August is probably right about my pessimism being unwarranted, but still it just seems like the Democrats really don't know how to work the media on these issues. It is true SCHIP has the advantage of being easy - "Bush does't want kids to have health care" - and the Democrats have been better at their media push than usual.
I get the sense that Democrats craft these things behind closed doors, try to come up with palatable bipartisan agreements, and then show up on the teevee the day of the vote and announce that they passed it. That's wonderful, if it's a good bill which actually passes and gets a veto override if necessary. What isn't wonderful is if they do all that and it doesn't get enacted into law.
The Republican version would've been to spend 6 months telling people that kids are GOING TO DIE RIGHT NOW UNLESS THIS BILL PASSES and beating the Democrats into submission. That isn't how our team works. Which is fine, if it achieves something. Not fine if it doesn't.