Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If I were Bush and was going to veto the SCHIP legislation, I would not have quietly done so sequestered in the White House, I would done so in a public setting where I would be sure I could get my talking points out to the American people and, through them, the relative handful of Congressional Republicans whose votes I will need to sustain the veto in the face of Democrat efforts to demonize me and my supporters on this issue. The idea of hiding in the White House and ceding the stage to the Democrats just boggles my mind. If he cared enough about this to pull out his rarely-used veto pen, then he ought to care enough to mount the PR effort necessary to kill it once and for all.

As for the talking points, it's not about the money. Claiming it's too expensive is a non-starter in an age of trillion dollar federal budgets, and especially so just days after asking for hundreds of billions of dollars for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trying to paint this as fiscally irresponsible, as Bush has done, gave the Democrats the opportunity to paint Bush as favoring war, government subsidies to business and abstract budget principles over 'doing what is right for our children'.

Another loser is talking about 'insuring the poor kids before opening up this program to middle class families'. Middle class families don't care if the poor kids haven't been enrolled into this program, certainly not so much that they'd themselves want to do without a perceived benefit.

The key to defeating this proposal is to portray this an overall negative for Americans.

It's a given that Bush is going to lose those who lack insurance for their kids, and he's going to lose those suffering from BDS to the point where they've lost the ability to reason, so let's not even bother appealing to them.

Bush needs to convince those Americans with health insurance for their kids that not only they personally aren't going to want to enroll in this program, they don't want it to even exist, as its very existence is going to make things worse for them.

And in order to do that, Bush has to argue - with facts and smoke - that this legislation would make their own insurance more expensive and would result in reduced benefits, longer wait times, more hassle getting care and so on.

That is what he should have done. That he hasn't can, once again, be taken as prima facie evidence that he just isn't very smart...