Appearing at an Iowa town hall, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley was asked by a constituent to “denounce the tactics that are getting thrown at the Democrats.”
“You know there is nothing in the House bill that will require any elderly person to stand before a committee and decide whether or not they are going to live or die,” the voter told Grassley. According to the Politico account, the roughly 200-person crowd booed.
Rather than tell the truth, Grassley pandered.
“With all the other fears people have and what they do in England then you get the idea that somebody is going to decide grandma lived too long,” said Grassley. “You understand why you get it. Now, the best thing to do if you want people to think about end of life number one — Jesus Christ is a place to start. It ought to be done within the family and considered an religious and ethical issue not something politicians decide.”
There is absolutely nothing in the House bill that would give government any say whatsoever over such intimate decisions. Grassley’s statement strikes me as the act of a coward or a fool.
Grassley has never struck me as a fool, but I could be wrong.
In this context, it’s important to remember what was undoubtedly the single most egregious case of political meddling in end-of-life decisions, the Republican-led effort by Congress to intervene in the tragic Terri Schiavo case. Grassley wasn’t on the Senate floor when that vote came in 2005, but the man who now claims that such decisions “ought to be done within the family and considered an religious and ethical issue, not something politicians decide” made his opinion clear.
“I support the effort to protect Terri Schiavo. It’s the first case of its kind, a chance to choose life over death. I gave the option to life,” he said at the time.