President Bush, in response to Terri Schaivo’s death yesterday, said that we should “to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.”

What is a culture of life? Are we now a culture of death or torture? (Well, maybe in Iraq we are.) And which cases qualify as having “serious doubts and questions”?

Using language sure to incite and obfuscate, the president is trying to make political hay out of this tragedy. Who will be able to contest a husband’s decision? Who has standing in the courts? And is Bush really ready to fund every life that someone wants to continue.

E.J. Dionne and David Brooks discussed this question last night on All Things Considered. It was illuminating. At what point is it too expensive to keep someone alive. What if someone wants to be kept alive at all costs? Is all life equal? Do we keep someone alive only when there is unanimous consent that the brain is dead? Or as the Coroner in the Wizard of Oz said:

Is morally, ethic’lly,
Spiritually, physically, Positively, absolutely,
Undeniably and reliably Dead!!
… And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.

So what is most

Is remains to be seen if the GOP has overstepped its pursuance of the culture of life. And I don’t think the Democrats silence on the issue gives them much advantage going into this debate that is sure to result in attempts to legislate these decisions.

The case again proves the GOP’s concern about “activists judges” and “big government” have no moral basis. Just as Democrats are, Republicans love activist judges when they affirm the party’s interests.