The Jaker

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Monday, March 21, 2005
Terry Schiavo
Salon's War Room hit on the most important and interesting aspect of the situation with Terry Schiavo, the Florida woman for whom Congress passed and Bush signed a resolution ordering a federal judge to examine whether or not she should be allowed to die. That issue is that Republicans have in this case abandoned their long belief in states' rights to intervene and appease the religious right that helped them so much in November. And they're trying to pass this off as a one-time event so as not to set a precedent for a federal government power-grab practice they so abhor. It even only applies to one woman! There's no way they can say there is any reason for this beside political gain.

Excerpted here for those without Salon access:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called the measure "a unique bill passed under unique circumstances that should not serve as a precedent for future legislation." Now, where have we heard that before? Oh, right, it was in another case from Florida in which Republicans chose political expediency over their oft-proclaimed faith in federalism. When Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote count in 2000 and handed the presidency to George W. Bush, they warned that their intrusion into a matter traditionally left to the states was based on legal reasoning "limited to the present circumstances." As in Bush v. Gore, Republicans backing federal intervention in the Schiavo case have to go out of their way to say they're not setting precedent because they're trapped by their own political interests into doing that which they would usually abhor. In Bush v. Gore, Republican Supreme Court justices anxious to put Bush in the White House had no choice but to embrace an equal protection argument they otherwise would have rejected out of hand. In the Schiavo case, Republicans in Congress anxious to appease the religious right have no choice but to ignore the tenets of federalism they usually trumpet. Their message in both instances: We're doing this now because we can, but don't expect to get away with it yourself if the shoe is ever on the other foot.

Here's the other thing: under a Texas law that Gov. George Bush signed, a six-month old baby died on Thursday after a Texas hospital removed his feeding tube over his mother's objection. Where is the Republicans' outrage over this death, and this law? Unfortunately for this mother, she has no money and no connections to powerful politicians. This is such a clear case of political opportunism - it's shameful.

And one more thing: Republicans have voted to dramatically reduce funding for Medicaid (unspecified what they want to cut - but they just want governors to find ways to cut benefits). Well what do you think keeps people like Terry Schiavo and that Texas baby alive?

See Digby:

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

This is why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Most people get their news from television. And television is presenting this issue as a round the clock one dimensional soap opera pitting the "family", the congress and the church against this woman's husband and the judicial system that upheld Terry Schiavo's right and explicit request that she be allowed to die if extraordinary means were required to keep her alive. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism.

posted by CB @ 9:24 AM  
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