When liberal journalists put on their political pundit hats to ostensibly handicap the policy stances of Republican politicians, you can rest assured that conservative or center-right stances will almost always be panned as political/electoral suicide. Time magazine's Karen Tumulty is no exception in her recent Swampland blog post, "SCHIP: A Really Dumb Fight for Bush to Pick." in which the veteran reporter took President Bush to task for his veto threat for Democratic legislation that seeks to expand the size and mandate of the federally-backed State Children's Health Insurance Plans (SCHIP). Of course nowhere in her post did the magazine reporter/blogger flesh out the rationale for the veto: the legislation that would hit his desk would expand government health care programs to children already covered by private medical insurance plans. Rather than reporting both sides of the SCHIP controversy, Tumulty played pundit/political consultant, dusting off liberal Democratic gripes from the Reagan and Gingrich years:
When Republicans try to prove their conservative bona fides by taking on a program aimed for children, the outcome is usually the same. Remember the Reagan Administration trying to declare ketchup a vegetable? And the House Republicans deciding to "curb the growth" of the school lunch program in 1995?
Of course, Tumulty failed to explore the substantial role a helpful, liberally-biased media had in furthering storylines about how evil Reagan and Gingrich supposedly were when it came to "cutting" social spending. Of course that shouldn't be surprising given Tumulty's penchant for liberal politician puffery. As MRC/NB's Tim Graham noted in May:
Time magazine's list of "The Most Influential People in the World," or the Time 100, has already earned controversy for implausibly leaving President Bush off the list. But in a magazine stuffed with valentines to important people written by their friends, admirers, and family members, Time's staff writers promoted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as not only influential, but naturally moderate. Karen Tumulty claimed Hillary "has always been a more moderate and pragmatic politician than either her admirers or her detractors believed."
The bottom line is that Tumulty is convinced Bush's veto threat is political theater to appeal to Republican base voters on his right, even though he's finishing out the waning years of his second and final presidential term:
Given how averse this President has been to using his veto pen, he is under pressure from conservatives to take a stand. But this one strikes me as a fight he is going to lose, and one that will haunt his party right through 2008.