All Wet on Schiavo Story
wisdom is clear: Washington's intervention in the Terri Schiavo
case hurt the GOP big-time. A Time Magazine poll found that three-quarters
of the public thought Congress was wrong to intervene after a
hospice, under court order, pulled the disabled woman's feeding
tube, while 70 percent disapproved of President Bush's role in
new Zogby International poll shows that, when asked questions
that go to the heart of the Schiavo matter, the public is very
much in sync with the failed attempt by Congress and Bush to save
the woman's life.
a poll commissioned by the Christian Defense Coalition, found
that by a two-to-one margin -- 44 percent versus 24 percent --
likely voters believe the law should assume a patient wants to
live and be kept alive with the help of a feeding tube, if a patient
-- like Schiavo -- left no written statement on end-of-life care.
Should hearsay be admissible (as happened with Schiavo), when
courts decide if a feeding tube should be removed? Some 57 percent
said 'no'; 31 percent said 'yes'. If a disabled person is not
terminally ill, not in a coma, not on life support and without
a written end-of-life directive, should he or she be denied food
and water? Among those polled, 80 percent said no.
is not clear-cut. A majority of those questioned said elected
officials should not intervene when the courts deny rights to
the disabled and that elected officials shouldn't intervene to
protect a disabled person's right to live, despite conflicting
testimony. On the other hand, a razor-thin majority, 44 percent,
agreed that the feds should intervene if a state court denies
food and water to a disabled person; 43 percent disagreed.
line: The conventional wisdom is off. It may well be that other
polls showed voters disapproving of what Washington did, because
they didn't know Schiavo left no written directive, that there
was conflicting testimony on her end-of-life wishes or that her
husband had two children with another woman.
wisdom is also wrong in defining this case as a GOP issue. Not
one Democratic senator voted against the measure to send the case
to federal courts. As the Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense
Fund noted, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Hillary
Clinton each had a choice to vote against the bill, "and
Jesse Jackson, Nat Hentoff and Ralph Nader opposed removing the
feeding tube. Ditto disability advocates. It's a bedrock issue:
You don't deny food and water to a disabled woman unless you know
for sure that she wants you to.
post-Schiavo spin is that the Democrats are the party that wants
to keep the government out of family life. Sure, that works --
if you forget that the Democrats want to take teenagers' birth
control and abortion decisions away from parents, Democrats want
taxpayers to pay for said birth control and abortions, and Democrats
made spousal abuse a federal crime.
that Americans opposed what Washington did, but a more in-depth
poll suggests most voters strongly support the sentiments that
drove Washington to intervene. The Democratic Party wants government
out of family matters -- unless they involve children. And the
memo that was supposed to show how craven the GOP is instead shows
how gullible the media can be.
that, the convention wisdom is solid.
2005 Creators Syndicate
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