Monday, February 18, 2013

Yes, There Are Still Members Of Congress Today Who Voted To Keep Terri Schiavo From Dying In Peace-- And Not Just Republicans


By early 2005 it was clear to everyone that Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX) was knee deep in one of the most far-reaching and twisted scandals to hit Washington politics since Tea Pot Dome-- and that he was probably implicated in the gangland style murder of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. Many wondered if he would bring the whole stinking edifice of the religious right, from Robertson, Falwell and Reed to Dobson down with him. The last straw DeLay grasped onto before being flushed down history's toilet was the a woman in Florida who had been in a vegetative state for 5 years, Terri Schiavo.

After a Republican circuit court judge in Florida acceded to her husband's wishes and allow her to die, DeLay though he could grandstand her own problems away by causing a ruckus over the family tragedy in Florida. According to Max Blumenthal (in Republican Gomorrah) At a meeting of Jim Dobson's Family Research Council, DeLay "linked his struggle to save his own political life with the crusade to preserve the life of Schiavo. 'This is exactly the kind of issue that's going on in America, that attacks the conservative movement, against me and against many others.' Attacking liberal financier George Soros and the 'do-gooder organizations' he has funded, DeLay proclaimed, 'That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to destroy the conservative movement. It is to destroy conservative leaders...'"

On Palm Sunday, March 21, 2005 DeLay called an adjourned Congress back for an emergency session to try to exploit the Schiavo case. Something like 100 Democrats and 70 Republicans rolled their eyes at DeLay's blatant attempt to interfere with Florida's judiciary and just didn't come back to Washington. DeLay then passed his bogus legislation anyway 203-58, only 5 Republicans and 53 Democrats voting against him. Most of the Democrats-- Blue Dogs, New Dems and their fellow travelers for the most part-- who voted with DeLay that day have since been defeated or forced into retirement. The only Democrats left in Congress today who voted with DeLay on that Palm Sunday are John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Bob Brady (PA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Elijah Cummings (MD), Eliot Engel (NY), Chaka Fattah (PA), Al Green (TX), Brian Higgins (NY), Jim Langevin (RI), Dan Lipinski (IL), Stephen Lynch (MA, currently running against progressive Ed Markey for Massachusett's second Senate seat), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Mike Michaud (Blue Dog-ME), David Scott (Blue Dog-GA), and Jose Serrano (NY).

Needless to say, most of the current congressional Republicans still trying to control women's bodies and who were in Congress in 2005 voted with great enthusiasm for DeLay's necrophilious circus. Obviously there are dozens and dozens of them. Let me just highlight a few who are still causing the same kinds of problems in Congress today:
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
John Boehner (R-OH)
Dave Camp (R-MI)
Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Steve King (R-IA)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
John Kline (R-MN)
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Tom Price (R-GA)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Joe Wilson (R-SC)
By not holding elected officials accountable for this kind of outrage, they're always ready to keep pushing the boundaries. See if you can guess who said this? "Where in the hell did this Terri Schiavo thing come from? There's not a conservative, Constitution loving, separation-of-powers guy alive in the world that could have wanted that bill on the floor. This was pure, blatant pandering to James Dobson... Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid." No, that wasn't Nancy Pelosi or Jerry Nadler or Alan Grayson or Elizabeth Warren. That was Dick Armey (R-TX).

On September 28, 2005, five months after this catastrophic stunt, DeLay was finally indicted in Texas on money laundering charges and he was arrested in October. In 2010 he was convicted and in 2011 sentenced to three years in prison and ten years probation. He's still avoiding prison by appealing. Shamefully, he was treated as a celebrity instead of a criminal by Dancing With the Stars.

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