Friday, September 28, 2007

So Much for Compassionate Conservatism

President Bush is threatening to veto a bill that expands the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a threat that is receiving a cold shoulder from many Republicans. Even arch-conservative Orrin Hatch has pledged to vote to override a veto by President Bush.

I believe this is the same president that made much of "Compassionate Conservatism." I believe this is the same president who, despite claiming conservative credentials, has thrown truckloads of money at many other causes, some of which are far less worthy than improving the health care of poor children. I believe this is a battle the president will lose.

Republicans, who are busy distancing themselves from the president these days, are not going to vote against a bill that will paint them as being insensitive to poor children. But it will be more than just a fear of voter rejection that will motivate them to vote for this bill; they will vote for it because they believe it is the right thing to do.

And it is, I believe, the right thing to do. Any society, and particularly the leader of any society, who would turn a cold shoulder to the needs of the poor reveals a callousness that deserves to be condemned. Children are those who are hurt most by poverty. A child growing up in poverty has so much stacked against them, including the opportunity to enjoy a healthy life. If we cannot provide decent medical care for poor children we are failing at one of the most fundamental callings we share as human beings, which is to care for the poor among us.

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