G.I. Bill hypocrisy reaches new depths

After fighting the G.I. Bill expansion, both Bush and McCain take credit for its passage.

Published June 30, 2008 5:57PM (EDT)

On Thursday night, the Senate approved the war supplemental, which included the expansion of the G.I. Bill, sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and approved with broad, bipartisan support. This morning, the president signed it into law.

The chutzpah involved with such a pronouncement is truly breathtaking.

First, the Bush White House publicly opposed the G.I. Bill expansion. The president ended up reversing course when lawmakers ignored his demands and passed the bill anyway -- by a veto-proof majority (75 votes). It left Bush in the untenable position of signing into law a bill he actively fought against, or vetoing a measure to help give veterans better educational benefits. He wisely chose the prior, but his comments this morning made it sound like Bush had wanted the G.I. Bill expansion all along. The opposite is true.

Second, and more important, the president's praising John McCain for his "hard work" on this bill is absurd. McCain not only opposed the G.I. Bill expansion, he fought against it. Indeed, he bragged that his opposition to the bill was evidence of his character.

What's more, praising McCain for having "worked hard" to pass the bill is especially amusing considering that McCain didn't even show up to vote at all when the bill came to the floor, and didn't show up to vote on the supplemental, either.

Indeed, Bush praised five senators this morning for their leadership. One (McCain) fought against the bill and then didn't bother to vote on it. Two (Graham and Burr) fought against the bill and voted against it. Chuck Hagel was an original sponsor of the bill, but the president ignored him altogether. (Talk about a slap in the face ...)

And all of this, of course, comes just a few days after McCain took credit for the passage of a bill he fought every step of the way.

They know no shame.

By Steve Benen

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