Charlie Cook works hard to keep his political newsletter detached and objective. But today, he's mad. Or rather, he starts off with straight reporting:
This must be a tremendously frustrating time for Republican members of Congress, particularly those in potentially competitive re-election fights next fall.
There is so much happening outside of their control: the direction of Iraq, the current softness of the economy, flat retail sales and the free fall in the housing sector.
They can't do anything about President Bush's near-record low approval ratings either.
Then he is bewildered:
But that is exactly why it is inexplicable that almost two dozen Republican House members sitting in potentially competitive districts -- ones with a Republican advantage in the Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of 4 points or less -- voted against the State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation and appear likely to vote this week to sustain the president's veto of the SCHIP expansion.
Currently, most states offer SCHIP coverage to families of four with incomes up to $41,000 (two times the poverty level), but the expansion would extendeligibility to families making up to three times the poverty level at $62,000.
In high-cost states, the least expensive health maintenance organization option can run as high as $20,000 a year for a family of four and $30,000 for a point-of-service plan, clearly out of reach for most families in that income range.
Then he gets mad:
For more Charlie Cook, go here.
Some argue that Republicans have turned their backs on one of their party's core values -- restraining government spending -- and have turned the balanced budget they received in 2000 into ugly deficits.
That's absolutely true.
But given some of the dubious spending approved during the period Republicans controlled the House and the Senate and the years they controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, is an expansion of a health care program for children, the working poor and lower-middle-class families really the place to draw the line?