Wednesday, March 23, 2005

World O'Crap has been looking at right-wing opinion and finds that Christian conservatives will blame Jeb Bush (and, to a lesser extent, his brother) if Terri Schiavo dies:

Gov. Bush, put a stop to this travesty right now, for the sake of all that our nation stands for, in the interest of meriting God's merciful protection of our country in the years ahead.

If you "allow" Terri to die, you will indeed be her chief executioner.

That's one of a number of quotes from several sources S.Z. assembles. Go read -- it's amazing. Jeb is the man a lot of them plan to blame.

This means (as if it wasn't obvious) that even if the Supreme Court refuses to intervene, this won't be over -- Jeb has to save her or his base will turn on him and his career really could be at risk. He'll start by playing hardball with the Florida Senate -- which voted 21-16 on Friday not to intervene. But if that fails, I don't think we can rule out the possibility that he'll use force to keep her alive.

And that would be a watershed -- that might do what a million op-eds and a billion blog posts couldn't: persuade Americans that the far right is out of control.

If force is used to "save" Terri Schiavo, the public reaction won't be like what we saw regarding Waco or Elian. In each of those situations, the use of force was on behalf of policies Americans supported (for Waco, see footnote 2 here; for Elian, see this). We know what the polls are in this case. This will be seen as force directed not at religious crazies or the likes of the feckless, meddlesome "Miami relatives," but at the kind of sickbed virtually all of us worry about being in or standing beside. Americans can easily imagine being Terri or Michael Schiavo. Americans agree with Michael Schiavo's judgment. Thuggery against him will make a lot of Americans think:

They could do that to me. And they would, wouldn't they?

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