aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, June 05, 2005
A Terri Schiavo post-mortem
Joan Didion, in The New York Review of Books, tries to make some sense out of the case of Terri Schiavo. Anyone who cared about the case, and those of us who wrote about it, would do well to read her essay. She’s reasoned and fair (even if for liberals the essay may be quite devastating). She’s thorough and clear. And though this in no way captures or encapsulates her piece, her point is this:
Some of what made the case so toxic was clear. The general claim those opposed to the termination of feeding seemed to be making, for the absolute value of life, could be applied as well to fetuses. (It could also be applied to the death penalty, but the politics of the pro-life movement have not encouraged this seamless-garment approach.) Yet this specific case, which had to do with whether a healthy woman whose brain was damaged to a catastrophic but still unestablished extent should or should not continue living, was never about abortion alone. It had at its core a virtually unthinkable but increasingly urgent question, one that few on either side of the debate wanted to address aloud.
The question began with the different ways in which we define a life worth living, but it did not stop there. The question had ultimately to do with whether or not there could be occasions when the broad economic and ethical interests of the society at large should outweigh any individual claim to either the most advanced medical attention...or indefinite care. This was the question no one on any side of the debate wanted to hear. This was the question conveniently muffled by talk about “right-to-die” and “murderers” and “mullahs,” about the “freak show,” the “circus.”
As baby boomers age and medical technology continues its pace and health insurance and pensions go broke or otherwise stop paying, and on and on, we’ve got to face those serious questions. If the Schiavo case is any indication, and I believe it is, our religious, political and social institutions are ill equipped to see us through.
A perfect storm?
Under heavy pressure to run against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006, Jeanine F. Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester County, said yesterday that she would not seek re-election this fall but would instead enter the United States Senate race or another statewide contest next year.
Such a half step toward an announcement is unusual, but Ms. Pirro, a Republican, apparently calculated it to be in her interest after weeks of pleas from party leaders in Albany, New York City and Washington who are eager to mold her as a new Republican star in advance of the 2006 races.
Manna from heaven for Hillary.
I was still working up in Westchester when all hell broke loose for Jeanine. She’s a rich downstate elitist Republican stereotype (NY version, so pro-choice) who one ups Hillary on every baggage point: Monica? Al Pirro has an illegitimate daughter they tried to deny for 3 years before a court-ordered DNA test stopped the lying. Impeachment? Indictment. Conviction. Lingering questions. (Hey, I’d better watch what I say, I wouldn’t want to get sued.)
I’m my own woman, answers Jeanine, and indeed there are good questions raised by her own actions. I can’t so easily find the story of the dead-teen-at-the-party-in-the-campaign-contributor-neighbor’s-empty-house; I’m sure it will be in the news again once the campaigning begins. (Sisyphus Shrugged tells it, scroll down to Teenagers Told to Turn In Fake ID’s).
So I’m sure Jeanine will want to campaign on the issues. Yeah, right. Hillary’s a carpetbagger!
Asked whether she would make up her mind by going on a pre-Senate “listening tour,” like Mrs. Clinton did in 1999 as a newcomer to the state, Ms. Pirro, who was born in Elmira, N.Y., replied: ”The good news is I won’t have to listen. I am from this state. I’m from upstate New York and I live down here and I have been in the trenches for the last 29 years.”
She might want to tweak that a bit; upstaters may not love the attitude. But I agree it clearly is a win/win for Jeanine:
According to Republicans who have made that argument directly to Ms. Pirro, even a loss in the Senate race would make her a national Republican celebrity who took her best shot - and took one for the team - and who could still easily run later for Senate or governor.
Ms. Pirro is known to enjoy her frequent appearances as a commentator on cable television, and a sharp-edged challenge to Mrs. Clinton could only heighten her visibility and appeal, Republicans said.
“If she ran and lost against Hillary, she’d at least come away with her own show on Fox,” said one state Republican who is advising Ms. Pirro, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging her.
(Julia attributes--"educated guess"--that last quote to Al D’Amato. My guess is she’s right.)
He’s the closeted guy right?
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
MR. MEHLMAN: I don’t know the answer to that question…
His disassembling was masterful. On DeLay:
I hadn’t known before, ah something, that is remarkable. That, in 1987 I believe it was, ah, Tom DeLay and his wife went to the Soviet Union, met with a Jewish family there that were Soviet refuseniks, that were people that were being persecuted because they believe in, ah, wanting to, wanting, because they believed in their, because they believe in God and they wanted to ah, ah, worship under, under their religion. And he conducted a Passover Seder for them. Ah, I didn’t know that about him.