SCHIP Veto

Now that the president has vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), what is the next step for Republicans?

We know what the Democrats are going to do.

First, they are going to wait a couple of weeks, because while SCHIP is important, it is really not that important.

They are going to run thousands of ads aimed at those who voted to sustain the president’s veto.

MoveOn.org is going to join in on the fun, running its own ads with a coordination effort that has questionable legality.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is going to have 20 press conferences with kids, because, you know, she loves kids.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will blast the president, calling him heartless. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are going to meet with all the healthcare groups that have skin in the game, urging them to run their own ads and asking for a little thanks for the effort, if you know what I mean.

The national media will put a spotlight on the bill, looking for every moment to put Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on television so they can question the president’s sanity.

We all know what the Democrats are going to do, because it is pretty predictable.

But what are the Republicans going to do?

Here are some suggestions.

First, find an alternative, pronto.

Second, invite the Democrats down to the White House for a meeting in the Cabinet Room. If they don’t show up, show the empty seats.

Third, ask the governors of all the largest states to come to the White House for a meeting. After all, it is a state program. Get their input.

Fourth, have your own press conferences with lots of kids.

Fifth, stop saying the Democrats want to “federalize” healthcare. Nobody knows what that means.

Sixth, have an all-night vigil asking the Democrats to stop playing politics with children’s healthcare.

Seventh, announce a plan to find the 22 million new smokers that will be needed to pay for the bill you just vetoed. You might have to import them from China.

Eight, bring the healthcare providers in one by one, and explain to them in no uncertain terms why running ads against Republicans on this issue is bad for them (at least for the next year).

Ninth, find an alternative, pronto. (I said it twice because it is important. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) has a good bill. Use that.)

Tenth, come up with a long-term strategy and get buy-in from all Republican stakeholders. (Maybe that should have come first.) Friendly fire is killing the GOP message.

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