Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Pyrrhic Victory, but for whom?

Fanatical Christian activists want the Federal judiciary to decide whether Terri Schiavo's right to due process under the U.S. Constitution has been violated by her own state's judiciary. Sound complicated? They succeeded in getting the Republican president to sign into law a measure demanding just that. The measure was sponsored by a Republican senator, and then passed by a Republican-controlled House --- not exactly what one might expect from the supposed defenders of states' rights. A federal judge ruled this morning that Terri Schiavo's parents had failed to prove "a substantial likelihood of success" if their case returned to court, and refused to order doctors to reinsert her feeding tube. The Bush administration, of course, then told the press they were unhappy with the ruling. This is all they needed to do. Now, they think, they can take another Senate seat from the Democrats in Florida.

Much had been made of the Democratic response to the congressional measure --- either outrage at the weakness displayed by Democratic senators for letting it pass without delaying tactics (it would have passed anyway), or satisfaction that they were instead letting the measure go unchallenged so that the Republicans would effectively hang themselves if the federal judge assigned to the case ruled that Congress had yet again exceeded its authority in even proposing such a law.

I fear the fault, dear Democrats, lies not in your stars but in yourselves. You think you have been taken hostage by ignorant zealots all over the country, and that there is nothing you can do about it now. I agree. But, just wait. You will see the only power left to you in the form of parliamentary procedure evaporate even further, as these minority activists install their toadies in the rest of your seats, one by one. No one's going to vote for you anymore if you don't stand up for what an overhwelming majority of the country thinks is right.


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