MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan advocated sending "federal marshals" into the hospital room of Terri Schiavo to reinsert her feeding tube. Yet when the Clinton administration sent U.S. marshals to seize Elian Gonzalez from his great-uncle's Miami home and return him to Cuba in 2000, Buchanan described the government's intervention as "a police-state tactic one associates with a Communist tyranny, not the United States."
On the March 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Buchanan asserted: "What George Bush ought to do right now is send federal marshals in and pick up Terri Schiavo and put that ... food and hydration tube back into her." Buchanan added: "Action [by the president] ... creates consensus."
Yet, when "[e]ight helmeted, SWAT-equipped federal agents broke down the front door of the Miami home of Elian Gonzalez's relatives before dawn yesterday and removed the boy," as The Washington Post reported on April 23, 2000, Buchanan had a very different reaction, despite the fact that in that case, the federal government was acting to "enforce the decision of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the federal court," as then-President Bill Clinton noted. As a March 23 Knight Ridder Newspapers article noted about the Schiavo case: "State courts have sided with Michael Schiavo, who insists his wife told him she would never want to be kept alive artificially."
On April 22, 2000, the Associated Press reported Buchanan's condemnation of federal action in the Elian Gonzalez case:
The predawn Easter weekend raid on the home of the Miami family of Elian Gonzalez was a police-state tactic one associates with a Communist tyranny, not the United States. The devoted family that gave Elian months of love and affection was treated like a gang of kidnappers. But the real kidnapper of Elian Gonzalez is Fidel Castro; Mr. Clinton and [then-Attorney General] Janet Reno acted as his accomplices.