SocraticGadfly: 3/20/05 - 3/27/05

March 26, 2005

‘Democrats lacking conejos’ comes home to roost again

Congressional GOPers, including that font of political and ethical wisdom Tom DeLay, are now claiming that Democratic support for Congressional intervention for Terri Schiavo means it won’t be a political issue.

Moving beyond the sad, and should-be-private, case of Terri Schiavo herself and looking at the politics, sadly, the Republicans may be right.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid swore this would be a different Democratic Congress this time.

Then why did he put his balls in his back pocket on this issue?

There may be Democratic hope:
Republicans are “going to get kicked around a lot,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. On the other hand, he sees a silver lining in the otherwise miserable polls: The minority that does back congressional action probably supports it intensely, while the majority that disagrees “won’t remember this woman's name in a few months.”
But, as much as I respect Larry Sabato’s political wisdom, I’m not holding my breath on Democratic political capital coming out of this.

Ralph Nader, meet Randall Terry

I hadn’t posted much about Terri Schiavo to this point, but Ralph Nader’s idiocy was just too much.

Nader, a lawyer who should know better, took his place with the Randall Terrys of the world Thursday, March 24, in calling for Terri Schiavo’s feeding and water tubes to be reinserted.
“A profound injustice is being inflicted on Terri Schiavo,” Nader asserted. “Worse, this slow death by dehydration is being imposed upon her under the color of law, in proceedings in which every benefit of the doubt-and there are many doubts in this case-has been given to her death, rather than her continued life.”
Nader may be a lawyer, but he has apparently shown as much interest in the actual legal proceedings to this point, and now has as much familiarity with them as Dr. Bill Frist, Senate majority leader, does with the medical side of the case.

Maybe we can lock the two of them in a closet together.

But there’s more idiocy from Ralph.
The courts not only are refusing her tube feeding, but have ordered that no attempts be made to provide her water or food by mouth. Terri swallows her own saliva. Spoon feeding is not medical treatment.

“This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, it has ordered her to be made dead,” Nader and (Wesley) Smith assert.
Wrong. In right-to-die cases, courts have repeated found that manual outside help like this is just as much a medical treatment as are tubes, breathing machines, etc.

Ralph will never get my third-party or independent candidate support for dogcatcher now, let alone the presidency. And if the Green Party ever considers endorsing him, affiliating with him or lending its name to any candidacy of his in any way, then I’ll move my progressive vote elsewhere, if Democrats still aren’t worthy of it either.

March 22, 2005

The medical equivalent of barratry?

What else could you use to describe the actions of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in the Terri Schiavo case?

Of course, the actions of Tom DeLay make me affirm again that his biggest pre-Congressional business mistake was not turning his exterminator’s spray wand around and killing one of the country’s biggest political vermin before he ever got into politics.

Dr. Frist showed himself to be clueless about both her particular situation and neurology in general, while DeLay again proved himself clueless about ethics.

Meanwhile, these two and their respective followers in Congress must bear the guilt of extending yet more false hope to Terri’s parents.

But — not only do they bear that guilt, if this is indeed to be a political moment, they must be made to bear that guilt by Congressional Democrats or, better yet, Howard Dean and DNC staff.

Meanwhile, for a good rundown and backgrounder on the Schiavo case, see this post at Obsidian Wings..