Friday, March 25, 2005

The Matrix of the Bush Dynasty

Terri Schiavo's body is like a human body in the movie The Matrix, except that it's conservative politicians, not machines, that are feeding upon it. On the front page of the New York Times (in the national edition), we learn of the rise of Jeb Bush's fortune among conservatives, which may eventually help continue the Bush dynasty in the White House:
Gov. Jeb Bush's last-minute intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, even after the president had ended his own effort to keep her alive, may have so far failed in a legal sense, but it has cemented the religious and social conservative credentials of a man whose political pedigree is huge and whose political future remains a subject of intense speculation.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

He has assumed a very high profile in this polarizing case just as Republicans are contemplating the void that will be left when President Bush begins his walk off the stage in two years or so. At a time when many of the most frequently mentioned possibilities to lead the party are moderates like John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the governor now certainly has a place, if he wants it, as a prime contender in what is shaping up as a fight to represent a conservative wing that has proved increasingly dominant.

"He has strongly identified himself with the Christian conservative movement," said Matthew Corrigan, a political science professor at the University of North Florida. "If the Republican Party is looking for someone with good ties with the Christian conservative movement, he is the one who is going to have them." (Adam Nagourney, "In a Polarizing Case, Jeb Bush Cements His Political Stature," New York Times 25 Mar. 2005)
Nagourney goes on to say that the elderly -- many of whom live in Florida -- may be particularly repelled by legislative adventurism on the Schiavo case. He may be right about the elderly's feelings now, but the issue probably won't be the litmus issue for any voter except the well organized religious Right, so, on balance, Schiavo's body is useful for the right wing of the Republican Party, which can mobilize the party's base without inviting significant backlashes or incurring any big financial costs.

The Matrix of the Bush Dynasty, meanwhile, hides the painful reality from the American public.

Let's take the Red Pill prescribed by Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program: "The U.S. is the only industrialized country to lack health care coverage for all citizens. Over 18,000 Americans perish every year because they lack health insurance. A lack of health insurance increases the chances a 55-year-old will die before they turn 64 by 40 percent. If the president wanted to save lives he would call for an emergency session to make Congress vote to extend Medicare to every American" (Institute for Public Accuracy, "Terri Schiavo Case: 'Err on the Side of Life,'" 22 Mar. 2005).

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