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March 25, 2005

Devout wimp

Adam Nagourney on Jeb Bush's towering stature and huuuge political pedigree [NYT permalink]

In a Polarizing Case, Jeb Bush Cements His Political Stature

WASHINGTON, March 24 - Gov. Jeb Bush's last-minute intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, even after the president had ended his own effort to keep her alive, may have so far failed in a legal sense, but it has cemented the religious and social conservative credentials of a man whose political pedigree is huge and whose political future remains a subject of intense speculation.

On one level, the Florida governor's emergence as the most prominent politician still fighting, despite a string of court and legislative defeats, to have a feeding tube reinserted in Ms. Schiavo was very much in keeping with someone who has repeatedly declared a deep religious faith.

Several associates noted that he had been devoutly religious longer than President Bush, and even critics said his efforts - prodding the Florida Legislature and the courts and defying much of the electorate - were rooted in a deep-seated opposition to abortion and euthanasia rather than in political positioning.

Yet inevitably, the events of recent days have fed the mystique of Mr. Bush as a reluctant inheritor of perhaps America's most famous dynasty since the Adams family two centuries ago.

He has assumed a very high profile in this polarizing case just as Republicans are contemplating the void that will be left when President Bush begins his walk off the stage in two years or so. At a time when many of the most frequently mentioned possibilities to lead the party are moderates like John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the governor now certainly has a place, if he wants it, as a prime contender in what is shaping up as a fight to represent a conservative wing that has proved increasingly dominant.

"He has strongly identified himself with the Christian conservative movement," said Matthew Corrigan, a political science professor at the University of North Florida. "If the Republican Party is looking for someone with good ties with the Christian conservative movement, he is the one who is going to have them."

And yet:

Gov. Bush Cancels Appearance at Good Friday Service for Fear of Facing Schiavo Supporters

To: National Desk

Contact: Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition [ed:!] [phone number removed]

TALLAHASSEE, Fl., March 25 /Christian Wire Service/ -- Governor Jeb Bush was scheduled to attend and participate in an outdoor Good Friday service at 12:30 pm, at Florida State University. According to event organizers, the Governor canceled at the last minute.

As part of this event Jeb Bush would have publicly read from a printed program that includes the following text entitled the Fifth Station of the Cross; "Lord Jesus, sometimes I don't want to do what is right or to help someone in need, but you want me to respond positively to the needs of others in my life. Help me to say 'yes' and be willing to give heroic assistance to all who are in need."

"It is clear that Governor Bush canceled his scheduled participation in this Stations of the Cross service out of fear and guilt of seeing supporters of Terri Schiavo pleading for her life. Our prayer for Governor Bush is the same prayer he would have prayed publicly on this Good Friday, had he kept his scheduled appointment.

[Via Atrios.]

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It's Recall Time


They did it to Governor Gray Davis in California, why not move to recall Governor Jeb Bush from office in Florida? And, if there's no recall provision under Florida law, why not start a petition drive to amend the Florida Constitution to remove him from office?

Let me add a dimension to the Governor of Florida's role in life and death the case of Terri Schiavo.

If Governor Jeb Bush were to direct that Terri's life be ended through the injection of a life terminating shot, could he be charged with murder?

Many would jump to a conclusion and say yes. I say, "Wait a minute."

The State and Federal courts have thus far refused to allow a feeding tube be hooked back up to Terri. The local medical facility has refused to allow outsiders the opportunity to provide her with water. So she die from starvation.

The courts have sealed her fate. That fate is death. A legal death sentence.

Instead of simply witnessing the continuing legal and emotional battle (both sides - I've read plenty of emotional posts from numerous bloggers; some have been quite ugly and ignorant (again, both sides), where is the single law brief submission to the court(s) requesting an alternative form of causing the court mandated legal death?

The court has determined that death is the penalty of her medical condition. Period.

Why can't she be administered an injection to end her life? Where are the discussions about this readily available alternative?

If there was ever a time to raise this humane issue once again with the American public, this is the time.

If a court were to approve such form of legal death of a severely disabled individual under formal medical care, the court decision would establish legal precedent for similar death decisions by the States or the Federal Government.

In the absence of such a court decision, it is my layman's judgment that Governor Bush should not be charged with murder if he authorizes a life terminating injection for Terri Schiavo. As the Head of State, within his general authority, he should be able to determine if a more humane method of complying with the lawful decisions rendered by the State and Federal courts can be administered to Terri.

He would have a vet do it for a dog or a cat, if death was ordered by a court.

Why not do it for a human being?

This decision would, at the very least, eliminate the starvation issue and argument raging across the United States of America.

Come on, Governor. Step up. Do the humane thing for a citizen of your State. Authorize a life terminating injection, similar to the ones authorized to end the lives of other animals.

Since the Noble Blogger has brought up Adam Nagourney's article in a less-than-flattering way, let me refer to James Wolcott's a long dissection of it:

http://jameswolcott.com/archives/2005/03/puppy_licks_mas.php

To whet your appetite, here is the first sentence:

"Have an airsick bag handy should you embark upon Adam Nagourney's lipsmacking love letter to Jeb Bush on page one of today's NY Times."

and here is the last:

"Any blogger who uses the phrase "the liberal New York Times" without irony should be returned to the pet store as a dead parrot."

The whole thing is worth reading.

SF

Movie Guy:

There's a fundamental difference between lethal injection and removal of life support (nutrition via PEG is life support). The injection directly causes a death, withdrawal of life support allows someone to complete the dying process of a person (in a medically futile situation) that has invasively & artificially been put in a holding pattern. If Terri Schiavo could eat/drink and felt the urge to do so she could; unfortunately she cannot, of her own volition, ingest the fluids and nutrients required to continue to support the processes of her organs. Most importantly, she will never have the capability nor will she be aware of this information (this is what differentiates her from other people requiring life supporting care/therapy). In theory, there is no difference between life support provided by mechanical ventilation and invasive methods of feeding; just as you can make the argument that invasive methods to deliver fluids/nutrition to her organs/cells keep her body functioning, you could make the same argument that mechanical ventilation is the oxygen delivering method when someone cannot breathe on their own.

In removing the PEG tube you remove artificial means of life support; by performing a lethal injection, you would be providing an artificial means to bring about death.

A religious friend of mine has an interesting take on the situation:

"Regarding the Schiavo case: There is a theological precedent for euthenasia in cases where death is inevitable: Christ himself. After He had suffered the maximum suffering that torture and crucifixion could impart and after he felt the horro of an absence of God, there was nothing left that needed to be done in his earthly life, and so God extinguished his life, "Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit." The two thieves on either side of him lingered much longer and had their legs broken to kill them--by that point Christ was already dead. I think it is obvious to all but the most deluded that Ms. Schiavo is never coming back. It is time to let nature take its course."

Ol Cranky

I believe that you miss the whole point.

MG

MG:

Oh crap, I now have to count myself among those who take themselves too seriously!

OC

Why can't she be administered an injection to end her life? Where are the discussions about this readily available alternative? If there was ever a time to raise this humane issue once again with the American public, this is the time.

I've been thinking the same thing, Movie Guy. I think you know as well as I do that the likelihood of the Jebster coming to his senses in this way is about equal to that of Peggy Noonan writing a column entitled "Oh, just let her die already."

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