Patterico's Pontifications

3/28/2005

My Letter Regarding the Disgraceful DeLay Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Schiavo — Patterico @ 6:48 am



I sent this letter to the L.A. Times this morning:

Recently, we saw a family’s private tragedy dragged into the national spotlight to make a cheap political point. Those involved should be deeply ashamed.

Congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case? No, that controversy was already very public when Congress stepped in, responding to entreaties from Schiavo’s parents. I refer instead to The Times’s disgraceful decision to run a front-page article about the death of Congressman Tom DeLay’s father (“DeLay’s Own Tragic Crossroads,” March 27).

There is no comparison between the withdrawal of life support from DeLay’s father and the forced starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo. DeLay’s family was unanimous about his father’s wishes. In stark contrast, Schiavo’s family is deeply divided over hers.

Schiavo’s mother, father, brother, and sister are all adamant that she would want to live — and they welcomed the involvement of Congress. I doubt that the members of DeLay’s family appreciated The Times’s intrusion into their personal lives.

The two situations could not be more different. No matter. It is a great opportunity for sneering cynics to take a cheap shot at Tom DeLay. Why let the facts get in the way?

If you feel similarly, you can write the L.A. Times at letters@latimes.com.

25 Responses to “My Letter Regarding the Disgraceful DeLay Story”

  1. […] the Schiavo case to that of Tom DeLay’s father. But none makes the point I made in my letter (which will apparently not be printed): the bigge […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Schiavo-Related Letters in the L.A. Times (0c6a63)

  2. Oustanding letter. I hope they publish it.

    Ann (7267a8)

  3. Patterico, I am of two minds here (which I guess makes me twice as smart as everybody else!): first, I am of course 100% in agreement with you about the perverted and thuggish Los Angeles Timess ripping open old tragedies in their never-ending quest to hurt Tom DeLay by any means possible. Like most on the left, individuals exist only as abstractions to the Times editors: they deal only in groups, symbols, the masses; individual pain is as alien to them as individual honor.

    But on the other hand, doesn’t the phrase “pounding sand down a rathole” seem appropriate here? The incredible shrinking circulation of this newspaper indicates that its readership is increasingly all those and only those who think just like John Carroll & his posse. Even if they were to publish your letter, the only effect would be to confirm in those readers’ minds that you were a “right winger,” and worse — religious! The mere fact that you would object to any sort of attack on that “Nazi theocrat” would brand you as a kook and reactionary who should be ignored (or perhaps reviled).

    Honestly, I think you have a higher daily circulation among the rational via Patterico’s Pontifications than you did in your “Outside the Tent” column in the Times. By analogy, if I wanted to criticize Communism, it would pretty useless to do so in the Daily Worker — even if they printed it, what reader would care?

    You’re much better off focusing on this blog, other blogs, or even other MSM outlets whose reader-, listener-, or viewerships actually comprise rational people across the spectrum of mainstream opinion… rather than in a cranky and cultic daily tract for the morally challenged, like the paper you used to call the L.A. Dog Trainer.

    Don’t you feel dirty? 😉

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  4. Wished the LA Times adopted a comments and trackback section to their on-line editions like the Ventura County Star. It would almost be worthwhile then to go there and argue.

    And… what is up with their slow adoption of RSS feeds for their news, opinion and sports?

    Good letter Patrick.

    Flap (9e9973)

  5. You nailed it but so did Dafydd. You’re almost as likely to penetrate the LAT’s granite skulls as you are those @ DU or Kos. I do admire your stamina.

    Old Coot (72ce38)

  6. Total cheap shot at DeLay. Unbelievable how the left is seizing on this as proof of DeLay’s “hypocrisy” when the two situations bare almost no resemblance.

    Will Franklin (06ab2a)

  7. Patterico, all outrage and indignance: “I doubt that the members of DeLay’s family appreciated The Times’s intrusion into their personal lives.”

