It's becoming cliche to point out this or that statement of Tom DeLay's as enough to make you ill, but his latest on Schiavo is really unconscionable:

"She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts," he said Sunday evening.

My God, you'd think her a three year old, giggling at Blue's Clues and slapping away the mashed peas-bearing rocket ship when it approaches her mouth. That she's really an inert woman whose cerebral cortex has liquified and whose every twitch is being interpreted as signs of higher consciousness makes DeLay's lie all the sadder -- he's misrepresenting the brain damaged. Over at the Stakeholder, Jesse Lee notes that, unlike Ginny Brown-Waite, a Republican who "burned up" the phones talking to medical experts in Florida and voted against the bill, Tom probably hasn't spent that long doing his research.

Oh how right he is.

The bugman not only didn't do his research, he hasn't been doing his speaking, either. Turns out DeLay only started mentioning Schiavo on the 18th, three days ago. That's kind of a trip. because even I beat the majority leader to the punch, and, unlike him, I don't think of Schiavo as my religious obligation. So what's going on?

Well, Tom DeLay has had better days than March 18th. On March 17th, Rahm Emanuel promised to make his ethics violations a central issue in the 2006 campaign by recruiting "squeaky-clean" candidates to run. On March 17th, the newspapers began calling for his resignation. And so, on March 19th, Tom DeLay found Terry Schiavo, and held. In fact, watch DeLay's progression as he attempts to keep the issue kicking:

March 18th: “Terri Schiavo is alive.  She is not ‘barely alive.’  She is not ‘being kept alive.’  She is as alive as you or I, and as such we have a moral obligation to protect and defend her from the fate premeditated by the Florida courts.  This is not over.  We are still working, so are Mrs. Schiavo’s lawyers, and so is the Florida state legislature.  This is not over.  

“To friends, family, and millions of people praying around the world this Palm Sunday weekend: do not be afraid.  Terri Schiavo will not be forsaken.”

March 19th: “While I respectfully disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, the justices’ refusal to offer any explanation or guidance – knowing that Congress is working around the clock to save the life of a defenseless dying woman – is a moral and legal tragedy.

“The Supreme Court owes it to Terri Schiavo and her family – and, frankly, to the dignity of human life – to explain their decision so that Congress can properly focus its continuing work to replace Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube.

March 20th: “Mrs. Schiavo’s condition, I believe, has been at times misrepresented by the media, but far more often has simply gone unreported all together.  Terri Schiavo is not on a respirator; she can breathe on her own.  Terri Schiavo is not brain-dead; she talks and she laughs, and she expresses happiness and discomfort.  Terri Schiavo is not on life-support.  

“She’s not being ‘kept alive’; she is alive.  It won’t take a miracle to help Terri Schiavo; it will only take the medical care and therapy that all patients deserve.  Mrs. Schiavo is not being denied heroic measures; she’s being denied basic, basic, basic medical and personal care.  

“The legal issues, I grant everyone, are complicated, but the moral ones are not.  What will it hurt to have a federal judge take a fresh look at all this evidence and apply it against 15 years’ worth of advances in medical technology?  We have a bill – the Palm Sunday compromise – that will give her that chance."

We've gone from asserting that Schiavo is alive (a fact), to accusing the Supreme Court of creating a moral tragedy by allowing this "defenseless and dying woman" to perish, to arguing that "she talks and she laughs, and she expresses happiness and discomfort...Terry Schiavo is not on life support". To hear him tell it now, you'd think we could take out her feeding tube, leave her in the woods, and let her wander back home. Of course, this isn't about Terry Schiavo's life nor her death, it's about Tom DeLay's chances for survival. And knowing that the sooner she leaves the news the quicker he reenters it, he's been reaching ever more impressive heights of overstatement and nuttery. All this from a man who'd never noticed Terry until three days ago. I'll say this for Tom -- the slimebag knows how to adopt a cause.

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