Saturday, June 18, 2005

Jeb Jumps the Shark

The term “jumped the shark” entered the popular lexicon about ten years ago. It means when someone has gone beyond their limit in terms of natural popular appeal and is now sucking wind in trying to stay on top. The term comes from the famous Happy Days episode where the Fonz, complete with leather jacket, jumped over a shark on water skis. It was a desperate attempt to keep the ratings for the show up, but it was clear the show was running on fumes. It was either jump the shark or re-run the Joanie Loves Chiachi in escrow episode.

Well, it seems that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is jumping the shark with his latest move in the Schiavo case.

One day after an exhaustive autopsy sought to end much of the controversy over Terri Schiavo’s life, and eventual death, Gov. Jeb Bush said he plans to ask prosecutors to investigate whether her husband took too long to call for help on the night she collapsed in 1990.


Bush said Thursday that he had talked to Dr. Jon Thogmartin, the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, a day before Thogmartin publicly released the results of his autopsy on Terri Schiavo, who died on March 31 after a protracted legal and political battle.

Bush said Thogmartin told him he had gained access to information suggesting that there was a 70-minute delay between when Michael Schiavo first heard a ”bump” in the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 1990 and when he eventually called 911.

Okay, I’m not that kind of doctor, but I took enough advanced first aid and CPR to know that if someone’s heart stops beating and you wait for over an hour to get medical attention, the only thing the paramedics would be able to do is wait for the coroner because the patient will be dead. Not brain-damaged, not blind, not in a persistent vegetative state. DEAD.

So what is Jeb up to? Simple. He is trying to get as much political mileage as possible out of the story, and since he can’t attack the autopsy report, all he has left is a 911 call made fifteen years ago. Which makes you wonder why no one mentioned this before, say when Ms. Schiavo was alive? It would have made a compelling argument in a guardianship hearing to show Michael Schiavo demonstrated depraved indifference in 1990, and Ms. Schiavo could still be “alive,” so to speak. But no. He had to wait until there was nothing left but the husband to beat up on or risk the more of the wrath of the Religious Reich; he already pissed them off last March when he wouldn’t send in a S.W.A.T. team to “rescue” her.

Give Jeb some water skis and a leather jacket; the sharks are circling.