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Brother’s Keeper


The Terri Schiavo case has been so annoying – even Conservatives are getting impatient — that it’s been easy to lose site of the longer-term politics here.
This isn’t about pay-back to the Christian Right on President Bush’s part. He has no reason to return any favors; he’s leaving office in three years. He can’t run again. So Terri Schiavo isn’t about him or the last election; it’s not more evidence of his religious zealotry.

No, this case is about the future. It’s about keeping religious groups loyal to the next member of the family – not the party, the family — who wants to be president. It’s also a direct appeal to Catholic voters who the Republicans started to inch over the party line into their column last election. The penny finally dropped here when I saw Jeb Bush, governor of Florida – a man who has a troubled daughter of his own, the Bush brother expected to run for the presidency last time around – replace his brother in the spotlight. Today’s New York Times follows up with more Bush maneuvering.
Will it work? Perhaps. Polls are showing the most dissatisfaction directed at Congress and there are no Bushes there. Not yet, anyway. So far, House Majority Leader Tom Delay has sucked up most of the blame or responsibility. If he goes – and I think he will, why else would he have grabbed this political lifesaver for all its worth? – some of the anger over Congressional interference will go with him. That leaves the Bushes, you’ll notice, in the clear.
Over at, Erick-Woods Erickson has said he thinks the Schiavo case is being used to fire up evangelicals over the Supreme Court nomination fights, expected to break out any minute now. Perhaps. But one of the quieter lessons of this case is that picking judges by ideology doesn’t work: From Judge Greer in Pinellas County (hardly an estuary of Liberalism) to the full Supreme Court, Terry Schaivo’s political cause has not overridden the legal merits – or lack thereof – of her case.
Strategically this is a hard political argument to make. It’s an even more difficult strategy to implement. But it’s worth thinking about. Judges are not predictable. They’re not supposed to be, either.
FOOTNOTE: Erickson is an attorney and takes a few moments at RedState to offer some general advice on how to avoid Terry Schiavo’s fate. It’s worth taking a few minutes to see what he has to say and how it relates to the laws in his state, Georgia.
I’ll add my own two cents here. Very few people die quickly anymore. Regardless of your age, take a few minutes and write down – just fire up Microsoft Word and type a few lines, do it now — how you would like to be cared for if you can’t speak for yourself. Give it to you doctor. And tell you doctor whose instruction to follow if something happens to you. Give that person a copy, too (you can seal the envelope).

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 9:55 AM | Permalink

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