Read the whole thing:
This remarkably prescient scenario, first broadcast on the eve of Terri Schiavo’s death, anticipated just how far the zeitgeist would swing in the month after the right’s overreach in her case. A USA Today poll a week later found that Americans by 55 to 40 percent believe that “Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are ‘trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans’ on moral values.” In other words, what Hillary Clinton’s overreaching big-government health care plan did to the Democrats a decade ago is the whammy the Schiavo case has inflicted on the G.O.P. today. And like the Democrats back then, the Republican elites have been so besotted with their election victory and so out of touch with the mainstream they didn’t see their comeuppance coming. At the height of the feeding-tube frenzy, Peggy Noonan told her Wall Street Journal troops that federal intervention in the Schiavo family brawl was a political slam dunk: “Politicians, please, think of yourselves! Move to help Terri Schiavo, and no one will be mad at you, and you’ll keep a human being alive.” (Italics hers.)
Oops. But what’s given the Schiavo case resonance beyond the Schiavo story itself is that it crystallized the bigger picture of Olympian arrogance and illiberalism on the right. The impulse that led conservatives to intervene in a family’s bitter debate over a feeding tube is the same one that makes them turn a debate over a Senate rule on filibusters into a litmus test of spiritual correctness. Surely no holier-than-thou Hollywood pontificator could be harder to take than the sanctimonious Bill Frist, who, unlike Barbra Streisand, can’t even sing.