Friday, August 19, 2005

Bush Interrupted Vacation For Schiavo

On March 20, 2005, George W. Bush rapidly returned to Washington from another Crawford vacation so he could intervene in the Terry Schiavo case by signing Republican legislation requiring doctors to restore Schiavo's feeding tube.

But now, he has found it too difficult to take a few minutes out of his five-week vacation to meet Cindy Sheehan, who simply wants to know the reason that her son is dead.

This alone gives us a telling glimpse of Bush, who apparently believes he owes no explanation to a mother whose son was lost to a war that it has now been shown did not need to happen. On the other hand, appeasing the Religious Right and making sure they know his priorities are with them is obviously important enough for the president to move mountains.

"Look, this is a symbolic move, for sure," said Richard Cizik, the vice president for government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, on Bush's disrupting his vacation to intervene in the Schiavo affair. "It's his willingness to interrupt his vacation to make a statement. And not just to make a statement, because we're not playing games here, but to make a difference, too."

Meanwhile, mothers of Iraq war dead – because there are more parents who have lost children than just Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey – can't leapfrog over Bush's bike riding, fishing and nap-taking for even a quick meeting.

It could not possibly be easier for the president to meet face-to-face with parents who have given the most precious thing in their lives for this country. All he has to do is send some White House flunky out to fetch them and he could provide the kind of leadership one expects of a president.

But then, they're not Terry Schiavo and they don't have religious conservatives in their corner. Instead, they get to camp in a ditch outside the Bush ranch waiting for a call that will not come.

You're a real piece of work, Mr. Bush.