April 2014
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A Bad Political Issue

Power Line’s John Hinderaker summarizes the issues behind the “GOP Talking Points Memo” that has been circulated in the mainstream media and blogosphere:

The full text of the memo was finally reported on March 21, when ABC News posted online “an exact, full copy of the document.” ABC headlined the story, “GOP Talking Points on Terri Schiavo.” As quoted by ABC, the memo was odd, to say the least. The Senate bill was identified, incorrectly, as “S. 529.” (The bill was S. 539.) The memo also included five typographical errors, including misspelling Terri Schiavo’s first name as “Teri.” ABC obligingly identified four of these errors with a “sic.” The memo, as quoted by ABC, contained no hint as to who authored it. Its content, however, immediately raised questions.

Most of the document, in particular paragraphs five through eight, does indeed consist of talking points. These paragraphs are arguments in favor of the Senate bill which would have been appropriate for use on the Senate floor or when talking to reporters. But these were not, of course, the paragraphs the news media were interested in. On top of these actual talking points were grafted the paragraphs that said “the pro-life base will be excited,” “This is a great political issue,” etc.

But, as was quickly pointed out by bloggers, these political observations are not “talking points” at all.

The memo couldn’t be fishier if it was covered in scales and fins and swam at the bottom of the ocean. If it is a fake, then it shows very clearly the cynicism and lack of understanding the Republicans’ political enemies have toward the GOP. It’s not enough that the Republicans want to turn the U.S. into a gigantic theocracy where the Black Man is kept down, the homeless are used to feed the hungry, the elderly are forced into indentured servitude in Wal-Mart to pay for their prescription drugs, and women are refused the right to abort their fetuses right up to the bare minutes before entering the birth canal, but they don’t even believe their own fundamentalist boilerplate! And this memo proves it! See?

Bullshit. I suppose it’s possible that the pro-life groups, the religious right, and everyone who supports Terri Schiavo’s parents’ desire to keep their irreversibly brain-damaged daughter hooked up to a machine until her heart just stops going hold their opinions because they have a deep-seated desire to control other people’s lives, but I doubt it. I think they want to make sure that the right, proper thing is done out of a sense of decency, not cynical power-grabbing.

The last-minute legislation in Terri’s case is bad, and sets a bad precedent. The fact that Terri hasn’t had an MRI, ever, is bad. It’s bad that the judges making decisions about Terri’s life haven’t actually gone to the hospital and seen her. It’s bad that Terri’s parents won’t let her die already, and go on to whatever rest awaits us on the other side of the grave. There’s nothing good about any of this. And if it turns out that this talking points memo is proven false, it’s going to be very bad for the Democrats.

5 comments to A Bad Political Issue

  • Aggie

    The judges in the Schiavo case are tasked with simply upholding and interpreting the law as it currently stands, i.e. husband is next of kin and current guardian, and as such has final say over what happens to Terri in this matter. It is a clear-cut rule of law. There is absolutely no reason for them to visit her in hospice–that is beyond the scope of their duties. They are not doctors and therefore cannot comment on the state of her health–they get that information presented to them from those on both sides of the case. Visiting her would only show bias or, heaven forbid, be seen as judicial activism. You cannot be steadfastly against judicial activism in some cases and for it in others.

  • Judges go to other locations when making rulings all the time; isn’t more information better?

    Visiting Terri Schiavo at the hospital to see if she actually is a bit more than a feebly twitching turnip in a bed isn’t judicial activism, and any attempt to conflate the two issues is a bit silly.

  • Aggie

    Judges visit other locations where there is something relevant they may learn by visiting. In this case, as it is technically a strict matter of law, there is nothing to be gained. When there are issues of human life involved of course everyone tends to view things a little more narrowly. However, if you stick to the facts then there is only one clear course here.

  • Toothpaste Island

    Those judges should visit the vegetable aisle at the local supermarket for a proper comparison.

  • For Terri’s own thoughts on this, visit her blog: