Monday, March 21, 2005

"Compassionate Conservative" Politics? How the GOP Uses Terri Schiavo When Convenient

President Bush, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) are using the Terri Schiavo tragedy to appeal to their base, and drum up support for the 2006 mid-term elections.

A memo, distributed by Senate leadership, called Schiavo "a great political issue" that Republicans should use because "the pro-life base will be excited." Over the weekend, DeLay and Frist held special sessions of Congress to push for the passage of a bill that would allow a federal court to overturn Florida state law. (The bill was written to apply to just the Schiavo case, further suggesting political motive rather than the desire to right some greater wrong).

Meanwhile, the conservative noise machine trumpets "liberal judges," who they say are "advocates of death," but the state law in question has been upheld by seven courts and 19 judges -- a mix of Democrat and Republican appointees.

***

What's most sad about the way the GOP has handled the Schiavo tragedy is that it is so transparently political. "Look over here," the conservatives tell their base, stirring the pot for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and all the local wannabes on talk radio. "Look over here," they say, as they pass tax cuts for the wealthy and pass a corporate-driven bankruptcy law that shields the assets of the wealthy and erases loopholes that average working-class folk might need -- like protection from bankruptcy following sudden and mountainous health-care costs.

How transparent are Bush, DeLay and Frist?

Consider that when President Bush was governor of Texas, he signed a law that allows hospitals to discontinue life sustaining care, even if the patients' family members disagree. The 1999 law was put into action just a few days ago when, according to The Houston Chronicle, a breathing tube was removed from six-month-old Sam Hudson at Texas Children's Hospital.

How little do the conservatives care about Terri Schiavo? Schiavo's medication is paid by Medicaid. Just last week, DeLay led a budget resolution through the House that would cut funding for Medicaid by at least $15 billion. The Senate voted to restore the funding, and DeLay -- who cares so much about the Terri Schiavos of the world -- has said he will hold up the entire budget process if he doesn't get the cuts he asked for.

How little do the conservatives care about Terri Schiavo? Schiavo's medical care has in large part been paid for by $1 million her husband received via two medical malpractice lawsuits, after a heart attack 15 years ago left Schiavo brain dead.

As pointed out by the Center for American Progress, Frist is leading the charge to limit recovery for people like Schiavo who are severely debilitated. Frist wants the Terri Schiavos of the world to not be able to recover punitive damages, no matter the severity of their injuries.

"Look over here," the conservatives are saying, trying to capitalize on tragedy. Their actions speak volumes, if only the mainstream media would put the pieces together. I guess the "liberal media," as so many conservatives like to mythologize, is too busy looking the other way.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad and pathetic display. america should be ashamed of its legislature. i hope this fed judge ends it quickly. congress has no business in this. and i dont understand all the dems who voted for it also.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it is sad, but it's too late to cry about Congress sticking its nose into a family's personal business. So let's analyze the situation at face value. Any fair-minded citizen will tell you the Democrats come off looking like a bunch of ghouls. First of all, of all people to lead the charge for the left, they pick radical homosexual Barney Frank and radical abortion Mafiosa Barbara Boxer. With that kind of PR I doubt they'll ever make it back to the White House. They're basically telling America: "We're the party that's anti-life and Gay to boot." Not a good way to win voters. Secondly, the Democrats keep referring to "the Doctors" as if a medical degree guaranteed humanity. That's just bad strategy. They sound like a bunch of Nazis referring to Mengele. Man, they give me the creeps.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous joe said...

Yeah, that's a fair and balanced way to look at the situation.

Forget the hypocrisy of the GOP leadership -- let's act like 4th graders and call people names!

The legislation passed unanimously. The Democrats, in spite of talk radio hosts say, is not the "advocates of death." Repeating such spin is ridiculous.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, Democrats support abortion, and they want to pull the feeding tube on Terri. How much more evidence do you need to know they are clearly the party of death.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous joe said...

Hey anonymous, the Senate vote in favor of Schiavo was unanimous. The House was split. Among Democrats, 47 voted aye, 58 voted nay.

Abortion has nothing to do with Schiavo, as you know.

Those are facts. You are offering hyperbole. You also don't seem to care much about the hypocrisy being shown by your conservative leaders.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted March 18-20, when asked if they "agree with the court's decision to have the feeding tube removed," 62 percent of Democratic respondents agreed, compared to 54 percent of Republicans, and 54 percent of Independents.

Seems our society is split farily evenly, at least among party lines, on the Schiavo tragedy.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A poll is useless. That is not how you determine this type of thing. and it is precisely the reason why congress had no business interfering. the only question here is whether or not terry schiavos wishes were granted, not how various people would choose if it were them--which is what the pollresult really tells.

We are a country of laws and courts interpret these laws. Various courts and numerous judges, both republican and democrat, have listened to this case over the years and determined it was her wish to not live this way. And her husband is her guardian. There are tons of cases like this.

This was an obvious attempt by an overreaching congress to gain political ground in an area in which they had no business. and any judge that sees it differently should be removed. the law is the law. we cannot have congress interfering llike this.

and the talk of the party of death--give me a break. better yet give it a rest. and here i thought the far left was bad.....there are cleary these types on the right as well. noone in this country supports death unjustifiably. just ridiculous.

barney frank---yes, i agree the dems PR is horrible but that is irrelevant in this case. Congress is just flat out wrong.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first baseball and now this crap. someone needs to give congress a revised clearer job definition. we now have a power mad republican congress with an opposition party called I hate Bush. Very sad.

Arent there bigger problems to deal with. Call baseball players in front of the cameras---for what, to promote cansecos book? Call congress into emergency session to pass a law about one person in an isolated case? what the hell?

at least the senate was smart-i think only three senators were there.

5:56 PM  

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