Michael Schiavo v. Jeb (Sharpton) Bush

06/21/2005 05:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Only a day after I ripped Jeb Bush for his despicable treatment of Michael Schiavo, the story became a little more complicated. Schiavo got weird in the way he chose to bury his wife, making it seem on the gravestone as if she had died 15 years ago. He also put on the stone a reference to himself ("I Kept My Promise"), as if her whole life were about him.

One of the unfortunate things about this case is that practically the whole country last winter chose up sides--as if one had to be either with the parents or the husband. I argued (Newsweek, April 4) that Michael Schiavo should have turned over custody, but that the way the Bushes and the rightwingers were exploiting the painful situation was a much bigger outrage. The same is true now. Schiavo chose a strange way to bury his wife, but he didn't leave her to die 15 years ago, as Jeb Bush last week implied. Bush treated Schiavo just as Al Sharpton treated Steven Pagones in the Tawana Brawley case of the 1980s--as an innocent pawn he could slime for his larger ambitions.