The Carpetbagger ReportReality-Based Commentary, Analysis, and Tirades on Politics in America
March 22, 2005
Posted 12:52 pm Printer Friendly
People say different things when they're among friends than they do when everyone's watching. It's only human nature; we're more inclined to let our guard down and speak our minds when we're confident that no one will use our words against us later.
Which is exactly why Tom DeLay's remarks to the Family Research Council last week about the Terri Schiavo controversy were so illuminating. DeLay was laying it all on the line because he thought everyone in the room was an ally. Fortunately for the rest of us, he was wrong.
First, let's back up a moment. The first hint that the Republicans' concern for Terri Schiavo had more to do with politics than a "culture of life" came Friday night. A talking points memo from the GOP leadership described Schiavo's plight as a "great political issue," and encouraged Republican lawmakers to keep their base in mind: "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue." A party of moralists anxious to do what's right without concern for partisan gain? Not so much.
But DeLay's comments to the FRC, delivered the same night the GOP memo reached lawmakers, should help expose this exploitative charade entirely.
On Friday, as the leaders of both chambers scrambled to try to stop the removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube, Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, turned his attention to social conservatives gathered at a Washington hotel and described what he viewed as the intertwined struggle to save Ms. Schiavo, expand the conservative movement and defend himself against accusations of ethical lapses.
"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. A recording of the event was provided by the advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," Mr. DeLay said.
Mr. DeLay complained that "the other side" had figured out how "to defeat the conservative movement," by waging personal attacks, linking with liberal organizations and persuading the national news media to report the story. He charged that "the whole syndicate" was "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in."
There was no reason for niceties or subtleties, so DeLay didn't use any. The result was DeLay Unplugged.