With former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush looking more and more like a presidential candidate, Politico goes back to review the central role played by Bush in what remains the most bizarre act of political malfeasance in my adult lifetime, the Terri Schiavo affair.
Looking back on that mess a decade later doesn’t make it any less surreal. To the contrary, what was maddening and frightening about it then — an outbreak of mass hysteria and misguided sanctimony, a mind-bending abuse of power and process, a violation of decency and common sense culminating in an attempted intervention by Congress and the White House that was wrong morally, legally, medically — is even more maddening and frightening today.
I had never seen anything like it, and would never have believed such a thing possible in this country, in this era. It taught me and many other Americans an important lesson about how fragile the rule of law can be when confronted with a mob outcry led by irresponsible politicians.
As Michael Kruse writes after reviewing the documented evidence in the case, including recently released emails from Bush’s time in the governor’s office:
“On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer—confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it’s the Jebbest thing Jeb’s ever done.”
That’s a truly sobering statement.