Howard Dean said yesterday that the Democrats would use Terri Schiavo as a weapon against the Republicans in 2006 and 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Friday that his party would wield the Terri Schiavo case against Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but for now needed to stay focused battling President Bush on Social Security.
“We’re going to use Terri Schiavo later on,” Dean said…
“This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it’s going to be an issue in 2008,” Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group’s breakfast in West Hollywood, “because we’re going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, ‘Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?’ ”
Dean, a practicing physician until he became governor of Vermont in 1991, added: “The issue is: Are we going to live in a theocracy where the highest powers tell us what to do? Or are we going to be allowed to consult our own high powers when we make very difficult decisions?”
Dean’s characterization of the issues involved in the Schiavo case is of course twisted beyond all recognition. But his comments bring two thoughts to mind. First, I very seriously doubt that the Schiavo case will be an issue either in 2006 or in 2008. Second, why is it it that when a minor Republican staffer wrote that the Schiavo case was a “great political issue,” it was a scandal that was reported in every newspaper in America, whereas, when the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee says, “We’re going to use Terri Schiavo” in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the response is a yawn? I’m sure there must be a reason why Dean’s comment is different, but offhand I can’t think what it is.
Dean has a unique ability to put his foot in his mouth, from which the Republicans will continue to reap benefits as long as Dean holds his present position.