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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is actually a sack of flour dumped into poorly tailored suits, is out on the campaign trail pandering to the religious right like a good Republican candidate for president. Yesterday he sat down for a radio interview with Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, to brag about his actions defending life, such as the time he told his brother George W. Bush not to invade Iraq and maim and kill hundreds of thousands of people for absolutely no reason.

Ha ha, kidding! Jeb actually bragged about his meddling from the governor’s mansion in the case of Terri Schiavo, the poor Florida woman who fell into a vegetative state after collapsing from unexplained reasons in 1990. Thirteen years later, after watching her languish in hospice in a state of living death for over a decade, her husband and legal guardian, Michael, decided to remove her feeding tube, allowing her the dignity of peacefully dying over the indignity of "living" for another 40 years as basically just a bunch of involuntary nervous system functions being turned occasionally to avoid bed sores.

Terri's Catholic parents objected to the move and began fighting a furious legal campaign to seize guardianship from their son-in-law, Terri's husband. Bush took up the cause with some of the most shameful actions engaged in by a sitting governor of any state in living memory, which, as our boyfriend Charlie Pierce has recounted at length, set off a series of demands and events far removed from the actual reality of what had actually happened to Terri Schiavo.

As it happens, Politico recently published a terrific piece – wait, Politico did that? Huh – recounting the Schiavo case, which in addition to giving Terri’s husband Michael a chance to bite another large hunk of meat out of Jeb’s sanctimonious ass, reminds us what a hypocritical toadie Jeb can be. For example, Politico points out that Jeb once wrote in an essay that he believed in the need for “passing moral judgments,” which seems to conflict with his telling Jim Daly that

I tried to persuade people first. I don’t think being judgmental and coming down from the podium and telling them how it’s going to be is the proper approach.

Ha ha, that's a good one from this ten-pound bag of Gold Medal that is running for president! Jeb sure did a great job of “persuading” people in the Schiavo case, when he had his staff write up a law giving him the one-time authority to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted after a judge had ruled it could be removed as per the wishes of her husband, who was her legal guardian. Because screw the law or respect for a family's privacy or separation of powers, Jeb’s faith told him it was the right thing to do and Florida is a well-known Catholic theocracy.

Jeb was so certain that meddling from the highest levels of government into a private family matter was a political winner, he even got his brother, then "the president," to fly home from a vacation to sign legislation permitting Terri's parents to reinsert her feeding tube as she was already being allowed to peacefully die.

In fact, it was not a political winner, because it was disgusting. If you can find a poll on anything more unanimous than 82 percent of Americans telling Jeb Bush to put a cork in his own feeding tube, we'd like to see it.

Jeb also told Daly regarding the Schiavo case, “I did this all within the confines of the power I had.” We’ll just ignore the inconvenient fact that a Florida circuit judge and the state’s Supreme Court both disagreed with Jeb and shot the law down. Then the United States Supreme Court refused to even hear the case. But Jeb still thinks he was right and it was probably worth a couple of million votes in a presidential election that was still 13 years in the future, so it was totally worth it.

Jeb also spent some of his time with Daly bragging about how Florida was the only state to fund with taxpayer dollars those crisis pregnancy centers you may have heard about. These are the places run by religious anti-abortion groups that have a habit of lying to pregnant women about how abortions cause breast cancer and mental illness and are a hugely risky medical procedure when in fact abortions are significantly safer than actual childbirth. Actually as of 2006 about 20 states gave funding to crisis pregnancy centers, and even the federal government during Jeb’s brother’s administration did the same. But good try shoring up your credentials with the religious right, Jeb.

Of course next to the other theocratic nutbags already in or likely to get into the GOP primary, Jeb is touted as the moderate Establishment candidate. Because Americans are dumb.

[Right Wing Watch]

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