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“Another Terri Schiavo Moment”: Are Republicans Falling Into A Democratic Trap On Transgender Bathrooms?

I first began to suspect Democrats of throwing chum into troubled waters on transgender-bathroom labeling upon reading reports that conservatives were determined to launch a platform fight at the Republican convention to make sure “bathrooms” were an important part of the GOP agenda. Yeah, bathrooms. Ridiculous, right? Not if you are a conservative religious activist who believes LGBT rights opened the gates of hell and are ushering in the End Times. I’m sure more than a few Christian Right folk heard about criticisms of the North Carolina bathroom access law and thought: This is what we’ve been talking about all these years.

So suddenly there’s a new issue on the horizon that has not only caused some problems between the presumptive presidential nominee of the GOP and its most important constituency group, but that is distracting Republicans into a fight most of them — and certainly Donald Trump — probably don’t want to participate in.

The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent takes a look today at the Obama administration’s directive to schools across the country to let transgendered students decide which bathroom to use, and discussion of the issue by other liberals, and concludes that Democrats are “leaning in” on the issue.  Sure looks that way to me, too. Yes, the schools directive was bland and bureaucratic, and not really mandatory, but was nonetheless designed to set cultural conservatives off like a rocket, partly because of the subject matter and partly because it was an example of federal “meddling” with local control of schools, which a lot of these folks deplore as Big Secular Government getting between godly parents and their impressionable children.

It’s unlikely a whole lot of swing voters care that much about this issue one way or another, and those who think about it for five minutes probably figure the administration’s approach was a reasonable solution to a small but unavoidable problem. But even as they (and the schools, and the country) move on, conservative activists will remain transfixed, fighting for new bathroom labeling laws in the many states they control, fighting for platform planks, fighting with Republican politicians who are embarrassed by the whole thing, and maybe even fighting with each other on how to fight this new exotic import from Sodom and Gomorrah. This could even become a Terri Schiavo moment, wherein many Americans discover once again that the Christian Right and the political party in its thrall just don’t look at the world the way the rest of us do.


By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 13, 2016

May 15, 2016 Posted by | North Carolina Bathroom Bill, Religious Right, Terri Schiavo | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“No Is A Poor Answer”: Any Regrets Over The Terri Schiavo Fight?’

At last week’s CPAC event, Fox’s Sean Hannity asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), “Any regrets over the Terri Schiavo fight?” The likely presidential candidate responded that he has no regrets at all.

“[I]n this case, here was a woman who was vulnerable, and the court, because of our laws, didn’t allow her – they were going to allow her to be starved to death,” Bush said. “So we passed a law, Terri’s Law that was a year later ruled unconstitutional. I stayed within the law, but I acted on my core belief that the most vulnerable in our society should be in the front of the line. They should receive our love and protection. And that’s exactly what I did.”

The far-right audience applauded the answer, though Bloomberg Politics reports today that some social conservatives in Iowa are still bothered Bush didn’t defy the judiciary and ignore court orders.

Michael Schiavo, however, has a very different perspective.

Michael Schiavo was the husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead woman from the Tampa Bay area who ended up at the center of one of the most contentious, drawn-out conflicts in the history of America’s culture wars. The fight over her death lasted almost a decade. It started as a private legal back-and-forth between her husband and her parents. Before it ended, it moved from circuit courts to district courts to state courts to federal courts, to the U.S. Supreme Court, from the state legislature in Tallahassee to Congress in Washington. The president got involved. So did the pope.

But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates…. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it’s the Jebbest thing Jeb’s ever done.

“It was a living hell,” Michael Schiavo told Politico, “and I blame him.”

Folks should read the whole report to get a complete picture, but there’s one angle to this story that often goes overlooked, and which Jeb will probably have to comment on sooner or later. Those who followed the story at the time probably remember the gist of the heartbreaking controversy: Terri Schiavo spent a decade in a vegetative state. Michael Schiavo eventually decided it was time to remove his wife from the feeding tubes that were keeping her alive, and he went to court to get approval to allow Terri to die naturally.

Jeb Bush intervened and a political circus ensued.

What I’d forgotten about was that Terri Schiavo’s death did not end the controversy. In the summer of 2005, a few months after Schiavo passed, Jeb Bush asked a prosecutor to investigate whether Michael Schiavo called 911 too slowly 15 years earlier.

In other words, based on nothing, Florida’s then-governor kept pushing the Terri Schiavo controversy, even after she was gone, suggesting foul play may have been a factor in her case. Is it any wonder Michael Schiavo blames Bush for turning his life into “a living hell”?

It fell to Florida’s state attorney to tell Bush there was simply no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

“Any regrets over the Terri Schiavo fight?” is a good question. “No” is a poor answer.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 6, 2015

March 7, 2015 Posted by | CPAC, Jeb Bush, Terri Schiavo | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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