Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006

3/21/2005

The Schiavo Divide

Red or Blue? Who knew the real divide was over a brain-damaged woman in Florida.

Minnesota’s Congressional delegation was evenly split again, 4 to 4, this time over the issue of Terri Schiavo. Only the split was over who could bother to attend a vote. Representatives Kennedy, Jim Ramstad (R), John Kline (R), and James Oberstar (DFL) all voted yea on Bill S 686 ES while the reminder of the delegation didn’t even show up. Of the four who voted, only Kennedy has thus far released a statement---a portion of his floor speech:

"Since I was a child, to this very day on the floor of this House, I have been guided by a fundamental principle: that we as men and women and all of us as a society, will be judged according to how we treat the most vulnerable among us. That is the issue we face today…

"The law ought not to provide murderers guilty of terrible crimes more protections than an innocent young woman lying in a Florida hospital bed. So today, we must act on behalf of Terri Schiavo. Congress must act on behalf of all those who cannot speak for themselves or defend themselves.

"Americans believe in a culture of life, not a culture that tells the weak and the vulnerable there is no place for them at our table. We make progress toward that culture of life one life at a time, one heart at a time. Today, let us start by helping Terri Schiavo live."


Of the four representatives who didn’t vote, so far only Betty McCollum has released any comments. Given her remarks, one has to wonder if McCollum felt this strongly about Terri Schiavo needing to die, why didn’t she return to vote?:

“After fifteen years Ms. Terri Schiavo continues to live in a vegetative state with no hope for recovery from her severe brain damage. Ms. Schiavo, her husband, her entire family and her health care providers deserve our prayers as they continue to confront the difficult decisions surrounding this tragic situation. The medical decisions that are being made regarding end-of-life care for Ms. Schiavo are a matter for Terri’s husband, her family and her doctors to make. In my opinion, it is absolutely inappropriate for Congress to be acting to direct medical attention on behalf of any individual regardless of the circumstances.

Ms. Terri Schiavo deserves the right to human dignity and respect. Instead, this brain damaged woman and her family are being used as political pawns. Republican Leader Tom Delay has decided it is in his interest to exploit Terri Schiavo’s misery and the anguish of her loved ones for political gain. Nothing I have witnessed in Congress has been more cynical or distasteful.”


The absence of Minnesota’s Methuselah, Martin Olav Sabo, isn’t surprising given his staunch pro-choice voting history, but the non-votes of Gil Gutknecht and Collin Peterson (DFL) might give pro-life voters in the 1st and 7th Congressional districts a splash of cold water to the face. Peterson touts his pro-life endorsements as does Gutknecht, both of whom have 100% pro-life voting histories.

Don’t be surprised if those perfect scores both show a slight dent come 2006.

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