I invite you to think back to those heady days in the fall of 2004 when it was possible to believe that John Kerry might just squeak out an electoral victory over George Bush. In the debates between the two candidates, Bush constantly talked up his consistency while accusing Kerry of changing positions.
Bush argued -- apparently effectively -- that in this time of crisis, a leader who strikes a position and sticks with it to the bitter end is the one best suited to govern. He talked about having the strength of his convictions. It didn't matter, I guess, that he had famously reversed himself on numerous issues and that Kerry was, in fact, the more consistent politician. (It didn't help that Kerry was pathologically inept at defining his stances.)
Commentator James Ridgeway wrote in this week's Village Voice, "Attorneys in Texas claimed that Bush, while governor, had signed a law that would have indeed permitted removal of a feeding tube in situations similar to Schiavo's. If so, that would make Bush look like the most cynical of politicians. "
Well, James, here it is:
166.039. (a) If an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive and is incompetent or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication, the attending physician and the patient's legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the patient.