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Schiavo talking points memo

It turns out that someone in Mel Martinez’s office drafted this piece of tripe. He has resigned. Here’s the WaPo article; here’s Powerline’s commentary; here’s what Michelle Malkin has to say; and here’s Mickey Kaus’s take on the whole thing.

There’s plenty of blame to go around: Mike Allen for misrepresenting or misreporting how widely distributed the memo was; Tom Harkin for not coming forward sooner to clear things up; and Mel Martinez for apparently not reading the dog-gone memo before he handed it to someone else!!!!!!!

For the record, Powerline clearly reeled in a boot or a tire, not something more consequential, as I originally thought. My only other post on the subject was here.

Discussions - 12 Comments

I disagree with your assessment of Powerline. The WaPo and other papers ran a story with serious allegations that have been proven untrue. One guy writing a memo that his boss never read, only to later be distributed by Democrats, is not the same as "Republican leadership" sending the memo to 55 Senators. Not even close. But will the Post acknowledge that they were glaringly wrong? That they attacked like sharks with blood in the water because they are desperate to impugn Congress’ motives? No way.

Yes, the MSM journalism on this case was initially shoddy, until prodded by the folks at Powerline and others, who thought it looked fishy (to continue the image). Note that I do not attribute any "blame" to Powerline.


When will supposedly smart people like Republican senators and their chief aides ever learn? Don’t ever put anything in writing that you aren’t willing to see on the front page of the Washington Post! It’s such a simple rule. Those whom we count on to represent us would do well to follow it -- consistently.

I liked Joe Biden’s comment that Republicans "shouldn’t lose their memos."

Here is a good timeline of this whole memo debacle. I particularly liked this excerpt:

"Kurtz failed to indicate why it was "strange" that part of the memo was lifted from a press release by the senator who had co-sponsored the Schiavo legislation and took a leadership role in its passage. In hindsight, of course, it is perfectly clear why the Schiavo memo included text from Martinez’s press release. It is also perfectly clear why "no one seem[ed] to know who wrote it" -- those responsible for the memo were, unsurprisingly, keeping their involvement secret."

Using that WashTimes poll of Republican legislators as exonerating "evience" is really funny. Republicans said Republicans didn’t do it!

And as long as Joe Knippenberg is spreading blame around, why not sprinkle just a little bit on all those states-rights Republicans that pushed so hard to intervene so that they could get some brownie points with right-wing fundamentalists?

whoops, typo - I meant "evidence" in the next-to-last paragraph there.

What is wrong with scoring brownie points with "right-wing fundamentalists?" Do Democrats pander to left-wing secularist bigots? This sort of language, which demonizes your opponent, is not the language of rational political discourse. It is fundamentally undemocratic.

Senator X is disturbed about the Schiavo business and Senator Y could care less but Senator Y has constituents who are energized about the Schiavo affair. What is wrong with Senator X pointing out to Senator Y that it may be in his political best interest to join the bandwagon?

There is nothing illegitimate about the social conservative agenda. We have worked through legitimate democratic channels for 32 years to reverse Roe v. Wade using constitutional means. We will not stop until we succeed and the bile of our opponents will certainly not deter us from a just cause pursued with just means.

"We will not stop until we succeed." What if the American public does not want to outlaw abortion, does not want you to succeed? Do you consider clinic bombings to be "just means"?

And if Senator Y would embrace the "Save Terri" position strictly because it was in his/her political best interest (which I believe WAS the motivation for many or even most of those pols, Rep. or Dem., who did), I would think of that Senator as grossly unprincipled.

"What if the American public does not want to outlaw abortion"

1) They can repeal state laws regulating it.

2) If the public does not want to outlaw abortion, we will persuade them. We will not stop persuading until we succede.


"if Senator Y would embrace the "Save Terri" position strictly because it was in his/her political best interest ... I would think of that Senator as grossly unprincipled."

Only if he truly believed that the "Save Terri" position was seriously wrong.

"Do you consider clinic bombings to be "just means"?"

No, I do not and neither do 99.9% of all social conservatives. Like any group we have our fanatics and hotheads but fewer than most - unless you think giving a drink of water to a woman dying of thirst is fanaticism.

You sound EXTREMELY confident, Mr. Williams. What if you actually FAIL to persuade the public?

There’s a great analysis of the Schiavo memo affair here at Salon.. They say, "Citizen journalists? Try partisan hacks." I couldn’t agree more.

And let’s not forget this hilarious gem:


"Closer examination by The American Spectator, talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, The Weekly Standard, and Accuracy in Media (AIM) indicates that the memo is a fraud -- a political dirty trick, if you will, specifically aimed at causing public revulsion at Republicans," Newsmax.com, March 31.

Mr. Knippenberg cited Powerline’s "Fake but Accurate" rant earlier, but now we see the right trying a "Real but Not Widely Distributed or Read" ploy to try to minimize the issue now that they’ve been caught.

As I stated in response to a different post, the truth still reflects very badly on the MSM. One Republican Senator had a memo that he never read. He accidentally passed it to Tom Harkin, whose staff circulated it to other Democrats. With no evidence whatsoever, the MSM falsely reported that "Republican Party leaders" passed out this memo to all Republican Senators. Neither of those things happened. This says much more about the ineptitude of the media than it does about Republican leaders or, for that matter, anyone except the now-terminated aide who wrote the memo.

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