What's All This Then?

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

From the doctor who would be President. From the leader of the Senate who would create new rules so that judges can be appointed for life who share his and his President’s wisdom and vision. From a leader of the political party that purports to believe in a limited, non-intrusive government. Fifty eight words from a speech of two thousand, nine hundred and forty words, delivered on the floor of the United States Senate on March 17, 2004.
"Persistent vegetative state , which is what the court has ruled - I say that I question it. I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office here in the capitol, and that footage, to me, depicts something very different than persistent vegetative state."
On December 5, 2002, another Republican party bigwig, incoming Senate Majority leader Trent Lott , gave a speech honoring eight term Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina on the occasion of his 100th birthday. As part of his laudatory remarks, Lott said the following;
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Fifteen days later, Lott announced that he was resigning as Senate leader - and three days later, Bill Frist was elected by his peers to that lofty post.

When Senator Frist got up to speak on March 17, 2004, he made it clear in his opening statement that he was speaking not only as a Senator and as the leader of the Senate, but as a doctor of medicine - and made it clear that he was in a unique position to address the subject at hand - that of the life of Terri Schiavo - not just as a politician but as a medical expert.

Now the autopsy results on Terri Schiavo have been released , confirming that she was indeed in the vegetative state that Senator/Doctor Frist questioned, based on his one hour review of a home video fifteen months ago - and guess what folks? Frist didn’t say he guessed he was wrong. He says he stands by the statement he made. It wasn’t a diagnosis, he says. Of course not. It was just a little old medical opinion that he used as a prop for launching as cynical an act of political chicanery as the Senate has seen in many a year.

And this guy wants to be President?

Can’t you just see him sitting in the Oval Office watching a satellite video of some ground structures in Tanzania that his morning briefing report identified as a dairy farm with a cheese factory but that looks just like an X-Ray of one of his heart patients a few years ago that had everyone in the O.R. laughing because it looked like a nuclear warhead sitting on a ready to launch missile. "My God" yells President Frist in a flash of divine revelation. "That’s what it is. They’re about to attack us. Nuke ‘em!!"

And after the dust settles on what turns out to be an atomic cheese cloud - our atoms, their cheese - President Frist stands by his initial revelation and attack order. "I don’t care what the CIA report said and I don’t care about the fact that they have been observing Tanzania for fifteen years and that dozens of experts have submitted reports about the inner workings of that nation’s government and their military capabilities and concluded that they are a peaceful bunch and no danger to anyone, least of all the United States of America. I looked at that satellite video for an hour over some wine and cheese - and to me, the footage depicted something very different than a persistent vegetative state - I mean a dairy farm and cheese factory."

I would expect Schiavo’s parents to reject the autopsy findings. They were in denial throughout all the years of their daughter’s ordeal. I can understand it. I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have reacted in the same way if it had been a child of mine. And though I haven’t listened to any of the broadcast RWRAR’s react to the results, I would expect them to find some way to question it. After all, how can an autopsy disprove what people who were with Terri day after day for years, saw and knew?

You’d think that one could expect a different reaction from the leader of the United States Senate, but after Senator Frist’s initial, cynical intervention into a private matter for obvious political gain, I’m not at all surprised at his disingenuous response to the autopsy results - a response that reveals him as either medically incompetent or a doctor who would willingly violate his Hippocratic oath to further his other profession. In my view, he has shown himself to be someone lacking the integrity and the competence to be a member of either profession.

In a rational world, one would think that his involvement in the Schiavo case and his insistence that he did or said nothing wrong in the face of revealed evidence to the contrary, would be embarrassing enough to remove him as a possible candidate for the Presidency or at the very least persuade him to emulate his predecessor and quietly step aside to save his party further embarrassment. But with a majority of Republicans in the Senate blinded by their own arrogance, he’ll not only hold on to his leadership position but probably will be the favorite to head their ticket going in to 2008.

How should the Democrats react to all of this? My advice would be for them to join with the Republicans in praise of their leader and pray that he indeed will become their candidate for the Presidency.

Or to put it another way - not to look a gift horse in the mouth.