Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Beating The Brain-Dead

Whether we want to or not, I think most people who pay attention to these things remember the circus that formed around poor Terry Schiavo. Reduced to a permanent vegetative state, her husband petitioned the state of Florida to remove her feeding tube in order to end what little was left of her life in some kind of semi-humane way. The United States Congress was actually called back from a vacation to address this particular private drama, with the extraordinary step of legislation passing the was focused on the life and impending death of a particular individual.

Fast forward, and it seems that "pro-lifers" are planning on reminding America of this entire sorry episode.
Conservatives are now brushing off the Schiavo case to use it against Thomas Perrelli, President-elect Obama’s pick for the no. 3 spot at the Justice Department. Right-wing websites are outraged at Obama’s association with Perrelli, since he was one of the lawyers who represented Michael Schiavo, who wanted his wife’s feeding tube removed. The Washington Times today reports that these conservatives are now gearing up to fight Perrelli’s nomination:
Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, derided Mr. Perrelli’s selection as “just another death-peddler Obama has added to his list of nominees.” She said he’s earned the nickname among pro-lifers of “Piranha Perrelli” for his work on the case.

Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, said several end-of-life issues could make their way to the federal level in the next four years and having Mr. Perrelli at the department means pro-life causes would have a tougher time winning those debates.

“If the Justice Department isn’t going to do anything about it, the states, what’s to stop them from cases like Schiavo and even worse cases,” Mr. McClusky said.

I just love the whole "piranha Perrelli" bit.

Far be it from me to give advice to conservatives - no one listens to me anyway - but bringing up the Schiavo case out of dedication to principle may make pro-lifers feel good about themselves, but I doubt it will do much good. Most Americans were aghast at the thought the United States Congress would intervene in the private pain of a family wrestling with the most drastic decision any could face. I was particularly horrified at the way Michael Schiavo's reputation was destroyed by the connivance of Republican politicians trying to shore up their base and a press-corps reduced to tabloid-level sensationalism, printing every accusation imaginable. The whole incident was awful, yet because the Republican Party and the pro-life movement is tone-deaf to shame, it will soon be revived. The only benefit, it seems to me, will be reminding America why it voted Democratic in the past two national election cycles.

Virtual Tin Cup

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