On Sunday’s “The Roundtable” portion of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” the remorseless, but always dapper George F. Will dropped this precious nugget of compassionate conservativism in defending President Bush’s promised veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) Bill:
>COKIE ROBERTS (ABC NEWS): That’s right. Look, I think this is a really bad moment for George Bush. The truth is he came to Washington wanting to expand the Republican Party, because there aren’t enough white guys to go around just doing the math and so he wanted to attract Hispanics and women to the Republican Party and he succeeded partly because of September 11th in the 2004 election. Now, with the immigration bill which is not his fault but the Republicans have succeeded in driving away Hispanics and with this veto he’s going to succeed in driving away women because to talk about vetoing health care for children is going to resonate with women in a way that they will just be off of the Republican Party.
>GEORGE WILL (ABC NEWS): Unless facts are allowed to intrude, in which case it will be pointed out that what the Democrats are doing is taking a program aimed at poor children and turning it into a huge ever-expanding middle class entitlement program for, if Governor Spitzer in New York has his way, people, children up to say 25 years old from households with incomes of $82,000. Now, the guy sitting next to you at the bar at the plaza with a mustache sipping a vodka martini may be on that program for poor children.
$82,000 sounds like an unusually specific number. I bet if you made $82,000 in New York City, and you had, say, a couple of children, you’d be as good as poor. But far be it from me prevent facts from intruding. There’s a deeper problem here, though, one that only serious folks like Will can perceive: middle class children may benefit as well! To steal a line from the man himself, Heaven forfend. The Ford forbid some middle class types should horn in on a health care plan meant for poor children. In fact, I’m sure this would be the very first government program that benefited more people than were intended. Unfortunately, the lamentations of the trop riche were not ended, as the inimitable, pink-shirted David Brooks chimed in to echo Will’s
not even remotely compassionate conservativism:
>DAVID BROOKS (“THE NEW YORK TIMES”): It’s a tough political veto –
>COKIE ROBERTS (ABC NEWS): Right.
>DAVID BROOKS (“THE NEW YORK TIMES”): – for the reasons Cokie said. But I’m with George. On the substance we just cannot get buried under a wall of debt and Bush will be, on the substance he’ll be right to do it.
Ah, yes. Paying for health care for impoverished children will lead to rising taxes and/or increased debt. So the President should definitely veto this bill. I suppose it is impossible that tax increases and a growing national debt are byproducts of an increasingly expensive and seemingly endless war effort. Much easier to prattle on about middle class entitlements and dust off the Higher Taxes are Bad for Your Life chestnut. Sic probo, providing health care for impoverished children actually represents a wrong.
The Dead Kennedys were only kidding…I’m not so sure about George and Dave.