A truly scientific look at Republican thought on Terri Schiavo

Okay, it’s NOT truly scientific. But it IS interesting.

With the Republican-dominated congress, Republican President George Bush, and Republican Governor Jeb Bush all attempting to intervene “on the side of life” in Terri Schiavo’s tragic case, there are those who may mistakenly think that ALL Republicans think this way.

Don’t get me wrong. I voted (mostly) Republican, and I’m still glad I did. On this matter, however, I find myself at odds with the actions of our elected representatives.

I’m not the only one. The folks who really matter, supposedly, are the voters. And in Utah County, a “red” county if ever there was one, a recent poll in the paper shows nicely how those constituents feel: Link!

As of this writing, some 82% of readers said “No, congress should not be involved in the Schiavo case.” Granted, that’s only 708 votes, and there’s no way to restrict the poll to people who actually live in Utah County. Heck, if everybody who reads this LJ entry voted, we could skew the statistics by a margin of error large enough to drive a fleet of family minivans through. But it’s KINDA scientific, right?

The loss of the Presidential election has been described as an identity crisis for the Democratic party. I believe it’s likely that we’ll look back on Terri Schiavo’s case as a similar crisis for the Republicans. Cartoonists Cox & Forkum seem to feel the same way.

–Howard

(EDIT: Yes, I know, Utah county is a RED county, not a BLUE one, and originally I got it wrong. To quote Michael Jackson, “I don’t want to spend my life being a color.”)

64 thoughts on “A truly scientific look at Republican thought on Terri Schiavo”

  1. I find GWB’s stance in this rather interesting, especially since when Governor, he signed a bill that allowed pulling the plug without parental consent.

    Kinda scientific? Your wormgates are more scientific 😀

    1. Be aware that the new law was simply one to even out the confusing and contradictory rules of the three laws it replaced.

      You should also be aware that Terri Schiavo, had she been in Texas, would have had no difference in her situation. I see a common tendency to describe these two situations as strange or hypocritical, but it’s useful to understand what the earlier matter actually involved. There is no conflict.

      Nor is there a problem, really, with a brain-dead person being allowed to die. The problem here, invisible to most people learning of this through the news, is the court errors leading to an incorrect decision in this case. That, only, is my concern.

      ===|==============/ Level Head

        1. This, of course, was the result of the Court ruling more than a decade ago to rob her trust fund to pay for the attorneys arguing to kill her. A peculiar way to become “indigent”, is it not?

          ===|==============/ Level Head

          1. You do not remember correctly. The trust fund was established at about $850,000. ALL of it was to go to her medical care and therapy. But by two years later, about $500,000 had been paid to Michael’s attorneys, ($399k to Felos alone by 1993) and it seems that none of it actually went to her care. The final accounting has not been released, but I have a document showing disbusements as of 1993; there would have been less than $300k left by this time. Later information suggests that Medicaid picked up the tab for her care. Michael indicated in a ’93 deposition that he’s “already collected her life insurance”.

            ===|=============/ Level Head

          2. You do not remember correctly. The trust fund was established at about $850,000. ALL of it was to go to her medical care and therapy. But by two years later, about $500,000 had been paid to Michael’s attorneys, ($399k to Felos alone by 1993) and it seems that none of it actually went to her care. The final accounting has not been released, but I have a document showing disbusements as of 1993; there would have been less than $300k left by this time. Later information suggests that Medicaid picked up the tab for her care. Michael indicated in a ’93 deposition that he’s “already collected her life insurance”.

            ===|=============/ Level Head

        2. This, of course, was the result of the Court ruling more than a decade ago to rob her trust fund to pay for the attorneys arguing to kill her. A peculiar way to become “indigent”, is it not?

          ===|==============/ Level Head

    2. Be aware that the new law was simply one to even out the confusing and contradictory rules of the three laws it replaced.

      You should also be aware that Terri Schiavo, had she been in Texas, would have had no difference in her situation. I see a common tendency to describe these two situations as strange or hypocritical, but it’s useful to understand what the earlier matter actually involved. There is no conflict.

      Nor is there a problem, really, with a brain-dead person being allowed to die. The problem here, invisible to most people learning of this through the news, is the court errors leading to an incorrect decision in this case. That, only, is my concern.

      ===|==============/ Level Head

    3. He’s just taking on the hopeless causes and half-arsing them to satisfy his religious constituents without actually giving them an inch.

    4. He’s just taking on the hopeless causes and half-arsing them to satisfy his religious constituents without actually giving them an inch.

