The Corner

Hillary’s Two-Faced Terri Schiavo Cynicism

Jeb Bush is making all the noises of a presidential candidate and is already being hit for his attempt to save the life of Terri Schiavo.

People aren’t going to change their opinions about that case. But for those who hate Bush for interfering in the case, you should have even greater disregard for Hillary Clinton, who — oh, so typically — tried to have it both ways in the Schiavo tragedy – first voting to try and save her and then criticizing the very effort with which she cooperated.

Bush tried to save here with a state “Terri’s Law” (discussed in detail in the article). When that law was found unconstitutional, an effort was launched in the Congress to impede Schiavo’s slow death by dehydration. From, “The Schiavo Case Revisited”:

Schiavo’s feeding tube was again removed . . . In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid cooperated on a bill that required a federal court to review alleged irregularities in the state’s judicial proceedings—an extraordinary, unprecedented proposal to grant federal jurisdiction over a legal matter the U.S. Supreme Court had already refused repeatedly to consider.

Time was of the essence as each day without sustenance, Terri grew closer to death. Getting the bill to the Senate floor before Terri died required unanimous consent. In other words, if even one senator refused, the Schiavo case was over except for the dying.

That means Clinton could have easily prevented the law from taking effect. All she had to do was refuse consent. What did she do?

Typical of her notorious angle-playing approach to politics, she said nothing one way or the other publicly—and along with every other senator, quietly consented to the bill receiving a floor vote. The federal “Terri’s Law” quickly passed, becoming one of the most bipartisan laws enacted during George W. Bush’s presidency. (Besides the unanimous voice vote in the Senate, it gained the support of about 45 percent of House Democrats.)

How bipartisan?  Passed without objection in a Senate voice vote, and receiving about 45 percent yes votes from the House Democratic caucus.

That law didn’t save Terri’s life either. And then Clinton’s cynicism gene really kicked in.

When postmortem polls showed that the public opposed the federal involvement, many Democrats—Clinton among them—disparaged the very effort in which they themselves had cooperated. For example, at a 2006 fundraising appearance in Florida, Clinton hypocritically decried Republicans for “exploiting the tragedy of Terri Schiavo.”

Back when a catastrophically disabled woman’s life hung in the balance, Jeb Bush took a principled, if unpopular, stand. Contrast that with Clinton, who went along with the legislative effort to save Terri Schiavo, but in a politically calculated way: If the law had been popularly embraced, she could have taken credit for being on board. When it turned out that the law was generally unpopular, she pointed fingers.

Those who disdain Jeb because of Terri Schiavo, should feel even greater antipathy toward Hillary. Her two-faced approach to politics is very hard to stomach.

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