Jeb Bush & The Terri Schiavo Case: A Terrifying True Story
NOTE: This is a bombshell report from the respected Politico website. As the 2016 presidential campaign swings into high gear, the prospect of Jeb Bush as a serious candidate deserves careful scrutiny. His shocking performance in the Terri Schiavo case, carefully reviewed here by the site’s senior writer Michael Kruse, is loaded with ominous significance. These are excerpts; read the whole piece.]
CLEARWATER, Fla.—Sitting recently on his brick back patio here, Michael Schiavo called Jeb Bush a vindictive, untrustworthy coward.
For years, the self-described “average Joe” felt harassed, targeted and tormented by the most important person in the state.
“It was a living hell,” he said, “and I blame him.”
Michael Schiavo was the husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead woman from the Tampa Bay area who ended up at the center of one of the most contentious, drawn-out conflicts in the history of America’s culture wars. The fight over her death lasted almost a decade. It started as a private legal back-and-forth between her husband and her parents. Before it ended, it moved from circuit courts to district courts to state courts to federal courts, to the U.S. Supreme Court, from the state legislature in Tallahassee to Congress in Washington. The president got involved. So did the pope.
But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates. On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer—confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it’s the Jebbest thing Jeb’s ever done. . . .
[NOTE: The story describes how, beginning in 1998, eight years after her collapse into a coma, the Schiavo case went to court.]
. . . And after years of rehabilitation, of waiting for any sign of improvement and seeing none, Michael Schiavo decided to remove the feeding tube that kept his wife alive, saying she had told him and others she never would’ve wanted to be this way. . . .
“DONE AND ORDERED,” he wrote on February 11, 2000.
“I’m really limited on what I can do,” the governor reiterated to the conservative online publication World Net Daily in August. A judge had made a decision. Other judges had upheld the decision. . . .
[NOTE: But the case was appealed by her parents and others with Jeb Bush’s aid through numerous courts, from local Florida venues, to the state’s highest courtrooms, to federal courts, even landing in the lap of the Supreme Court. Every single one of the courts rejected efforts by her parents and Jeb Bush to stop the removal of her feeding tube after she had spent (now) ten years in an irreversible coma, certified as brain dead by numerous medical specialists.]
“I cannot issue an executive order when there is a court order upheld at every level in the judiciary.’ [Jeb Bush wrote] … I wish I could but I have no legal authority to do so,” he wrote. . . .
[NOTE: But he tried. And tried. And tried. He even pushed a special one-time-one-person law through the Republican-controlled Florida legislature to give him that power. He used it — until it was unanimously thrown out by the courts.]
“The courts have listened to sworn testimony and they have determined, court after court, one way,” said state Senator Alex Villalobos, a Republican from Miami. . . .
[NOTE: But Bush refused to concede. With his brother George W. now in the White House, and Republicans running Congress, a law was pushed through to authorize him to defy all the previous court actions. The courts stopped that one too.]
Bush’s last-ditch effort, before Terri finally died on March 31, 2005, involved the [Florida] Department of Children and Families. Attorneys for the state agency made motions to intervene based on thousands of anonymous allegations of abuse against Terri Schiavo. Bush ordered the mobilization of officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement—in essence his own police force—and they readied to seize Terri Schiavo if a court order allowed it. “I requested that FDLE in concert with the Department of Children and Families be prepared to enter,” Bush told reporters, “if that was going to be the option available to us”—which it wasn’t, because judges said no. “We were ready to go,” a Bush spokesman told the Miami Herald. “We didn’t want to break the law.” . . .
[NOTE: Here’s what almost happened, as the Miami Herald tells it: “In the final hours before Schiavo died there was talk that Bush would dispatch state law enforcement agents to her hospice, which would have set up an unprecedented confrontation with local police,” who were charged with enforcing the existing court orders authorizing removal of the feeding tube. Imagine!]
In June,  the medical examiner released Terri Schiavo’s autopsy, which confirmed what the judges had ruled for years based on the testimony from doctors concerning her prognosis. Her limbs had atrophied, and her hands had clenched into claws, and her brain had started to disappear. It weighed barely more than a pound and a third, less than half the size it would have been under normal circumstances. “No remaining discernible neurons,” the autopsy said. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t feel, not even pain. Forty-one years after her birth, 15 years after her collapse, Terri Schiavo was literally a shell of who she had been. . . .
“[Jeb Bush] doesn’t accept loss. He doesn’t accept that the answer is no. He couldn’t possibly consider that he may be wrong,” [Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie] Wasserman Schultz said this month. “If he had the chance to be president, he’ll do what he’s always done—he’ll do everything he can to implement his very rigid, ideological view of how the world should be. Voters are going to have to ask: Do you want a president who thinks the executive, the president, is supreme, above all else? It’s frightening to think about what he could do with that kind of power as president.”
“Trying to write laws that clearly are outside the constitutionality of his state, trying to override the entire judicial system, that’s very, very dangerous,” said Arthur Caplan, a New York University bioethicist who edited a book about the Schiavo case. “When you’re willing to do that, you’re willing to break the back of the country.”
Listen, Americans. Listen, and learn.