  2. I find GWB’s stance in this rather interesting, especially since when Governor, he signed a bill that allowed pulling the plug without parental consent.

    Kinda scientific? Your wormgates are more scientific 😀

  3. http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/kgtv/20050329/lo_wkmg/2648050

    A short story about the Schiavo parents… they’re selling the list of supporters to a direct-mail firm. Just thought that was interesting.

    And I agree with you… no way should congress have gotten involved that far into the case. If they’d put that kind of effort into policies or programs that affected more than one person… well, that’s another topic. ^^;;

    Just want to say, your LJ is a refreshing, drama-free, sane blog, and I greatly appreciate that. 🙂 Thanks for writing it, and for Schlock Mercenary too.

  4. http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/kgtv/20050329/lo_wkmg/2648050

    A short story about the Schiavo parents… they’re selling the list of supporters to a direct-mail firm. Just thought that was interesting.

    And I agree with you… no way should congress have gotten involved that far into the case. If they’d put that kind of effort into policies or programs that affected more than one person… well, that’s another topic. ^^;;

    Just want to say, your LJ is a refreshing, drama-free, sane blog, and I greatly appreciate that. 🙂 Thanks for writing it, and for Schlock Mercenary too.

  5. Many people have said this — I am only repeating, but still. When you have a Republican Majority that is moving to federalize a case and a Democratic Party arguing for States’ Rights and the nonintervention of big government, you have somehow wandered through the gateway into BizarroWorld. Me am unhappy to see you!

  6. Many people have said this — I am only repeating, but still. When you have a Republican Majority that is moving to federalize a case and a Democratic Party arguing for States’ Rights and the nonintervention of big government, you have somehow wandered through the gateway into BizarroWorld. Me am unhappy to see you!

  7. Ok, I live in Brazil, so when I read this.. I was VERY lost on the topic ^-^;;
    After some google-ing, I sit here thinking.. How did something like this reach congress? it seems like something that would happen once in a while, seeing the size of the population =\

    Sure, no one wants their children to die, but she’s been in a vegetable state for over 15 years! (I read somewhere it happened in 1990, correct me if I’m wrong)

    I really think people should move on, especially since, it seems, like she requested to not be kept alive…

    Though, it’s a rather cold way to look at someone’s life, I agree with the husband’s decision.

    1. Hello, in Brazil! In a link below, you can find a timeline of the facts, if you are so interested. It reached Congress because enough people got involved and a lot of them were aiming for re-election, is my guess.

    2. Hello, in Brazil! In a link below, you can find a timeline of the facts, if you are so interested. It reached Congress because enough people got involved and a lot of them were aiming for re-election, is my guess.

  8. Ok, I live in Brazil, so when I read this.. I was VERY lost on the topic ^-^;;
    After some google-ing, I sit here thinking.. How did something like this reach congress? it seems like something that would happen once in a while, seeing the size of the population =\

    Sure, no one wants their children to die, but she’s been in a vegetable state for over 15 years! (I read somewhere it happened in 1990, correct me if I’m wrong)

    I really think people should move on, especially since, it seems, like she requested to not be kept alive…

    Though, it’s a rather cold way to look at someone’s life, I agree with the husband’s decision.

  9. It was an incredibly limited bill. It gave the district court jurisdiction “for the alleged violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the United States,” while specifically creating no “substantive rights not otherwise secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States or of the several States.”

    So all Congress did was tell the judge, “Double-check if the Schiavo court order is legal under existing Federal law or not.” Given how the bill was covered in the news, I certainly dooubt the polled members of the public have any idea that that’s all the Congressional act did.

    And it was hardly a Republican act. Under the House schedule rules, the bill required a 2/3 majority. 47 of the 105 Democrats present voted for it; it wouldn’t have passed otherwise.

  10. It was an incredibly limited bill. It gave the district court jurisdiction “for the alleged violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the United States,” while specifically creating no “substantive rights not otherwise secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States or of the several States.”

    So all Congress did was tell the judge, “Double-check if the Schiavo court order is legal under existing Federal law or not.” Given how the bill was covered in the news, I certainly dooubt the polled members of the public have any idea that that’s all the Congressional act did.

    And it was hardly a Republican act. Under the House schedule rules, the bill required a 2/3 majority. 47 of the 105 Democrats present voted for it; it wouldn’t have passed otherwise.

    1. “News agencies report the arrest on March 25 of Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, N.C., for offering $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Judge Greer.”

      Is it just me or are people like this just completely dumb?

