House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's understanding of government's role in a liberal democracy (and of the veto power) may be worse than I thought. A reporter sends a transcript of a press conference that Pelosi held yesterday, where she made the following remarks:
Oh, [President Bush] used the veto pen to veto the stem cell research bill. That was a major disappointment. . . . I remember that veto very well because he was saying, "I forbid science to proceed to improve the health of the American people."
Regarding Bush's threatened veto of the Democrats' expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program:
The President is saying, "I forbid 10 million children in America to have health care." You know from your Latin that is what "veto" means.
Pelosi should know that there is a difference between the government not funding something and forbidding it.
My colleague Sigrid-Fry Revere documents that stem-cell research proceeds even — or especially? — in the absence of government funding. Anyone with passing familiarity with SCHIP knows the program covers millions of children who would have health insurance anyway — and even more children who would still get health care if the program disappeared tomorrow. Yet Pelosi thinks that vetoing SCHIP expansion is the equivalent of stormtroopers kicking in clinic doors to stop a well-baby visit.
Notably, no one from the press challenged either comment.