Not that it's a big deal, since it's only about lies and deceit in Washington, but here's an excellent post (via Kos) on the history of that Schiavo talking points memo from a couple of weeks ago, complete with connectable dots from Mel Martinez's office to Alexander Strategy Group to (surprise) Tom DeLay.
The AP story on the memo's origins, however, is a Congressional huckster's dream, as it fails to mention Martinez's and DeLay's and others' bald-faced lying about their familiarity with the talking points. In fact, the lefty, Osama-lovin', America-blamin' AP lets Martinez play apologetic victim:
"Until this afternoon, I had never seen it and had no idea a copy of it had ever been in my possession," Martinez said of the document. [sniff!] He had previously denied knowing anything about the memo and condemned its sentiments.Which is interesting, because according to the same AP article, Martinez handed out the memo himself. Martinez "said he pulled a one-page document from his coat pocket and handed [it] to Harkin. 'Unbeknownst to me...I had given him a copy of the now infamous memo.'"
Now I don't know about you, but I tend to look at things in my possession before passing them on to other human beings. This piece of paper was in Martinez's coat pocket. Are we expected to believe that a staffer put the memo in Martinez's pocket and said, "Give this to Tom Harkin," and Martinez dutifully obeyed without looking at it or asking what it said? Did the reporter challenge Martinez? Apparently not. Goddamned liberal media.
But how could the reporter have known what Martinez, the sponsor of the infamous bill, had said on the subject of "Terri"? Why, he wrote about it for the National Review. Compare the following:
Schiavo Talking Point #8:
This legislation ensures that individuals like Terri Schiavo are guaranteed the same legal protections as convicted murderers like Ted Bundy.Mel in NRO:
...this legislation would give incapacitated individuals like Terri, who have been given what amounts to a death sentence by the courts, federal habeas corpus protections to ensure that she receives the same due process protections as convicted murderers given the death penalty.I'm confused. Which sentiments did Martinez "condemn"? The ones that he nearly plagiarized from the memo he'd never seen?
AP, do your fucking job.
UPDATE: There's a prize in each box! For once, Ace of Spades and the NY Times agree, even if Mr. of Spades isn't happy about it.
UPDATE: Yesterday on NPR's All Things Considered, Andrea Seabrook reported that Martinez found out that the memo came from his office when Tom Harkin called him and told him that Martinez had handed the memo to him. Martinez allegedly called a staff meeting in which he discovered that a "staffer" had penned the memo. As Jerome Armstrong noted, this "staffer" was Brian Darling, Martinez's legal counsel, who has ties to Tom DeLay. It's worth noting, as Armstrong does, that DeLay also (coincidentally) used the same "death sentence" mantra as Martinez (TP #8 above).
As for Martinez's disavowal of the talking points, here's what he said on the March 20 edition of Fox News Sunday:
[CHRIS] WALLACE: Senator, how do you explain, then, these talking points, which have been circulated among Republican senators? And let's put them up on the screen, so our viewers can see them. Among the talking points: This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited. And this is another one of the Republican talking points: This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida -- who's a Democrat up for reelection next year -- has already refused to become a co-sponsor. And this is a tough issue for Democrats. Senator Martinez, these talking points sure look political.Technically, he might be right. He may not have seen the talking points before then. He may only have known them by heart, having been told them by his legal counsel, Brian Darling.
MARTINEZ: And I reject those. I've never seen them before today. And I'll tell you, they're not a part of what I think this case is about.
UPDATE: More musings and Mel's admission that the memo wasn't approved "for circulation." Plus the recent revelation to non-Floridians that this is all deja vu.
UPDATE: According to Raw Story (I haven't double-checked), Matt Yancey wrote the original AP story.