Monday, June 27, 2005

A GOVERNOR WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS?

There are some great columnists out there and I think I'll be copying some in more often. Bob Herbert is a favorite. Molly Ivins and Leonard Pitts are usually good sources of information too.

All I’m going to say on this subject is that the governor of Florida appears to have a lot of time on his hands. This kind of keep looking unitl you can pin something, anything on a person is not what we’re used to in the US. The former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, places like that, the United States, no.

Bob Herbert (bobherb@nytimes.com) is columnist for the New York Times

GOVERNOR BUSH KEEPS UP WITH WITCH HUNT.

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” asked Joseph Welch in his famous confrontation with the pathologically cruel Joe McCarthy. “Have you left no sense of decency?”

More than a half-century later, I would ask the same question of Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush.

In an abuse of power that has been widely denounced, Gov. Bush has tried to keep the Terri Schiavo circus alive by sending state prosecutors on a witch-hunt against her husband, Michael.

The state attorney who has been pushed by the governor into pursuing this case told me he has seen nothing to indicate that a crime was committed. Nevertheless, the inquiry continues.

Gov. bush asked Bernie McCabe the state attorney for Pinellas County, to “take a fresh look” at this already exhaustively investigated case to determine, among other things, whether Michael Schiavo has perhaps waited too long to call for help after discovering that his wife had collapsed early one morning 15 years ago.

McCabe did not seem particularly enthusiastic about this mission. “I wouldn’t call it an investigation,” he told me in a telephone conversation. The word “investigation,” he said, “is a term of art in my business.”

He then explained: “When I conduct an investigation, it would mean that I have a criminal predicate. In other words, that I have some indication that a crime has occurred. That’s my job. In this circumstance, that does not exist at this time. So what I’m attempting to do is respond to the governor’s request by conducting what I’m calling an “Inquiry” to see if I can resolve the issues he raised.”

He chuckled at his use of the word inquiry. “It may be a distinction without a difference.”

What ever term is used, the governor’s continued pursuit of Michael Schiavo in the absence of any evidence that he has done anything wrong is a clear example of government power being used as a club to punish someone for political reasons. The unwarranted harassment of an ordinary citizen by the most powerful, political figure in his state is an affront to the very idea of freedom that Gov. Bush and his brother in the White House are so fond of preaching.

Terri Schiavo died March 31 following the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube. An autopsy supported Michael Schiavo’s contention that his wife had been in a persistent vegetative state. She was unaware of anything and incapable of recovering. At her death at 41, Terri Schiavo’s withered brain was half the normal size for a woman her age.

Gov. Bush was one of the leaders of the pack of politicians who vehemently opposed Michael Schiavo’s efforts to have his wife’s feeding tube removed. Much of what was said was outrageous.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. A physician, said:” All you have to do is look at her on TV. Any doctor with any conscience can look at her and know that she does not have a terminal disease and know that she has some function.”

All agree that Terri Schiavo is now dead, but Gov. Bush insists on keeping the craziness going.

Michael Schiavo has said that his wife collapsed about 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning and that he quickly called 911. He has always stressed that he was making a rough estimate about the time. His call to 911 was recorded at 5:4 a.m.

Quick, try to remember with any precision the exact time of a traumatic incident that happened to you or a relative 10 or 15 years ago. Not only is it difficult to do, but the degree of precision deteriorates as the years pass.

Gov Bush’s continued pursuit of Michael Schiavo is not just pointless, it’s cruel.

I pressed McCabe, the state attorney. If there’s no evidence that a crime has been committed, I asked, then what is the purpose of the inquiry?

“My purpose,” he said, “is simply to respond to the governor. The governor’s asked me to do something, and I’m going to try to do it.”

Welcome to power politics, American style.

1 comment:

lisaram1955 said...

<This kind of keep looking unitl you can pin something, anything on a person is not what we’re used to in the US. >

Think very carefully about this...and then think back to the Republicans' treatment of President Clinton.  Governor Bush is simply caught in a 90's time-warp.  Lisa  :-]