    Maxine DeLay, Tom DeLay’s widowed mother who, along with other members of her family, freely discussed the matter with LA Times journalists: “She acknowledged questions comparing her family’s decision in 1988 to the Schiavo conflict with a slight smile. “It’s certainly interesting, isn’t it?””

    m.croche (0eee6b)

  8. DeLay’s family was unanimous about his father’s wishes. In stark contrast, Schiavo’s family is deeply divided over hers.

    The Schindlers have decided to make their daughter’s case a very public one. And the public is very much divided. Do you think Randall Terry knows as much about Terri Schindler Schiavo’s wishes as does Michael Schiavo? The Schindlers have decided to include this “pro-life” inciter of violence in their lives at this time because he, uh, heightens the contradictions. They weren’t doing this because of his reputation as a consensus-builder, you know.

    Anyhow, Tom DeLay’s father’s wishes were never committed to paper. Neither were Terri Schindler Schiavo’s. Yet, you say the elder DeLay’s family acted on his wishes as he had made them known to them. Whether those wishes were explicit or perceived in his philosophy, Tom DeLay’s father was allowed to slip away into his final peace. But not so with this poor woman in Florida. She’s been kept alive against her wishes as she expressed them to her legal guardian: her husband.

    So, basically, Patterico, you’re saying that the law can be compromised and disregarded by the will of a few people who are absolutely committed to keeping this poor woman alive. It doesn’t make sense. I’m not going to be so obtuse as to call it the rule of the mob, but be serious. These people are demanding that the governor send in the state police to “rescue” her —and he’s having to respond to them!

    If that’s not damaging to the Republican Party, then nothing is.

    Toby Petzold (cd28cf)

  9. Patterico, all outrage and indignance: “I doubt that the members of DeLay’s family appreciated The Times’s intrusion into their personal lives.”

    Maxine DeLay, Tom DeLay’s widowed mother who, along with other members of her family, freely discussed the matter with LA Times journalists: “She acknowledged questions comparing her family’s decision in 1988 to the Schiavo conflict with a slight smile. “It’s certainly interesting, isn’t it?””

    I stand corrected. They did appreciate it.

    So, basically, Patterico, you’re saying that the law can be compromised and disregarded by the will of a few people who are absolutely committed to keeping this poor woman alive.

    I never said any such thing. Don’t tell me that I said the law can be disregarded in this case. Where did I say that?

    I said I am not certain that the courts got it right. That’s an entirely different proposition.

    I do not join in the demands that the Governor ignore the courts and send in law enforcement. In fact, I specifically repudiate any such suggestion.

    Patterico (08c813)


  10. In 1988, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s father was critically injured in an accident and was on a ventilator. The DeLay family , as a unit, decided to forgo extroardinary measures to extend his life, and chose not to connect

    The Prickly Pear (af7df9)


  11. I agree with Patterico. There is no comparison between the two cases. Personally, I think the Time’s attempted hatchet job is rather tacky myself. When I scrolled through the whole piece, I came to the real reason for the article. To use the Schiavo …

    The Prickly Pear (af7df9)

  12. I said I am not certain that the courts got it right.

    Then the fault is mine. See, I’m always mistaking people’s agnosticism for certainty, especially when they trick me with their advocacy of a particular position.

    Toby Petzold (cd28cf)

  13. Then the fault is mine. See, I’m always mistaking people’s agnosticism for certainty, especially when they trick me with their advocacy of a particular position.

    Well, I sure haven’t advocated for breaking the law in this situation. You should be careful about making an assumption like that.

    Patterico (756436)

  14. No, you might not advocate breaking the law with an executive action by Jeb Bush, but you have all the prerequisite contempt for the judiciary in this case to send you in that direction.

    Do you regard what’s happening as a judicial murder? If you do, wouldn’t that be a crime worthy of executive preemption?

    Toby Petzold (cd28cf)

  15. I used the word “murder” in October 2003, but have since thought better of it. The courts may have gotten it right. Michael Schiavo could be telling the truth. It’s a killing, all right, but I think that the use of the word “murder” is overheated and I don’t use it any more.

    Patterico (756436)

  16. No, you might not advocate breaking the law with an executive action by Jeb Bush, but you have all the prerequisite contempt for the judiciary in this case to send you in that direction.

    What’s your point? That courts should be immune to criticism?

