To say that George W. Bush spends money like a drunken sailor is to insult every gin-soaked patron of every dockside dive in every dubious port of call. If Bush gets his way, the cost of his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon reach a mind-blowing $600 billion. Despite turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit, the man still hasn't met a tax cut he doesn't like. And when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, Bush might as well have signed their pork-stuffed spending bills with a one-word rubber stamp: "Whatever."
So for Bush to get religion on fiscal responsibility at this late date is, well, a joke. And for him to make his stand on a measure that would have provided health insurance to needy children is a punch line that hasn't left many Republicans laughing.
Hasn't left many voters laughing either. Certainly not any parents or children.
Bush's veto Wednesday of a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program was infuriatingly bad policy. An estimated 9 million children in this country are not covered by health insurance -- a circumstance that should shock the consciences of every American. Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft an expansion of an existing state-run program that would have provided coverage for about 4 million children who currently don't have it.
It was one of those art-of-the-possible compromises designed to advance the ball toward what has become a national goal. Health care is arguably the biggest domestic issue in the presidential contest and, while the candidates and the country may be all over the map in terms of comprehensive solutions, there's a pretty broad consensus that some way has to be found to ensure that children, at least, are covered.
Make that an extremely broad consensus: According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 72 percent of Americans supported the bill Bush vetoed.
Head stuck firmly where no information or sunlight will reach it- that's Teflon W! (Along with Rep. Jim Saxton, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and Rep. Scott Garrett- Our Fair State's own who voted against the bill.)