Extremists on Life Issue Alienating Public
The Washington Post reports that Republican leaders who intervened in the Terri Schiavo case may well face a backlash from a public that’s much less polarized on the issue. So long as extremists on the other side continue to alienate the public with even more outrageous actions, though, the Republicans are likely to be safe.
Congressional Republicans and President Bush have seized upon the Terri Schiavo case with such fervor that they may find themselves out in front of an American public that is divided over right-to-die issues and deeply leery of government intrusion into family affairs, according to analysts and polls. Dominating a debate that many Democrats seem eager to avoid, conservative lawmakers and the White House have taken extraordinary steps to allow a federal judge to override the decisions of Florida courts to remove the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube. Antiabortion activists, a key GOP constituency, have cheered the moves, which included Bush rushing back to Washington to sign the bill in the dead of night after a rare Palm Sunday congressional session.
In another sign of the priority that the GOP has placed on the Schiavo matter, they have let it trump their traditional calls for a limited federal judiciary and respecting the “sanctity of marriage.” Bush said yesterday that his decision to fly back from his Texas ranch to the White House to sign the legislation gave Schiavo’s parents “another opportunity to save their daughter’s life.” Speaking in Tucson before an event promoting his plan to restructure Social Security, he said: “This is a complex case with serious issues. But in extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to err on the side of life.”
Republicans in Congress and administration officials say their actions are principled and courageous. Whatever the motives, dramatic actions on such a high-profile case will have repercussions in next year’s congressional elections, campaign strategists say. Polls and analyses suggest that Republicans could find themselves out of step with many Americans, especially if Democrats find a more unified voice on the subject. An ABC News poll released yesterday concluded that “Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain.”
More on the ABC poll here.
As unseemly as the actions of the Republican leadership on this issue were, however, they are much less likely to alienate moderate Americans than this sort of thing:
Daily Kos :: Culture of life
Just amazing. Thankfully, even many of Kos’ commentators are disgusted by this one.