This opinion by the Evansville Courier Press seems to get it about right:
If President Bush had a history of opposing big government and big spending, his choice of a child health insurance bill for only the fourth veto of his presidency might be more understandable.
But he has calmly presided over the largest increase in spending and the creation of the largest government entitlement â€” prescription drugs â€” since the Great Society.
. . .
As for competing with private insurance, as Bush charges, the president greatly overestimates the availability and affordability of purely private insurance.
The opinion goes on to note some of the problems with the legislation, but those problems seem to have precious little to do with Bush’s reasons for vetoing the bill. We can spend billions per week and get nothing in return in Iraq, but God forbid we spend the money on sick kids. (Actually, I say “the money” as if we have it. We don’t. We’re borrowing it from great market economies like China. In fact, these kids are going to be paying the tab for today’s expenditures, they might as well get some of the benefits.)