democrats fondly hope they have found their "wedge issue" for 2008 now that Iraq has taken some undeniable steps in the right direction. According to a recent article, Democrat leaders are practically rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of Bush defending what they see as the indefensible. Typical was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's confrontational attitude looking ahead to a veto override vote: "It's going to be a hard vote for Republicans," she promised.
As with so many political battles in Washington, the Republicans hold the better position but may lose the battle of public opinion. The Democrat spin machine does circles around whatever public relations effort the Republicans muster. Partly as a result, one of those ubiquitous public opinion polls shows support for the bill by a comfortable 60 to 35 percent margin. In other words, the Republicans might as well try to make Bill Clinton unpopular since his favorable numbers are about the same as this survey regardless of what he says or does. And that is a sizeable mountain to climb.
Let's face it, who wants to say they're against providing some extra dollars for the health care needs of otherwise uninsured kids? What kind of Scroogian monster would even think to oppose such a thing?
This is where some beneath the surface investigating and independent thinking need to occur-and unfortunately, most of the voting public has neither the time nor the inclination to do much of either. That's what makes talk-show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh so invaluable-he does so much of the work for you.
In this case, one does not have to be a policy expert to judge whether this bill is a stinker. The additional funding does not only cover those statistically identified as poor, U.S. citizens, it also covers middle-class and even more affluent kids, plus some adults, plus loopholes to cover illegal immigrants. Talk about low-hanging fruit for the PR machine. This should be a no-brainer for any fair-minded person, even with minimal help from Rush.
However, the Republicans (that is, those who still support the president) have historically not done a good job of presenting their position in the common-sense language that the voting public will understand. If they were to do so, they not only might win over some voters, they may get some of their own wavering membership back. When the president says, "Let's take care of the poor first," that is only the beginning of the argument. The blanks need to be filled in to generate the proper sense of outrage as to who would be covered under this new bill and why it's not appropriate for certain classes to be subsidized.
Unfortunately, at this writing the president is becoming a waverer himself, in saying that he doesn't mind more money for the program as long as it's targeted properly. However, in Washington, throwing more money into a program almost always means introducing a higher risk for waste and inappropriate use. The president should stand firm, but he may be buying into the premature lame-duck status the media and other opponents have assigned to him. Caving on the money at this early stage is akin to folding with a good hand, which Bush has often done to his and his party's detriment.
If Republicans are truly as upset about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency as they claim, they should be uniting to do everything in their power to make sure she does not win this battle on what she considers her signature issue-that instead, her and her party are exposed for the hypocrites they are when it comes to "the children." The Republicans-president included-who seem willing to fold rather than fight should carefully consider the consequences. A fold on this issue does not bode well for 2008.