Monday, April 3, 2006

Terri’s Legacy

Even a year after her death, Terri Schiavo is still alive in Florida politics.

The Republicans never mention the severely brain-damaged woman whose plight provoked a national debate over death and dying.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith repeatedly invoke Schiavo’s name as a rallying cry against government intrusion into family decisions. Both fought Republican attempts to stop her husband from removing life support after 14 years.

Jockeying for the conservative mantle that appeals to Republican primary voters, state Attorney General Charlie Crist and Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher consistently tout their pro-life views on abortion, but not their end-of-life beliefs. That is nothing new for Crist, who avoided the politically divisive fray last year. But Gallagher, who staunchly defended the efforts of Schiavo’s parents to prolong her life, has not said a word about her during the campaign.


One year later, Davis and Smith recall Schiavo in nearly every campaign stop. Davis brought her up last week after reporters asked him about South Dakota’s new abortion restrictions.

“I believe politicians should stay out of the difficult, personal decisions about life and death that Floridians and their families face every day,” he said during the conference call. “It was wrong when our state leaders played politics with the tragic life of Terri Schiavo, and it’s still wrong.”

It would seem that by bringing up the Schiavo case in “nearly every campaign stop,” it makes it a little hard for Davis and Smith to criticize the Republicans for “playing politics with the tragic life of Terri Schiavo.” Anyway…

Cross-posted at Sunshine State Progressive Bloggers.