Occassional reflections of a moderate (hey at least I think I am)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Schiavo questions

Just a few questions and a couple of letter suggestions with regard to the latest round of the Terri Schiavo matter. My questions are not just what is Jeb Bush drinking (as The Moderate Voice puts it) they are actual things that I am confused about.

First, in the letter Jeb sent to the state attorney, he says he is urging an investigation “in light of this new information”. What “new information”? One of the comments at TMV points to this St. Peteresburg Times article from today (6/18/2005) which lays out some of the facts behind the timeline inquiry. Here is my summary: In 1990 Michael Schiavo called 911, in 1992 he gave testimony as to what time he called 911, in 2003 he told Larry King that he called 911 at a different time. So what is new? The only thing “new” is the fact that the medical examiner noted that there were different times reported over the course of the 15 years. Certainly all these facts were known by at least 2003. When she was first admitted to the hospital was Michael questioned at all?

Second, the article referenced above (and other articles I have read) notes that Jeb Bush met with the medical examiner before the medical examiner’s report was released. Just a couple of questions here: What was said at that meeting? Did the report change at all from before the meeting?

Third, if Michael was really trying to make sure his wife died, wouldn’t he have (as Pandagon points out) just waited until she died before calling 911? If he had done something to her it would be imperative for him that she die. Plus, given the hour and that he had come in late, couldn’t he have just said “I slept through it and woke up and found her dead.” But let’s assume that there was a delay. It is pretty clear from the medical examiner’s report that there is nothing to prove that Michael did something to cause her situation. So that leaves the possibility that he is guilty of delaying his call to 911. As a lawyer in the article above notes, that is a tough case to make.

So those are my questions, here are the two letters that I would like to see written:

First, a letter to the State’s Attorney asking for an investigation into the Medical Examiner’s conversation with the governor prior to release of the M.E.’s report. Did the governor use his office or the threat of discipline to have any part of the report changed. Or, more basically, did the report change as a result of the meeting.

Second, a letter to the State’s Attorney asking for an investigation into whether Jeb Bush aided and abetted his daughter’s drug use, whether he destroyed evidence of the drug use or obstructed justice in any investigation into his daughter’s drug use. Of course this second letter is mean spirited and petty, then again so is the letter in the Schiavo matter. (On the other hand, it is more recent and therefore more likely to yield results if investigate and it may have some basis in fact .

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Filibuster talk

Yesterday I wrote about this Todd Zywicki post regarding political fall out from the filibuster compromise. I thought that a big chunk of it was political hackery. Today he revisits the subject and I think his piece today is much better.

He starts by acknowledging that “[S]ome have raised the fair point that some of the criticisms that I linked to in that post may actually be more about ideological views on votes on judges than the filibuster deal itself, especially for Democrats who signed onto the deal.” While this is not a criticism I leveled, it is well put because most of the editorial that he had linked to was devoted to Salazar’s vote on Justice Brown and only in passing to the role Salazar played in the filibuster compromise.

Prof. Zywicki today turns his attention to the political fall out for Sen. DeWine from Ohio. {As an aside, I think Pat DeWine was hurt more by his personal foibles and by a large field than he was by who his father is.} I was going to write about DeWine yesterday because I think that he would illustrate my point from yesterday that editorial writers do not necessarily indicate fairly whether a politician is in trouble “back home”. While I cannot find the editorials (because you have to pay for archives), my recollection is that both the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain-Dealer had favorable editorials regarding DeWine’s participation in the filibuster compromise. According to Prof. Zywicki’s logic from the piece I discussed yesterday, that would suggest that DeWine is not in trouble back home. This is not the case. I do believe he is in some trouble among his own party in Ohio.

That said, the result of that “trouble” will most likely be minimal. He may face a primary opponent. But if Arlen Specter (who is much more liberal than DeWine) can beat back a conservative primary opponent, I think DeWine should probably manage. Of course DeWine may be in trouble in the general election which in Ohio means that the Dems might only lose 56-43 in the senatorial race.

Two other points I wanted to make: First, worrying about how the filibuster compromise hurts the Dems is really pretty irrelevant (unless you are going to say that at least five of them are so hurt by it so as to vote with Republicans for cloture). Second, with regard to the Republicans (assuming it is only these 7 Senators) it only takes two of them to leave the group in order to blow up the deal. I think that Prof. Zywicki has identified the 2 most likely to flip both for ideological and political reasons.

(The Maine Senators, Chaffee and McCain are helped politically by it. Warner from VA, I believe, is part of the group because of his concerns about what the nuclear or constitutional(coughbullshitcough) option would do to the Senate.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Partisan Conspirator

Todd Zywicki is striking me more and more like a wannabe political hack than a sharp legal mind and valued member of the Conspiracy. In his latest piece he says he is “reading increasing reports about home state, grass roots fall-out from the filibuster deal. . . . Especially interesting is the difference in perception of the deal back home versus inside the beltway.”

One link he provides is to a story out of South Carolina where the State Republican party chairman is talking about the hot water that Lindsey Graham is in for participating in the compromise. This story actually does add something, it provides some data, it says that Graham has some trouble with people who voted for him and supported him. The other link he provides is to an editorial from the Colorado Springs paper that blasts Salazar as a “run-of-the-mill liberal”. So Graham is in trouble back home because people who voted for him and supported him in the past are mad at him and Salazar is in trouble back home because an editorial writer thinks he is a liberal?

But this is not your average Colorado Springs editorial writer. This author (Sean Paige) works for an avowedly conservative news organization, Freedom Communications (which incidentally offers this summer internship through George Mason University’s Institute for Humne Studies and, oh by the way, Prof. Zywicki is a faculty member of the Institute). Mr. Paige probably knows more about “the beltway” than Colorado Springs. In his career he has worked for conservative politicians (such as Alan Keyes) and conservative publications (including a DC weekly owned by the publisher of the Washington Times).

Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this except that Prof. Zywicki refers to the opinion piece for proof that there is adverse reaction “back home” for Salazar. There may, indeed, be a backlash against Salazar for his position but I hardly think referring to someone who most probably did not support him is the best evidence of that.