The No. 1 criticism of President Bush from conservative activists has been that he has not done enough to control the size of government, especially domestic spending. They may be late to the party, but the administration deserves support from conservatives and all those who believe in bringing some limits to federal spending as the Congress considers a potential presidential veto of the so-called SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) extension.

SCHIP began during the second Clinton administration as a way to provide health insurance for POOR CHILDREN. It is currently budgeted at a modest (for the feds) $25 billion over five years. The administration favors extension of the program at current levels.

Of course, that’s not enough for liberals who see their mission in life as redistributing income from those who do not deserve it to those who do (i.e., those most likely to vote for liberals). Here’s all you need to know about why the president should veto SCHIP and why his veto should be sustained.

1. The bill funds benefits for ADULTS, not just children.

2. The bill funds benefits for children who are NOT poor. Indeed, states like New York currently fund families that earn over $80,000 per year.

3. The bill more than doubles the outlays of the program over the next five years, from $25 billion to $60 billion.

This is a back-door attempt to reintroduce Hillarycare. It also creates yet another unsustainable entitlement program at a time when existing entitlement programs are massively underfunded. The only reason this bill has gotten this far has been — you guessed it — politics.

The liberal media chuckles that this vote puts Republicans in a bind because they would be seen as voting against the “children.” A better way to look at it is that the public is wise enough to see wasteful spending when it’s presented. A seminal GOP issue is that the size and scope of government should be limited. A vote to sustain a presidential veto would be a beginning for the GOP in reclaiming the mantle of limited government.

Who knows, maybe even Alan Greenspan would become a Republican again.