If reaction from television-viewing neighbors is a reliable indicator of his future success in the political arena, Michael Schiavo may want to rethink his plans.
News of the Clearwater, Fla., resident’s endorsement of Virginia Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine in that state’s gubernatorial election prompted a chorus of criticism.
Michael Schiavo (Photo: Baynews9.com)
“Who cares what this man thinks? He legally starved his wife to death. Why does his opinion matter to anyone?” was the response posted by W. D. Patton on BayNews9′s online Viewer Center message board. Patton’s sentiment strikes a common chord among the 26 messages posted as of this writing.
WorldNetDaily reported late last week Schiavo, who succeeded in March in his battle to end the life of his brain-damaged wife, Terri Schiavo, over the objections of her parents and siblings, weighed in on the closely watched race with hopes of “getting more involved in the political process,” according to the manager of the Democratic political consulting firm hired to release a statement regarding Schiavo’s plug for Kaine.
On the eve of the off-year election, the Virginia race remains too close to call. Democrat Kaine came from behind in the polls to hold a 49 to 46 percent edge over his Republican rival, former Virginia attorney general Jerry Kilgore, according to a Rasmussen poll. A more recent Mason-Dixon poll released Friday puts the candidates at about even, with Kaine attracting 45 percent of registered voters surveyed to Kilgore’s 44 percent.
This most expensive election in state history at $40 million, according to USA Today, is viewed by insiders as a critical preview of coming attractions in 2006 and 2008, where outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is a potential presidential contender. Term limits bar Warner from seeking re-election.
As such, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has called for his supporters to work for the Kaine campaign as it enters the final stretch, reported the Financial Times.
Former President Bill Clinton raised $1.5 million for Kaine, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and first lady Laura Bush collectively raised $3.5 million for Kilgore.
President Bush, on his return trip from Latin America, briefly touched
down at a campaign rally for Kilgore at the Richmond International Airport
“He’s got a clear agenda, and that’s what you have to have to be
governor,” Bush told the crowd estimated to number 7,000, according
to organizers cited by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Kilgore and Kaine broached the subject of Terri Schiavo’s death during a televised Oct. 9 debate. Kilgore stated that as governor he would “not agree to the forced starvation of any individual” if they had not “had a say” in the matter.
“I don’t think governors should use their PR grandstanding to intervene in these cases,” Kaine contrarily responded, according to the Associated Press.
The debate reportedly prompted Schiavo to speak up and speak out in favor of Kaine.
“I have seen firsthand what can happen when a governor disagrees with a single citizen. In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush abused the power of his office in an attempt to replace my personal family decisions with his own opinions and political grandstanding,” Schiavo said in the statement released by the Miami-based November Group. “Even though I am not a Virginian, I care deeply about the outcome of this election because one of the candidates for governor has said publicly that he would follow Jeb Bush’s lead in similar cases.”
Five of the 26 viewers of the Tampa Bay area cable news network who offered their opinions agreed with Schiavo’s assessment of Bush. But most of these didn’t find his endorsement newsworthy.
“He is right about the Bush brothers. They had no right to stick their noses into that can of worms,” wrote a viewer with the online ID “Gregg.”
“I don’t really think this is news. No one really cares who votes for whom,” Gregg added.
Two viewers applauded Schiavo.
“Governor Bush WAY overstepped his authority by stepping in the way he did. If Bush was up for re-election, he would have lost my vote completely. I have no more respect for the man at all. I say good for Mr. Schiavo for going out and standing up for what he believes,” wrote Carla Backitis.
“You go Michael! Oh, and ‘Bush Brothers’ … Stay out of my marriage and the decisions my spouse and I make, and stay out of my uterus!” concurred Sick of Big Bro.
The vast majority of viewer comments, however, panned Schiavo’s attempt to wade into the political fray. A sampling of their postings includes the following:
“Schiavo’s opinions are worth two words, ‘Who cares.’ I vote for whomever I think is the best candidate. I don’t need an adulterer who murdered his wife to help me out.”
“When did this guy become politically relevant? Mike, you had the right to want your own life. Your wife died long before the plug was pulled and due to insurance policy requirements you could not simply divorce her near-dead carcass and marry your next love. But now you’ve had your 15 minutes it is time to slink quietly back into obscurity.”
“[Who] gives a flying crap what or who this guy thinks should run for what?”
“Who gives a rat’s a– what this guy thinks or who he likes politically. His 15 minutes are up. Maybe he should hook up with wacko Cindy Sheehan.”
“Who cares who Michael Schiavo is going to vote for … call me crazy, but he’s no one special.”
“This SOB is going to get rich one way or another off of his wife’s death. Movies, book deals. … I am sick of this CREEP getting attention for killing his wife!”
“Where did you get the idea that Michael Schiavo is newsworthy, or that his opinions are important enough to warrant even a blurb? He should sink back into the nothingness he was before the Terri Schiavo case.”
Michael Schiavo joins the ranks of presidential wannabes soaking up the wattage of the political spotlight in Virginia. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned for Kilgore, while Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., stumped for Kaine.