Gray Flannel Dwarf

3/25/2005

Give a man a rope…

All I have to say on the Schiavo thing:

  • Her care is not being paid for by the state. Have the neo-conservatives ever cared at all about those who are wardens of the state?
  • Her condition stems from complications due to an eating disorder, bulemia. Have the neo-conservatives ever cared at all about those with eating disorders?
  • Don’t traditional conservative values eschew getting involved in the personal affairs of families?
  • Don’t traditional conservative values eschew the idea of Federal government usurping state rights?

In the end, the fight over Ms. Schiavo doesn’t concern me too much, nor should it particularly concern anyone, and I don’t have a particularly strong stance on the issue, although I do lean towards siding with her husband.

Anyone who can’t see, though, that the GOP has totally taken advantage of this to use as a political play, however, is completely lost. Hell, even in their last-ditch de novo legislation, they could’ve specifically stated that the tube be re-inserted, but they didn’t do that:

Mr. FRIST. I share the understanding of the Senator from Michigan, as does the junior Senator from Florida who is the chief sponsor of this bill. Nothing in the current bill or its legislative history mandates a stay. I would assume, however, the federal court would grant a stay based on the facts of this case because Mrs. Schiavo would need to be alive in order for the court to make its determination. Nevertheless, this bill does not change current law under which a stay is discretionary.

Mr. LEVIN. In light of that assurance, I do not object to the unanimous consent agreement under which the bill will be considered by the Senate. I do not make the same assumption as the Majority Leader makes about what a federal court will do. Because the discretion of the federal court is left unrestricted in the bill, I will not exercise my right to block its consideration.

The GOP has been using this whole charade as a vehicle, and the Schindlers have certainly been taken for a ride.

At the same time, I don’t think the GOP is latching on the Schiavo case to placate the evangelical right.

You heard me correctly. I don’t think that’s the reason at all. No, I think it’s a whole lot less cerebral than that. It’s the “Winning Team” theory, plain and simple.

The GOP has a strong majority everywhere, they are at the point where they can boldly go asserting their power And they’re doing this because, “hey — everyone wants to be on a winning team! We’re the winners! We’re the majority! This is where we stand!”

Do you get it? They’ve taken an issue that maybe exists as an issue for a portion of their constituency (although polls would even indicate otherwise on this). But that’s not the main reason. They’re doing it because they’re at the head of the pack, and they know that, deep down, people want to be associated with the winners, and all it takes is a sensitive issue — any sensitive issue, really1 — that they can claim to be behind.

If people desire enough to be part of the “in” crowd, they’ll do whatever they have to, in order to be associated with it. The GOP has power right now, people want to be associated with that winning feeling2 — people will latch on to this cause if it makes them look like they’re part of the winning team… thus augmenting, rather than solidifying, the GOP base.

Admittedly, to make this sort of statement somewhat implies that many Americans are obtuse, are easily swayed, and don’t compromise their principles. Well, if they weren’t the case, the current President certainly wouldn’t have been re-elected.

I think people have overanalysed the GOP’s reasons behind this obvious political ploy way too much, and I think people are underestimating them once again. Although I think the GOP has been shackled by the evangelicals, I don’t think they are worried about trying the placate the evangelical right — at least not yet. Theories about the “tenuous” right adopting this stance on Schiavo’s plight to make some evangelical overlords happy just doesn’t sit right with me.

No, I think they’re just still brash as ever, more powerful, and had found a strong issue which, although complex, seemed a black and white one on the surface, and thus could be used as a “catch-all” to expand their base, to get people to join “the winning team”. In this case, though, I think the GOP has sorely miscalculated. Polls across the board show that people are not nearly supportive of, nor open to their efforts as Santorum and DeLay thought. They’ve boxed the Schiavo issue as one which is cut-and-dry, but it’s far too complex for that.

Has the GOP grabbed enough rope to hang itself yet? I think it’s a bit premature to suggest that, and admittedly, I’d like to see a Great Divorce, of sorts, between the GOP and the evangelicals. Maybe I’m overestimating them here, but I’d think the right would learn a lesson from this. If not, then good — there’s plenty of rope, and it’s a long way down.

1 Although one that some part of the constituency apparently supports is best.
2 Probably because they aren’t winning with anything else, namely jobs, gas prices, war on terra…


cswiii @ 1:36 pm

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