He won, you lost.
“We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising
embryonic stem cell research.”
— President Barack Obama, March 10, 2009
“Bush to allow limited stem cell funding”
— CNN headline, Aug. 10, 2001
President George W. Bush’s Aug. 9, 2001, executive order on federal funding for stem cell research authorized federal taxpayer funding for that research — including experiments conducted on cells derived from human embryos — for the first time.
But in that authorization — which led to hundreds of millions of federal taxpayer dollars being spent on stem cell research — the President disallowed federal funding for experiments that would result in the destruction of human embryos. It was a political compromise rooted in respect for both sides of the debate.
President Bush gave liberals the federal subsidies they had demanded. At the same time, he showed respect for pro-lifers by refusing to allow their tax dollars to fund the direct destruction of human embryos.
As the headline above shows, even CNN got the story right initially. The president’s decision “would allow federal funding of research using existing stem cell lines,” CNN reported.
At the time, a lot of pro-lifers were upset with Bush. They had hoped he would ban all embryonic stem cell research, or at least all federal funding for it. In the interest of science, he did neither.
On Tuesday, President Obama overturned Bush’s executive order and claimed credit for undoing what he called “a false choice between sound science and moral values.” He said, “In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent.”
And therein lies the problem with Obama’s order. Bush’s decision was compromise; Obama’s is a diktat.
President Bush listened to all sides of the debate, interviewed scientists, and came to a decision that was based on the need for the government to balance competing beliefs and interests.
“As I thought through this issue I kept returning to two fundamental questions,” he said in his 2001 speech. “First, are these frozen embryos human life and therefore something precious to be protected? And second, if they’re going to be destroyed anyway, shouldn’t they be used for a greater good, for research that has the potential to save and improve other lives?
“I’ve asked those questions and others of scientists, scholars, bioethicists, religious leaders, doctors, researchers, members of Congress, my Cabinet and my friends. I have read heartfelt letters from many Americans. I have given this issue a great deal of thought, prayer, and considerable reflection, and I have found widespread disagreement.”
Seven and a half years later, President Obama chose to disregard entirely the minority view.
“It’s a difficult and delicate balance,” he said on Tuesday. “And many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view.
“But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?