From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog: No shame left on Capitol Hill

Friday, March 18, 2005

No shame left on Capitol Hill

It's all over the blogsphere, but I'll tie to Kevin Drum's post on the latest sample of your tax dollars at work:

The Senate Health Committee has requested that Terri Schiavo and her husband, Michael, appear at an official committee hearing on March 28. Earlier Friday, a House committee was issuing congressional subpoenas to stop doctors from disconnecting the tube. ....A statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Friday said the purpose of the hearing was to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people.

It's not just that this is an obvious abuse of congressional power, since subpoenas are designed to compel testimony and Terri Schiavo is obviously not going to testify about anything. What's really nauseating is the almost slavering Republican eagerness to treat Schiavo as a common media spectacle. What are they going to do? Wheel her into a committee room under the klieg lights so the whole country can gape in wonderment at a comatose woman? Why not just set up a circus freak show on Capitol Hill and be done with it?
This one just utterly and completely boggles my mind. What practical purpose can this serve other than to allow politicians to grandstand, and maybe give the anti-abortion movement some ground on which to try and trumpet their agenda.

There's a part of me that hopes this backfires on Frist horribly. On the website Schiavo's parents keep up, the video is horribly manipulated to try and create the illusion of awareness in Terri's poor broken body. In live hearings I would have to think that the image presented will be markedly different. And that's even assuming that she survives the trip. Wouldn't it be the ultimate in irony if the trauma of the flight up somehow contributed to the end of her suffering? My only concern then would be her parents making her some kind of martyr to their twisted cause.

Brea told me she thinks there's a special section of hell reserved for the people using this woman to their ends. My thought is that if there's any justice, that should they find themselves in the same condition they get to spend twice as long in limbo as Terri has thus far.

Update: Atrios provides some anecdotal evidence that makes me hope my theory of a backlash will hold water.

Second update: The Rude Pundit also puts out the unvarnished opinion on this turn of events. Not really work safe, as he puts some pretty blunt language to work. He is, after all, the RUDE pundit.