Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Camera

The huge fuss the GOP is making over Terry Schiavo would be understandable, if not respectable, if they could marshal some poll numbers that showed, like on gay marriage, that the issue was a political winner for them. But it's not. 65% of Americans think Schiavo's husband should have the final say on her care, and 87% would not want to be kept alive in her condition. 87%! So in case you were wondering, this isn't cynical, lowest-common-denominator politics being played by the right. This is, instead, more proof that a small band of nuts has the party by the balls, and the leadership is happy to embark on the most insane and quixotic of quests in order to please them.

Why the Democrats aren't fanning out into the media repeating the simple refrain that this is none of the government's goddamn business I'll never know. And why they're allowing the GOP to pass legislation making a state court decision eligible for review by a federal court is even stranger, this is exactly the sort of congressional overreach that annoys Americans. Armando thinks they're letting the GOP spend itself expecting that they'll look foolish when the law is struck down as unconstitutional, but I disagree with that entirely. What'll happen then is that the rabid pro-lifers will believe Republicans went to the wall for then only to be foiled by liberal, activist judges, thus redoubling their efforts to appoint a wingnut Supreme Court nominee and pack the courts with sympathetic crazies. And that will all occur under-the-radar.

If we publicized this fight now, while the media is attentive and congress is publicly deliberating, at least the average American will get to see how profoundly unserious and out of control the GOP is. We have to stop letting these battles be fought outside the public eye. They keep motivating their forces by supporting them in high profile fights knowing that, months later, their ridiculous bills will be slapped down and the constituencies they pleased will be all the angrier. It's the cycle of backlash politics and the only way to throw a wrench into it is to bring it out in the open.

Update: File Reid's statement under snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. With polls showing Americans are disgusted by congress's behavior, he decided the rational response was to become part of the disgraceful circus. To put it in terms we're all familiar with, it'd be like Reid joining with Frist to pass privatization and issuing a press release saying the President's personal accounts are an excellent idea offered in good faith and Democrats are proud to be part of their passage. Thanks, big guy.