Just Above Sunset
March 27, 2005 - Cynicism 101

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OK, the Repugs got the Schiavo case into the jurisdiction of a federal court.

Which way do you think Repug Headquarters wants the court to rule? You wouldn't be a cynic if you think the Repug brain(dis)trust hopes, desperately hopes, the court rules to let the woman die. She is of much more value to the Repugs dead than she is forgotten and vegetative. And even better for the Repugs - the slow death, over seven-ten days: Jeebus, opportunities for demagoguery like this don't come along very often. Please, Repugs pray, let her die!

So, if that happens, it takes very little imagination to guess what the Repugs will do as far as exploiting the issue. But, suppose the court rules to reinsert the feeding tube: what do the Repugs do then? They can crow, but the world will move on. Damn, judge, Repugs pray to their god, leave her to die. Videotaped, of course....


Just Above Sunset columnist Bob Patterson –


You want cynicism?  You've come to the right lister for that.

The Republicans can't lose.

If they put the feeding tube back in, the pro Christians will set up a branch office in the West Wing.

If the judges rule not to do that?  Then the Republicans can advocate the use of the change of procedures for the selection of judges to break the logjam in the approval process for judges.

The folks who want to change the cloture rules and bust the filibuster will have a (dare I say it?) martyr for their cause!  A cause without a martyr is just a point of view, but a cause with a martyr is the answer to a  PR agent's prayer.


(And about the disparity of the fuss over Schiavo's life and no worry about the death of Iraqi civilians, I quote Joseph Stalin "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." as quoted in Churchill's "The Gathering Storm.")


Besides you don't have to pay $$$ to keep a martyr's memory alive.


Cynicism?  We’re talking pragmatism.


Okay - There was Justice John Paul Stevens' dissent in Bush versus Gore containing this - “The endorsement of that position [the state must lose its jurisdiction in the vote counting] by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law.”  And so on… 


Upend the courts that have jurisdiction and find a new jurisdiction to get what you want.  In 2000 it was the states regulate the election except when they don’t.  Now it is the same – the previous nineteen rulings in the appropriate jurisdictions produced an unacceptable result regarding this poor woman.  New jurisdiction – federal this time.  Wrong court… but if you want the “right” answer…  Keep her sort of alive, or whatever it is for her.


Commentary here“… There can be nothing more activist than members of congress violating the separation of powers as they did this past week-end. Courts are called activist when they hand down decisions that the wingnuts don't like. States rights are a principle that the wingnuts hold dear when they don't hold federal power. Now they are holding midnight sessions of congress to overturn 19 state judges and interfere in people's most personal decisions. Please.”


And here – “We’re a law-based society. Rules matter. Precedents matter. Separation of powers and institutional autonomy matter. To the Republicans in power and the conservative intelligentsia lending legitimacy to their governance, apparently, such things don’t matter at all. Congressional Republicans capped a week during which they definitively demonstrated that small-government fiscal conservatism as a guiding legislative principle is completely dead by whipping up this grotesque circus of ill-informed hysteria and rampant trampling of rules and procedural limits. There’s nothing ‘hypocritical’ in pointing out the apparently direct relationship between the ideological bankruptcy of Republican governance and their inability to recognize any limits on their actions.”


And this from Digby at Hullabaloo - 


I wonder if judges throughout the country realize that they must now be whores for the right wing or they will be slandered for being unpardonably biased any time they rule against the interests of radical Republicans? Do they know that any judgment that differs from Randall Terry's or Tom DeLay's is no longer attributable to a difference in legal opinion but is instead considered a reflection of their dishonesty and corruption? Perhaps many of them don't mind being a rubber stamp for Grover Norquist and Jerry Falwell. It certainly makes the job easier.

I would imagine that some judges, however, might just think that they represent one of the branches of government and have a duty to uphold the rule of law even when Steve Forbes doesn't like the result. (It isn't just the religious freaks who want their way with this.) You would certainly think that conservatives would think it's a good idea for the nation to have some faith in the judicial system and not assume that every judge who rules in ways that certain people don't agree with is a hack for a political agenda. Sometime soon Republican legal scholars and judges may come to rue the day they let a radical vocal minority have this kind of power over their party. They gave away their own in the process.


I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know jack about the law.  But I see nineteen decisions one way – and the new guys in power saying “not good enough.”  The previous judgments are said to be driven by adjudicators with a death-loving Godless liberal agenda.  They are obviously power-mad usurpers – activists - who want to impose new rules they only make up out of thin air because they’re drunk with power.  It cannot be a mere difference in legal opinion.  These evil judges are trying to win the great battle of Eros versus Thanatos – and they are on the side of death and the devil, not “The Culture of Life,” whatever that means.  Yep.  Evil dudes.  Take the jurisdiction away from them.


But the husband of the woman is getting at tad peeved – as shown in an interview with the Saint Petersburg Tampa Times over last weekend -  


… "Come down, President Bush," Schiavo said in a telephone interview. "Come talk to me. Meet my wife. Talk to my wife and see if you get an answer. Ask her to lift her arm to shake your hand. She won't do it."


She won't, Schiavo said, because she can't.


He made a similar offer to the governor last week, saying lawmakers interfering in his wife's life know nothing about the case. So far, Gov. Bush hasn't responded to the offer.


… "Instead of worrying about my wife, who was granted her wishes by the state courts the past seven years, they should worry about the pedophiles killing young girls," Schiavo said, referring to a local case. "Why doesn't Congress worry about people not having health insurance? Or the budget? Let's talk about all the children who don't have homes."


He said U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is leading a charge to extend Terri Schiavo's life, is a "little slithering snake" pandering for votes.


"To make comments that Terri would want to live, how do they know?" Schiavo said of the members of Congress who want to keep his wife alive.


"Have they ever met her?" Schiavo said. "What color are her eyes? What's her middle name? What's her favorite color? They don't have any clue who Terri is. They should all be ashamed of themselves."


Not likely.  And a "little slithering snake?"  Cool.


I’m getting tired of all this.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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