News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Give it a rest, Jeb - Mrs. Schiavo is dead

In case anyone doubted that Gov. Jeb Bush was milking the Terry Schiavo case for every drop of political gain, his inability to drop the issue should serve as proof.

Gov. Bush on Friday convinced a Florida prosecutor to investigate Terry Schiavo's husband.

Despite Herculean efforts by the governor of Florida and the religious right, Mrs. Schiavo is dead. She died 15 years after a brain injury that left her in a permanent vegetative state.

Recently released autopsies support what her husband and doctors have said for years: She had no chance of waking from her coma. She was blind and her brain had shriveled to half its normal size. The results, which confirmed the opinions rendered by numerous doctors, should have embarrassed Gov. Bush.

Armed with the astute knowledge that no political quest can succeed without an enemy, however, Mr. Bush has taken aim at Mrs. Schiavo's husband, Michael.

Mr. Schiavo's sin? An inconsistency in statements he made about the events of Feb. 25, 1990, the day his wife collapsed. In a 1992 statement, Mr. Bush charges, Mr. Schiavo said his wife collapsed at 5 a.m. Eleven years later, he told an interviewer that she collapsed at 4:30 a.m.

Mr. Schiavo's actual mistake? He made the mistake of opposing a powerful and ambitious politician. And the even greater mistake of succeeding.

The debate over Mrs. Schiavo was heart wrenching. There were no winners. The ultimate resolution was the right one, but those who opposed the removal of her feeding tube had strong arguments as well.

Gov. Bush's decision to continue capitalizing upon the family tragedy is mean-spirited and petty. He has already squeezed all the political points possible from Mrs. Schiavo's death.

It is time for him to move on to another tragedy.

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