Oooh. He’s clever. And obviously knows exactly what he’s doing. This is all a setup, people. Has to be. Yes, I’m talking about George Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Who but a total stoned horned ogre would do that? Maybe an ogre with something up his sleeve, eh? Has anyone thought of that? I’m just waiting for him to drop the other shoe. Or throw it at a crippled puppy. Either way, there’s a hidden agenda in there somewhere.

To intimate that it didn’t seem like his finest hour is akin to saying that sinking your IRA into tying live vampire bats to a horizontal stick and trying to sell them to the Fisher-Price people as above-crib mobiles is probably not your best retirement strategy. As public relations go, this was on the order of handing out celebratory exploding cigars near the oxygen tents of an intensive care ward.

Does he seriously want us to believe he has no problem asking for another $190 billion for his oil war, but can’t find $7 billion a year for children’s health care? Are you kidding me? “No child left behind?” More like “no child left standing.” The man has opened himself up to charges of criminal child neglect. An Amber Alert featuring Air Force One should be triggered.

Crazy? Like a fox. He scuttled the SCHIP hush-hush style. Like a cat burglar at night, in a closet, with the lights off, under a raincoat, wearing a ski mask and a fake ZZ Top beard. The legislation was intended to reduce the number of children without health insurance and extend coverage to several million more poor children. But the threat that some wrong kids might inadvertently receive coverage makes that totally unacceptable? Who believes that?

Oh, we know the president’s public stance: He doesn’t want to slide down the slippery slope toward socialized medicine by expanding the program to higher-income families. But he’s not as dumb as he looks. Surely he knows when it comes to kids, America’s got a collective soft spot right at the top of our heads. Call it our offspring fontanel.

That’s why this has to be a ruse. Accusing Democrats of authoring a plan that would hurt children … that doesn’t even make sense. Here’s the deal: Since the prez is not up for re-election ever again, he’s in league with party leadership and they’re using this dodge in a drastic attempt for the GOP to hang on to the White House. Painting the Bush administration as so malevolent that in comparison all the ’08 Republican candidates look like latter-day saints of Jesus Christ. You know what I mean.

And we better hope this works, or the next public event is bound to be even more provocative. I can see it now: Bush emceeing an apple pie poisoning exhibition, right after a quick round of mom-slapping, held on the South Lawn by the light of a massive teddy bear bonfire with refreshments of barbecued pet parakeet skewers and goldfish shakes.

The vote to override the SCHIP veto comes in a week or so, and it will be interesting to see if the Democrats can stir any movement from across the aisle using this issue as a crowbar the size of Idaho. Or if they’ll just roll over on their bellies and dare the president to keep throwing shoes at them. The gray matter beneath the soft spot in my head makes me suspect the latter.

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