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  17. X:

    What’s your point? That courts should be immune to criticism?

    Hardly. But the willingness in the past two weeks to undermine the authority and legitmacy of the Florida judicial system at the very highest levels of the Federal government is shocking to me. And it makes me angry at my President —not just because he and the Republican leadership have blundered into this thing at the behest of fundamentalists, but because I am finding myself sticking up for the authority and legitmacy of the Florida judicial system. Yecchhh!

    Toby Petzold (cd28cf)

  18. And, yes, I know how to spell legitimacy.

    Toby Petzold (cd28cf)

  19. But the willingness in the past two weeks to undermine the authority and legitmacy of the Florida judicial system at the very highest levels of the Federal government is shocking to me.

    Does federal habeas review of a death penalty case undermine the authority and legitimacy of the state courts that administrated and upheld the judgment?

    Patterico (756436)

  20. I want to apologize here. I don’t know how I managed to send two trackbacks for the same article. But somehow I did.

    Happy Jones (e6c6af)

  21. Toby, you said “it makes me angry at my President —not just because he and the Republican leadership have blundered into this thing at the behest of fundamentalists, ….”

    Are you aware that Senator Tom Harkin was a primary sponsor of this legislation in the Senate and that Barney Frank thinks that follow-on legislation may be required in the House to address the potential for coersion in these decisions? Both gentlemen can hardly be considered “fundamentalists” by my reckoning.

    As we discussed extensively here, there is a fundamental difference between a terminally ill Charles Delay being “allowed to slip away into his final peace” and witholding basic food and water from physically healthy, living breathing, though mentally severely impaired Terri S.

    As for Terri being “kept alive against her wishes as she expressed them to her legal guardian: her husband.” this is what her husband has asserted. Are you aware that Terri’s parents, siblings and friends all assert the opposite?

    The problem here is that there is significant difference of opinion on the facts and we are asked to allow Terri to be starved and dehydrated to death without a level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That the Florida court doesn’t require that level of proof is, in my mind, incomprehensible. That we provide higher levels of protection for criminal defendants is mind-boggling.

    At this point I would argue that no one really knows what Terri S would want. In this case, therefore, it makes sense to me that we err on the side of life even if that means that her parents are granted guardianship over her husband’s objections.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  22. Harry Arthur,

    Where have you been all my life? (The answer, it appears, is on Tom Maguire’s blog.)

    Well said. You and I think a lot alike. I hope you keep visiting.

    Patterico (756436)

  23. Patterico, thanks. I found your comments on Tom’s blog very challenging and thoughtful and followed your link to your excellent article regarding the Terri S case. Then dropped by over here but just couldn’t keep my mouth shut – it’s a character flaw. Generally I trend from Libertarian to extreme right wing conservative so perhaps I can think of something semi-intelligent to contribute every so often. The ongoing national SS discussion is a particular favorite.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  24. Does federal habeas review of a death penalty case undermine the authority and legitimacy of the state courts that administrated and upheld the judgment?

    No, because there would be precedent for such review; it is an established part of the appellate process. But this thing? Calling Congress into session in the middle of the night to pass a one-off bill intended to affect the life of a private individual? After it was known that all other judicial remedies had been exhausted? It sounds like the legislature substituting its own will for that of the judiciary. If it’s not literally illegitimate, it’s politically so —as is being discovered.

    Toby Petzold (10cdd5)

  25. No, because there would be precedent for such review; it is an established part of the appellate process. But this thing? Calling Congress into session in the middle of the night to pass a one-off bill intended to affect the life of a private individual? After it was known that all other judicial remedies had been exhausted? It sounds like the legislature substituting its own will for that of the judiciary. If it’s not literally illegitimate, it’s politically so —as is being discovered.

    Sounds like, but isn’t. It simply provided for review. That review was ineffective.

    The House initially passed a bill not targeted to one person. Dems killed that.

    This just wasn’t a big deal. And polls showing outrage on the part of the public are all essentially push polls. They give all the ammo for one side and none for the other — then ask the question.

    If I had time I’d write more about that.

    Patterico (756436)


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