      Someone wants to kill(/have killed is there that much of a difference?) 2 people to save 1, who by almost any reasonable estimates is already brain dead?

      (Assuming of course, that the above wasn’t intended as a joke. Wasn’t reported as such, and I hope that the FBI, et al. wouldn’t react that strongly to a joke.)

    2. “News agencies report the arrest on March 25 of Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, N.C., for offering $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Judge Greer.”

      Is it just me or are people like this just completely dumb?

      Someone wants to kill(/have killed is there that much of a difference?) 2 people to save 1, who by almost any reasonable estimates is already brain dead?

      (Assuming of course, that the above wasn’t intended as a joke. Wasn’t reported as such, and I hope that the FBI, et al. wouldn’t react that strongly to a joke.)

  11. Howard,

    What are you smoking? Utah county is as Red as they come. I’d be surprised if you could dig up enough democrats here to fill the meeting room at Denny’s!

    As for Teri, I’m forced to wonder when the presumption of innocence stopped being the norm in our court system? Probably with abortion, after all, what could be more innocent than an unborn child? The presumption of innocence should always be in favor of life. It would be one thing IF Teri had left a living will, but she didn’t.

    1. > after all, what could be more innocent than an unborn child?

      An unconcieved child. After all, they haven’t taken advantage of any nasty and sinful acts of sex, either against the mother’s wishes or actively perpetrated on their behalf. Therefore, birth control is murder, which would presumably make abstinence merely manslaughter.

      Ready to stop being silly about this yet?

      Rob

      1. Wish more people understood how “silly” this is, but “birth control is murder” is part of the Roman Catholic church’s position–they really do think birth control *is* murder, except for those forms that are really modulated forms of abstinence. 🙁

      2. Wish more people understood how “silly” this is, but “birth control is murder” is part of the Roman Catholic church’s position–they really do think birth control *is* murder, except for those forms that are really modulated forms of abstinence. 🙁

    2. > after all, what could be more innocent than an unborn child?

      An unconcieved child. After all, they haven’t taken advantage of any nasty and sinful acts of sex, either against the mother’s wishes or actively perpetrated on their behalf. Therefore, birth control is murder, which would presumably make abstinence merely manslaughter.

      Ready to stop being silly about this yet?

      Rob

  12. Howard,

    What are you smoking? Utah county is as Red as they come. I’d be surprised if you could dig up enough democrats here to fill the meeting room at Denny’s!

    As for Teri, I’m forced to wonder when the presumption of innocence stopped being the norm in our court system? Probably with abortion, after all, what could be more innocent than an unborn child? The presumption of innocence should always be in favor of life. It would be one thing IF Teri had left a living will, but she didn’t.

    1. Second on the bipartisan issue. Remember that Tom Harkin and Ralph Nader(!) also came out in support of Terri (a useful post on the Harkin angle is available here).

      Sure, this is causing a spat between the libertarian and pro-life wings of the Republican coalition, but the two wings are always arguing about something. That’s what makes the coalition interesting. Personally, I find the fact that Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds can go at each other in constructive disagreement very satisfying.

      1. I find the fact that Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds can go at each other in constructive disagreement very satisfying.

        I agree. So does my husband, Eric; one reason he reads the political blogs is that the quality of argument and information content is so much higher than in the mainstream media.

      2. I find the fact that Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds can go at each other in constructive disagreement very satisfying.

        I agree. So does my husband, Eric; one reason he reads the political blogs is that the quality of argument and information content is so much higher than in the mainstream media.

    2. Second on the bipartisan issue. Remember that Tom Harkin and Ralph Nader(!) also came out in support of Terri (a useful post on the Harkin angle is available here).

      Sure, this is causing a spat between the libertarian and pro-life wings of the Republican coalition, but the two wings are always arguing about something. That’s what makes the coalition interesting. Personally, I find the fact that Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds can go at each other in constructive disagreement very satisfying.

  13. (Home from trip, reading back)
    Yeah, I’m with you. I voted Republican and I agree most of the time, but I’m 100% at odds with Bush on this one. I think it was Jefferson who said, “There is nothing I detest more than a bad argument for a position that is dear to my heart.” (Something like that, anyway. How’s that for precision?)

  14. (Home from trip, reading back)
    Yeah, I’m with you. I voted Republican and I agree most of the time, but I’m 100% at odds with Bush on this one. I think it was Jefferson who said, “There is nothing I detest more than a bad argument for a position that is dear to my heart.” (Something like that, anyway. How’s that for precision?)

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