Tom DeLay Awards Badge Of HonorDANIEL RUTH
Y ou had to know the Terri Schiavo kerfuffle was moving into the mother of all parallel universes when congressman Tom DeLay, who is so ethically challenged he makes Al Swearengen of ``Deadwood'' look like a Ramada Inn night clerk, started weighing in on morality.
It was the Bumpkin of the Brazos who suggested Michael Schiavo, who has been the guardian of his vegetative wife for 15 years, had abused Terri Schiavo.
``I don't have a lot of respect for a man who has treated a woman this way,'' preened the poster child for Ethics Committee investigations. ``What kind of man is he?''
Well, for starters, not having the ``respect'' of some cheesy, opportunistic demagogue who makes Tammany Hall look like the College of Cardinals is really a badge of honor for Michael Schiavo.
Really now, does anybody doubt that DeLay's sudden epiphany as the faux John Brown of the ``right- to-life'' movement is a self- imposed welcome respite from being the subject of more ethics probes than James Traficant in his prime?
Indeed, what kind of man would insert himself into the Schiavo family tragedy to appease the Christian right wing, cloaking himself in a vestment of deceits rivaling a Nuremberg defendant?
It has been DeLay and his fellow travelers of prevarication who have been suggesting Terri Schiavo is sitting in her Pinellas Park hospice reading Vogue, having her eyebrows waxed and dishing gossip with her girlfriends while Michael Schiavo lingers outside her door fingering a garrote.
``She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts,'' DeLay lied the other day.
Talking? Laughing? That would be a pretty neat trick considering the opinions of countless medical experts, seven years of court testimony and the conclusion of a guardian ad litem appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, all asserting Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state.
Oh, and then there is the brain scan showing fluid has replaced brain tissue.
But the Goober of the Rio Bravo wasn't alone in treating Terri Schiavo as if she was his own personal lawn jockey of the right-to- life movement.
Over on the U.S. Senate side of the Capitol's den of screeds, Majority Leader Bill Frist admitted he was willing to subvert the U.S. Constitution, intervene in a legal guardianship and ignore medical expertise purely on the basis of viewing the widely publicized brief video clip of Terri Schiavo.
Frist, who is supposed to be a doctor, watches a snippet of a videotape and without reviewing Terri Schiavo's medical file or examining her himself concludes, on the flimsiest of evidence, the prognosis of her physicians is wrong.
If this cravenly ambitious quack stooped any lower he'd be the Hunchback of Dogpatch.
And this cabana boy of the Christian right wants to be president? Of what? The American Association of Panderers?
Sorta makes you wonder whether Frist would insist that John F. Kennedy died from a headache.
Then again, it's hardly a surprise Frist exhibited all the due diligence of Doctor Moreau when it came to Terri Schiavo's diagnosis.
As the Republican Party memo circulated among GOP senators noted, Terri Schiavo was, sadly, merely a political dupe to appeal to the Christian conservative base.
``This is a great political issue, because Senator [Bill] Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a co-sponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats,'' the memo argued.
A great political issue? Oh really?
Emotionally manipulating a brain-dead woman's tragic plight, lying about her condition, undermining the Constitution - all for a few lousy, stinking votes?
Terri Schiavo being lugged around like a GOP Bible Belt version of ``Weekend At Bernie's'' a winning political issue?In North Korea, maybe.
QED. Bravo Mr. Ruth!