20 March 2005

Memo reveals GOP's political motives in Schiavo case

This morning on NBC's Meet The Press, host Tim Russert referenced an article in the Washington Post that mentioned a memo that is circulating on Capitol Hill stating that the Schiavo case is "a great political issue" for Republicans to use in the 2006 midterm elections. (If anyone knows where to find the memo, please email me at floridapolitix@yahoo.com.) This document proves that by politicizing the issue, conservatives are not interested in the welfare of Terri Schiavo but instead increasing the fortunes of their fellow politicians.

The Republican memo states the Schiavo bill, which will come before the Congress today and tomorrow, will serve to motivate the GOP's religious conservative base and help their candidates during the approaching campaigns. Most Americans, regardless of their position on the Terri's case, see this issue as a sensitive one involving life and death decisions. Not the Republicans; they see this as an opportunity to win elections. President Bush has returned to Washington early in order to take part in the political show, and Congress is preparing to play along. Apparently, trampling on the body of a woman in a persistent vegetative state is how one acts as a "compassionate conservative."

The Democrats have been absent from the debate. John Harwood, a conservative from the Wall Street Journal, stated on Meet The Press that it is not surprising that Democrats are silent on this issue. He stated that no one wants to be on the side of pulling the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo. This is true. But the problem with the Democrats' situation is that they, like usual, have failed to frame an issue on their terms, or more appropriately, they have allowed the Republicans to frame the issue themselves.

This is nothing new. From social security privatization to the war in Iraq to the Patriot Act to the erosion of workers' rights in the homeland security department, Democrats always begin from a defensive stance because they refuse to come out first on any issue. Like President Bill Clinton said before the Democratic Leadership Council on December 3, 2002, "When people feel uncertain, they'd rather have somebody who's strong and wrong than somebody who's weak and right." The Schiavo case is no different. This is a right of privacy and a right to die with dignity issue. Unfortunately, the Democrats aren't willing to say that.

This is why voters reject Democrats at the polls. Liberals can make all of the excuses that they want and they can even argue that elections are "stolen." But the sad truth is that voters have lost faith in the Democratic Party.

On the issues that are important to voters, the Democrats don't simply appear to be weak; they are weak.


Anonymous ourflorida said...

This post is not completely accurate. It's a little too hard on the Democrats. In Florida, State Senator Rod Smith from Gainesville has been very outspoken in opposing government intervention in Terri's case. And in Washington, Congressman Robert Wexler from Palm Beach plans to raise a point of order to make sure that there is a quorum when the bill is passed and it isn't simply pushed through by Tom Delay. Also, Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon is trying to get the votes to defeat the bill.

I do like the post because it points out how the Republicans are so blantant in politicizing this issue. Keep up the good work.

1:56:00 PM  
Blogger james H said...

Thanks ourflorida. You make a good point. There are good Democrats out there who are fighting for this issue. Unfortunately, it is the absence of the national and state parties that I find alarming.

Comment again the future.

james H

2:06:00 PM  
Anonymous gator78 said...

I see the US Senate passed the bill today. The news says that it will now go to the House and probably pass at midnight. What does this mean? Will the tube be put back in?

I also think its disgusting that the Repuglicans want to use a dying woman to win elections. They are sick!

6:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

I understand one of the motivations of dragging Terri Schiavo into the public arena is to put pressure on Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) who's up for reëlection next year. Nelson hasn't toed the conservative line on your rights concerning your life, so they're using this to target him. If it weren't that, it'd be something else; I mean, getting a Republican elected in Nebraska is as easy as shucking corn.

Hell yes, this is a blatant political move. If Frist and Bush used my daughter for their political gain, I'd make them swallow their teeth.

12:25:00 PM  
Blogger MykaDog said...

Are they trying to put pressure on Ben Nelson of Nebraska or Bill Nelson of Florida?

1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

It's not about life, it's about power.

The GOP has one goal and one goal alone: to blame all of the ills, economic, moral, legislative, and cultural on the left. Now they seek to frame liberals as "murderers" because they are standing against the state imposing its will over life and death.

The question I want answered was asked rhetorically on Friday by Bill Maher: Why is it the people who claim to love Jesus the most are so against the idea of actually meeting him?


2:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

this n that—Specifically, I was referring to Ben Nelson; I don't know how much Bill Nelson has said on right-to-die issues. I understand Bill Nelson is being targeted by Republicans next year, but I don't know how effective a weapon this issue would be to use on him.

Since this is the Florida Politix forum, it would make more sense to talk about Bill Nelson rather than Ben, but I know it's Ben who's the primary target of this maelstrom. Bill may well be, too; time will tell. I wouldn't be surprised if he were.

2:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Correction: Ben Nelson is a target, not the target.

2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Melinda said...

Jeb Bush just gave a press conference and paraded a neurosurgeon from Mayo Clinic before the media and stated that this doctor now thinks Terri Shiavo was misdiagnosed. Jeb's mother, Barbara Bush, is on the board of Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. I'm sure this had no bearing on his appearance or diagnosis, which was made without even examining the patient!

5:30:00 PM  

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