Bloggers feast on the House’s SCHIP vote, debate what Benazir Bhutto’s return means for Pakistan, and revel in the French president’s divorce.
SCHIP off the block: The House failed to override President Bush’s veto of the expanded SCHIP legislation Thursday, as was expected. Democrats fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto.
Washington Monthly’s Political Animal calls it a “shameful piece of partisan vindictiveness.” Left-leaning Talking Points Memo notes that opinion polls and an ad campaign directed at Republicans had little effect. “The GOP was remarkably successful in holding the line and sustaining Bush’s veto.”
At liberal Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher brushes off the defeat, suggesting that the left’s lobbying had a higher purpose: “As important as passage of this bill was, our campaign to put pressure on Democrats was really about something else — about letting them know that there are certain things it means to be a Democrat, and supporting healthcare for kids is one of them.”
Shaun Mullen at the Moderate Voice warns Republicans that they may have shot themselves in the foot come Election Day 2008. “The fact that no few Republicans changed their minds is a victory for the lame-duck president, but it is an empty one for his party because representatives like James Saxton of New Jersey who had what were considered safe seats may be fighting for their political lives next year.”
Frustrated fiscal conservative Dan Riehl at Riehl World View has some belated advice for how Republicans can win the PR battle: “You locate one or two representative working class families with children and parents who provide for them, including their health care, through consistent employment and smart choices. You simply have the child make the case that the family doesn’t begrudge helping genuinely disadvantaged families, but little Timmy, or Sally, or whatever, can’t understand why their Mommy and Daddy has to give up some of their hard-earned money to subsidize health care for families that, in some cases, make even more money than they do. You fight fire with fire. At least that’s what you would do if you had any fire in you.”
And Andrew Sullivan doles out a Michael Moore award nomination (for “bitter and intemperate anti-war rhetoric“) to Rep. Pete Stark for saying: “You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”
Read more on Congress’ failure to override the SCHIP veto.
Bombs greet Bhutto:Two-time Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan Thursday after an eight-year exile. Bhutto, who’s planning to run for parliament and perhaps a third term as prime minister, was initially greeted by hundreds of thousands of supporters while she rode through Karachi. However, two bombs detonated near her motorcade Thursday evening, reportedly killing at least 110. Bhutto was uninjured.
The blasts make the words of conservative “lawhawk” at A Blog for All seem prescient. Before news of the blast, he cautioned that Bhutto may be in danger if she climbs to the country’s top office: “[T]he Islamists aren’t likely to stand for a woman being in a prominent position of power. Islamists are misogynists and can and do take their views to extremes - killing those women who do not adhere to their interpretations of the Koran.” He updates: “I’m wondering whether someone in the ISI tipped off the jihadists as to Bhutto’s itiniary since she was traveling under heavy security. She’s a marked woman, and the jihadists have made their intentions quite clear.”
Writing before the bombs went off, Amardeep at South Asia-focused Sepia Mutiny felt positive. “A cynic could also argue that Musharraf will still pull all the important strings. A cynic could argue that the Supreme Court should throw both Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf out of office. A cynic could argue those things. (But I wouldn’t, not today; I’m trying to be optimistic!).” In the comments field of the post, Ardy writes in response to the breaking news: “I wonder why the blasts don’t surprise me. Pakistan has got too many generals, too many zamindars and too any mullahs for it’s own good. … [W]e are not going to see a healthy democracy in Pakistan for a while. Bombs away!”
Various bloggers at Metroblogging Karachi are filing reports. “The two blasts (the second of which was stronger) took close to Benazir Bhutto’s bus have nevertheless resulted in minor injuries for senior partly officials, including Fauzia Wahab, who just told Geo that she has a minor injury on her hand,” writes Hasan Mubarak. “She was in the bus in which Bhutto was traveling, and according to her eye witness account, the blasts took place in two empty mobile police vans located near the bus in which Mrs. Bhutto and her compatriots were traveling.”
Read more about Bhutto’s return to Pakistan and the bombing near her motorcade.
Sarkozy split: After weeks of speculation, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Cecilia announced they are getting a divorce. The news is stealing headlines from the as a flurry of strikes have brought France’s economy to a halt.
Jason Steck at the Van Der Galiën Gazette is quick to compare the Sarkozy’s troubles with Bill and Hillary Clinton’s in the 1990s, saying that the Clintons had to stay together to retain their political lives. “Well, the Sarkozys in France are testing whether this theory may be false or, at least, whether France’s political culture might be more tolerant of perceived violations of the ‘family values’ political pose.”
Read more about Sarkozy’s divorce.