Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Plausible deniability

We finally know who wrote the infamous memo that called the Terri Schiavo case "a great political issue" for Republicans.

Courtesy of loyal blog reader J.B.G., who provided the update in the comments on a previous post, we learn that Brian Darling, legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., admitted today that he drafted the document. Martinez immediately accepted Darling's resignation, The Washington Post reported.

Martinez, a freshman senator from Schiavo's home state, asserted that he never read the memo, that he doesn't know how he obtained it, and that he passed it on inadvertently to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. If that CYA theory doesn't do the trick for you, you can go with Harkin's account, in which Martinez handed him the memo and referred to it as "talking points -- something that we're working on here."

Though this story further confirms the Schiavo memo's existence and authorship by a Republican staffer, it leaves unanswered a more disturbing question: Is this memo an aberration, or does it reflect how GOP congressional leaders think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My theory is that the memo sprouted legs and jumped into Martinez's bag/briefcase before he realized what had happened.

But seriously, I think Martinez meant to give Harkin a different memo on the subject, something hopefully less crass than what Harkin did receive. I doubt that if Martinez did realize the memo he held in his hands, he wouldn't have given a member of the opposing party some ammo that could be used to potentially blast his party.

On another part of the issue, if the Washington Times story is true, none of the 55 Republican senators read the infamous memo until news of it broke. If this memo hadn't been passed onto any senator (of course, all could be denying it), then it seems like the news networks and the Democrats made a little too much ado about a memo that was never intended to be be distributed and that never even made it to the desks of Republican senators.

Yes, the memo did originate from the Republican side, but from a staffer rather than a lawmaker. It doesn't make the situation any better, but it's a little bit of a relief that it wasn't written by a "grandstander" but rather an underling.


2:01 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Because Martinez had his hands on the Schiavo memo, The Washington Times' story can't be true to the extent that it claims no Republican senator read the memo. Unless, of course, we're to believe that Martinez can't even be bothered to glance at what's on a one-page document that he's giving to a fellow senator.

I think the "ado" was justified. I don't see why a Senate staffer would draft a talking points memo unless he intended for it to be distributed among like-minded people. The memo might not have been widely passed around yet when Harkin got his copy, but chances are that it was about to be.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might I remind everyone that any reference to the Washington Times in a rational, logical discussion is hereby forbidden.


11:42 PM  

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