In 2005, President Bush, along with congressional Republicans, decided they could use the tragic case of Terri Schiavo — a severely brain-damaged woman who had been incapacitated for the past 15 years — as a “great political issue” to get the pro-life base “excited.” Congressional Republicans forced both chambers into a special session with four days of extended debate to craft legislation that instructed doctors to reinsert Schiavo’s feeding tube. They also took the “extraordinary step” of subpoenaing Schiavo to testify before Congress. Yesterday morning on Washington Times radio, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said health reform would be “socialism,” and he held up the GOP’s handling of the Schiavo case as an example of what he fears:
STEELE: That’s the mood the administration is beginning to take. You understand what the underlying principle of socialism is. It is government control of the means of production. In this case, it is the government controlling the means of providing health care to the American people. It is inserting itself into the very fabric of the decisions that you make, have to make every single day. It’ll make the Terry Schiavo case look like a walk in the park. You know, you’re going to have meetings and committees, government agencies and bureaucrats making decisions on what kind of health care you get.
Although Steele is quick to hold up Schiavo as an example of the wrong type of reform, the Republican leaders who are crafting the GOP’s reform proposals are the same legislators who demanded that Congress intervene into the Schiavo case. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the Republican “Health Care Solutions Group,” demanded that members to return to Washington for the Schiavo special session. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who introduced the GOP’s alternative health plan in the Senate, joined with Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) to intervene in the Schiavo issue.