Monday, March 28, 2005

Hello. We're the rest of the fucking country.

And the public backpedaling begins now.

Public displeasure prompts US politicians to tread gently in Schiavo case

WASHINGTON (AFP) - One week after the US Congress passed extraordinary legislation aimed at having Terry Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted, public displeasure appears to have prompted bill supporters to downplay the significance of their intervention.

(snip)

But Schiavo appeared to be in her final hours early Monday after days without food and water following rulings by Florida and federal courts refusing to order her feeding tube reinserted -- despite the intervention from politicians in Washington.

Since then, several nationwide polls have registered broad public disapproval of the federal intervention.

In a poll by ABC News last week, 70 percent of respondents said congressional legislation moving the dispute to federal court was "inappropriate," while just 27 percent found the federal intervention "appropriate."

Public displeasure appears to have caught political Washington off guard after the Schiavo case became a rallying cry for conservatives and members of Christian anti-abortion groups, who believed their cause would gain traction because of the celebrated right-to-life case.

During hours of congressional debate leading up to the vote, the bill's mostly conservative lawmakers hailed the legislation as an important inroad in support of a "culture of life." On Sunday however they seemed to tread more cautiously.

"What Congress did, it seems to me, was not all that extraordinary," said Mitch McConnell, one of the Senate's top Republicans, on the Fox News Sunday program. He likened the lawmakers' intervention to the sort of judicial review that routinely takes place in death penalty cases.

"What we simply did was grant to the courts an opportunity to review the case -- something they do in habeas corpus petitions in death penalty cases all the time," he said adding, that at any rate, Republicans were no more culpable than Democrats in passing the legislation.

(snip)

Critics weighing the potential political fallout have accused conservatives of demagoguing the tragedy -- especially after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told a recent conservative gathering that Republicans could score easy points against Democrats because of the Schiavo case.

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to elevate the visibility of what's going on in America," DeLay told a meeting of the Family Research Council earlier this month.

"We have to do everything that is in our power to save Terri Schiavo and anybody else that may be in this kind of position," he said.

(snip)

Representative Dave Weldon of Florida, one of the chief Republican backers of the Schiavo bill, blamed the media for the public's opposition, and said that on the "issue of life ... we, as conservatives, are always fighting an uphill battle.

"We have the media totally against us. The arguments are always presented in the headlines in language that works against us," he said on ABC television.

(snip)

Yes, that's right. The media was calling for Terri to be snuffed ASAP. That's why all of the maudlin coverage was given to the Schindlers and vilified Michael Schiavo.

I fucking give up.