For six years now, Republicans and Democrats alike have waited for President Bush to tap into his inner fiscal conservative.
The wait is over. And the timing could hardly be worse.
The president took out his veto pen this past week, striking down - at least for the time being - the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP. It was a curious, unfortunate and misguided rejection of a vital piece of legislation that would provide an additional 3.8 million youngsters - mostly poor children - with health coverage.
Hatch also dismissed the president's claim that the bill would have allowed families earning up to $83,000 a year to qualify for subsidized insurance. He noted that that could only happen if states applied for a waiver from the federal government allowing them to raise benefits that high - and if the administration granted it.
Only one state, New York, has applied for such a waiver, and Bush - justifiably in our view - denied the request. In general, depending on state guidelines, the program will be limited to families earning up to two or three times the federal poverty line.