Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dowd on Schiavo

Maureen Dowd made a couple of points that have cropped up elsewhere that seem to capsulate the core response from the left regarding the Schiavo case:

Republicans easily abandon their cherished principles of individual privacy and
states rights when their personal ambitions come into play.
What would the left do without the hypocrisy card? Would they be able to form an argument? Hypocrisy is not the end all be all to me. While it’s a weakness that can rightly be exploited – as Jonah Goldberg points out here – it’s not the worst thing that a politician can display, especially in a open democracy like ours where leaders have to pacify constituents by compromises and shifts.

So if a politician has two stances – one for the right to life and another for state’s rights – and those two positions come in conflict, should that politician avoid choosing between them because doing so would be hypocrisy? And as much as Republicans believe in state’s rights, they also believe in the 14th Amendment. So, if the politician believes that Terri Schiavo is being unduly denied her right to life, and the Florida supreme court is not adequately protecting her, then would it not stand to reason that the Senate should act within its powers to protect her?

As for Terri being denied her right to life – that point is admittedly not a proven fact. But there are questions, which is why Congress wanted more appeals on the case. As a friend of mine said, perhaps Terri would have a better chance if she was on death row. Krauthammer made a pretty good assessment when he described the issue as a choice between a legal travesty and a moral tragedy.

And where Dowd thinks that Republicans are advancing there own ambitions, I think it’s more a case of Republicans putting their money where their mouth is.

Dowd quoting Republican House Rep. Christopher Shays:
"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy. There are
going to be repercussions from this vote."
We will dismiss the assertion that having a Christian element in the party that actually influences party platforms equates a theocracy. At the time of this post (and Dowd’s column) it is appearing less and less likely that the tube will be reinserted into Terri. With Terri’s death dies the argument of Congressional overreach, because it is hard to make such an argument for something that failed. There may very well be repercussions from this issue, but it will hurt the (mostly silent) Democrats more than the Republicans. Why? Because it will fuel Bush’s argument about an out of control judiciary, which has stonewalled any attempts at further deliberation. The more people think about that, the more they won’t understand why Terri had to be starved to death now. And it appears that Congress was no match for the courts. All the while, the left has ridiculed the Republicans for refusing to accept decisions that they (the Republicans) disagree with. In other words, to listen to the left, the Supreme Court is the one branch of government that should be above checks and balances. And, by proxy, it certainly won’t help the Democrats filibustering Bush’s nominees of strict constitutionalists. In a cold political sense, Terri’s death is the worst thing that can happen to Democrats.

Finally, when Dowd charges Bush with packing the courts, she should probably learn what “packing the courts” actually means. It’s not replacing retiring judges with conservative nominees. It is creating new seats to fill with judges of your own liking. The last president to do that was FDR, who was frustrated with the judicial opposition to New Deal programs.

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