March 29, 2005

I Know I Promised, but...

Yes, two posts ago I said that they would be my last words on Terri Shiavo. But technically these are other people's words, so...

Anyway, more on the political ramifications of the situation on the GOP from the NY Post's John Podhoretz.

"[T]he problem here may not really be a substantive disagreement with the major-domos of the GOP. Rather, it may be that people are upset at being forced to pay attention to a uniquely disturbing and tragic story that just hits too close to home.

After all, if you haven't been confronted with a difficult choice in a hospital with a dying relative, you almost certainly will be at some point in the future.

And the image of Terri Schiavo looking at that floating balloon is a vivid portrait of a powerful human fear — the fear of incapacitation, either your own or a loved one's."

In other words, some people are currently angry with Republicans not because they feel so strongly against their position on this matter, but rather because the GOP's actions have forced them to confront an extremely uncomfortable issue - one that they've probably ended up arguing over with family and friends recently (as I politely did this weekend). Podhoretz warns the Left about overplaying its hand on this issue:
"If I'm right, there's a risk for Democrats and liberals who want to use this as a wedge issue against Republicans. The public will resent them just as much as it resents the Republicans and conservatives for keeping the subject alive long after Terri Schiavo is dead."
Fear of the Dems making political hay over all of this may very well be misplaced.

And The Village Voice (no right-wing rag) begs the question: In the long run, does this help Republicans? A piece that ran today warns gloating Democrats that the end result could do just that. How?

"[The] Schiavo [case] has given conservative Republicans a way to raise other, wider issues: For example, what happens when the graying baby boomers hit 85? When these people get very ill, do they, as some have put it, "have a duty to die"? And, despite the advances in costly medical technology that extends longevity, will their duty to die become an even more harsh reality because Congress has refused to fix the Social Security and Medicare mess?

These end-of-life issues feed directly into the most heated partisan politics. Daniel Henninger wrote in Friday's Wall Street Journal: "Democrats and others have accused Republicans and President Bush of playing politics with the Schiavo case. Let's hope so. Unlike most, this is a necessary politics that ought to draw the whole country into the argument. . . . Republicans are said to have a pro-life litmus test for judicial nominations. Does this mean that President Hillary Clinton's litmus test would require her judicial nominees to be: pro-abortion, pro partial birth abortion, pro right-to-suicide, and pro pull the plug on medical cases deemed hopeless?"

And something else to ponder - a question was brought up today by Rush Limbaugh during the third hour of his broadcast. If the Left is, in fact, on the right (meaning correct) side of the Shiavo debate, why has Hillary offered nary a single word on TerriÂ’s "right to die"? The silence speaks volumes.

Posted by: Gary at 02:41 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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