Bush Blows Tobacco

As you've no doubt heard or recall from my post in August, Congress passed legislation to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion over five years via a 61-cent increase in tobacco taxes.

President Bush vetoed the bill today -- just the fourth veto of his presidency -- arguing that it was a middle-class entitlement and a step toward socialized medicine. Senator John McCain dug his political grave a little deeper by agreeing with Bush, saying: "Right call by the president."

Conservative columnist George Will argued, bizarrely, that the issue turned on one's concept of "freedom and equality ... conservatives favor freedom, which inevitably increases unequal social outcomes." No, I'm not making this shit up.

While most of the mainstream media reports on the political fallout, whether the move will hurt the GOP, and how the Democrats will respond, the American City Business Journals stated the issue clearly and succinctly:

  Bush veto gives victory to tobacco industry

I prefer my headline. Or maybe it should be, "Tobacco Blown by Bush?" I prefer the active voice.

As Eunice Moscos reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, no one will believe that Republicans, drunk on government spending, have suddenly sobered up, as Bush suggests.
John Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College ... said that Republicans will have to explain why they are suddenly showing fiscal restraint after spending money "like drunken sailors."

"Democrats will ask why the GOP is suddenly sobering up when facing a program that helps poor Hispanic kids," he said.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made that point, saying that the money proposed for SCHIP under the legislation "is the equivalent of what the President spends in less than four months in Iraq."