President-elect Obama’s announcement last week that he will reverse Bill Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy early in his tenure is clearly meant to appease those angry about Pastor Rick Warren’s inauguration invocation. So, Obama’s initial inclusive gesture to social conservatives was quickly canceled out by actual policy changes more in line with his leftist campaign rhetoric.
Reports swirl around Washington that conservatives are being “wooed” by Obama’s charisma. As air kisses distract, we may expect impending leftward policy reversals through the recision of executive orders and federal regulation “adjustments.” With the March for Life fast on the heels of the inauguration, I’m betting President Obama will not use that opportunity to govern from the center. Rather, we should expect another hard left near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22.
The most likely move, one which he probably hopes can be done quietly, might be the reversal of the Bush limits on the use of federal funding for research using new embryonic stem cell lines. This cynical move will be designed to warm pro-abortion forces gathered in Washington to celebrate their favorite Constitutional overreach, while sending a chill down the spines of hundreds of thousands gathered to march for life.
It’s not just the prospect of embryo farming that should concern conservatives. The redirection of research monies into embryonic stem cell research will impede progress into truly important stem cell therapies. The dirty little secret liberals don’t want you to know is that stem cell science has moved beyond the use of embryonic stem cells. George Bush, as Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, was right. There was a better way.
The really exciting stem cell research in the last year or so has centered on the transformation of adult cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Right now, researchers can take adult skin or blood cells and turn them into iPS cells as powerful as embryonic SCs. These cells have the potential to reverse heart disease, diabetes, paralysis and a host of other diseases. The benefit to individuals and our economy will be enormous.
The respect-for-life issues aside, it probably isn’t a good sign that this new administration is falling back on antiquated policies and approaches to embryonic stem cell research. It surely will keep President-elect Obama’s constituencey, the abortionists, happy, but it isn’t good that tax dollars will be wasted on research that is now obsolete.