If anyone doubts President Bush and Republican leaders tried to pull a fast one in the Terri Schiavo feeding tube frenzy, read on:
· The Associated Press reports "tens of thousands" of patients die annually when life support is withdrawn—with nary a plea for special congressional legislation or street demonstrations by religious fanatics. Could the locale (Florida) and the Bush family's presidential dynasty plans for First Brother Jeb Bush be behind the staged Schiavo spectacle, just as the Republican-orchestrated soap opera in 2000 over 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez's return to Cuba was designed to thrust the young Florida governor into the national spotlight?
· A Republican "talking points" script called Terri Schiavo a "great political issue" to "excite" Christian voters. Some purity of motive, eh?
· Out front dripping with saccharine holiness was oily House Majority Leader Tom ("The Hammer") DeLay, Congress' most ethically corrupt member, who's been thrice chastised for ethical breeches, is under investigation by a Texas grand jury, and now accused of illegal foreign vacation trips hosted by lobbyists. Some exemplar of "moral values."
· Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a physician, looked at video of Terri Schiavo to conclude she's not in a vegetative state. If Frist diagnosed his patients that way, he'd be hauled before medical examiners for discipline.
· Republican congressmen eager to prove "compassion" suggested dragging Schiavo in a wheelchair, complete with drool, to a televised congressional circus.
· Rather than receive paperwork via customary courier, President Bush with full dramatic flourish rushed to Washington from his Texas ranch in $50,000-per-hour Air Force One to sign legislation overriding a Florida judge and giving power to federal courts to decide Schiavo's fate. So much for the Republican blood oath of respecting power of the states.
· All this anguish was cooked up after the U.S. Supreme Court and more than a dozen lesser courts approved removing Schiavo's life support.
If Machiavellian presidential manipulator Karl Rove achieves his vow to transform the United States into a Republican nation, shams for molly-coddling religious right-wingers won't be necessary. Rove's grand design would have state and federal courts, legislatures, city halls and statehouses impose Republican conservative dogma without political or judicial questions. Shades of Stalin.
A familiar pejorative describes women who sell their bodies for money. The word also usefully applies to politicians who sell their office for votes with bogus, blasphemous claims of religious motives.
And two other words fit members of Congress who wilted, dodged and weaved until the last minute in opposing Republican madness.