The terrible thing, politically, is that while this should be suicide for everyone involved in this special session of congress, it sets up the simple analogy that Republicans love: Republicans = compassionate, life-affirming regular guys who will go to bat for even one person who needs their help; and Democrats just don't care and hope this woman dies. It's much more complicated than that, but this equation is the simplest (even though it's wrong) and the one that Republicans can rely on to be absorbed by enough Americans to maintain their immage as the good guys.
Republicans love these complex issues which they can paint as black-and-white to their advantage. Dems need to find out how to recast the dialogue in a simple way that will undercut the Republican image.
How about "Republicans think the government [or "Washington", to borrow GOP language] should be in charge of the most heartbreaking and intimate decision a family can face."
On TAPPED, Sam Rosenfeld call this the "none of the government's damn business" approach, and I agree that it's clearly the best one available to us, since it's simple, clear and touches the hot-buttons of quite a few people, of widely differing ideologies.
I also agree with Ezra Klein who feels that simply waiting for the law to be struck down as unconsitutional doesn't do us much good:
What'll happen then is that the rabid pro-lifers will believe Republicans went to the wall for then only to be foiled by liberal, activist judges, thus redoubling their efforts to appoint a wingnut Supreme Court nominee and pack the courts with sympathetic crazies. And that will all occur under-the-radar.
If we publicized this fight now, while the media is attentive and congress is publicly deliberating, at least the average American will get to see how profoundly unserious and out of control the GOP is. We have to stop letting these battles be fought outside the public eye. They keep motivating their forces by supporting them in high profile fights knowing that, months later, their ridiculous bills will be slapped down and the constituencies they pleased will be all the angrier. It's the cycle of backlash politics and the only way to throw a wrench into it is to bring it out in the open.
Klein's analysis of how this will play out echoes my own thoughts from the other day:
[T]he GOP will have gotten its publicity, the Democrats will have been wedged into an awkward position, "liberal judges" will have been demonized (again), Schiavo will be forced to spend more money unnecessarily, and the situation will end up exactly where it began.
BTW, unless he had something to do with passing extraordinary unconsitutional laws in the middle of the night, Kevin Drum might want to consider stopping his apologies for blogging about the Schiavo case. We didn't want this to be a Federal issue, we didn't drag it into the spotlight, but it's there and we can't do anything about, so we've got a obligation to deal with it, don't we? Especially when it shows up our opponents as the opportunistic panderers they really are.
Americans clearly would have liked to see an organized effort to defend the right of families to make difficult personal decisions without our government intruding on them. But Dems would not oblige.
Addenda: Let me go a bit further in thinking about how this will play out.
First, notice that you've already got the high muckety-muck wingnuts bitching about Judge Wittemore's decision --
"You have judicial tyranny here," Santorum told WABC Radio in New York. "Congress passed a law that said that you had to look at this case. He simply thumbed his nose at Congress."
"What the statute that [Whittemore] was dealing with said was that he shall hold a trial de novo," the Pennsylvania Republican explained. "That means he has to hold a new trial. That's what the statute said."
"What he's saying is, 'I don't have to hold a new trial because I've already determined that her rights have been protected,'" Santorum said.
"That's nice for him to say that But that's not what Congress told him to do," he added. "Judges should obey the law. And this judge - in my mind - simply ignored the law."
-- and that's right in line with my prediction that we'd hear the usual blather about "liberal judges" and "judicial activism" ("judicial tyranny" is a new one to me, and another good indication that the right has better ad men -- or are they gag writers? -- than we do).
One ruling and they're already working themselves into a frenzy -- but what's next? Appeals, this ruling either denied or upheld, emergency appeal to the US Supreme Court or else a full trial ordered, briefs filed on the unconstitutionality of the law, that issue litigated and appealed and (perhaps) taken up by the Supremes, etc. etc.
It seems inevitable that Terri Schiavo is going to die at some point in this process (unless Scalia intercedes and orders her feeding tube put back in -- not "reconnected," as I heard one reporter on CNN refer to it, but shoved forcibly down her throat[note: this assertion on my part was incorrect]), and if that happens, that Terri Schiavo dies before these "heroic" efforts to "save" her can be fully played out, the "Culture of Life" crowd is really going to go ballistic, and the right is going to go into overdrive to blame it all on Democrats, liberals and the rest of their usual demons -- and that campaign might well find some traction, in spite of the fact that the large majority of Americans don't want the Congressional intervention, wouldn't want it to happen to them, prefer to have a spouse make a decision over the government, and so on.
[Note: The conclusion of the "Addenda" was edited and re-written somewhat. -- Ed]
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.