Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Decider Has Decided

Well, it took him five-and-a-half years, but the Decider has finally issued his very first veto. *sniff!* Our little boy is all growed up!

As we all know, President Bush has stamped his feet and made noises about issuing vetoes many times before -- on serious matters like funding for Iraq, the anti-torture bill, the budget, pensions, the FAA, the ports deal, spending bills, etc. Those have always been empty threats, though, since Bush has been content to skip his constitutional right to veto and instead use his imaginary boy-king power of the "signing statement" to undercut the laws.

But now, at long last, he's found a cause worth vetoing and has finally pulled the trigger. The cause? Stem cell research.

In the most important sense, this is a sad day for the country. The scientific community is universally in favor of stem cell research, which they believe could lead to cures for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes, and on and on. Bush has sent the millions of Americans suffering from such diseases a clear message -- your current state of life is not as important as a five-day-old frozen embryo that's going to be discarded anyway. Or, more to the point, your life isn't as important as the allegiance he has to the Religious Right.

Politically, of course, this is a tremendous gift to the Democratic Party. Public opinion on stem cell research is an overwhelming 2-to-1 in favor, with notorious left-wing lunatics like Nancy Reagan and Bill Frist lending very vocal support. Judging from today's press conference, the White House apparently sees this as a good way to rally the pro-life movement for the fall elections. However, it's clear that pro-lifers are evenly split on the issue, as seen in Orrin Hatch's rather eloquent statement supporting stem cell research and the voting breakdown in the Senate.

In the end, the Democrats are poised to wrap themselves in the mantle of a movement as equally powerful in its rhetoric and rallying effects as the pro-life movement -- something Jonathan Alter has astutely named the "pro-cure" movement. That's not only the right political framing, but also the right thing to do.

Thanks, Decider! I'd kiss you if I weren't afraid of catching the Liebercooties.

11 comments:

Mike said...

Now that he's got the hang of it, I think he may get more obsessed with vetoes than with suckling pigs:

http://mikesneighborhood.blogspot.com/2006/07/hell-i-didnt-know-i-could-just-say-no.html

Otto Man said...

Nice post, Mike. And, sad to say, probably not too far fetched.

Bob said...

FYI-

The Korean scientist Alter calls "brilliant" in this older piece is been a little discredited.

Harvard is now researching the breakthroughs he claimed to have already achieved.

I like the term "pro-cure" though.

I finally posted to my own blog. For little about Michigan and stem cell take a look here:

http://bloggingbybob.blogspot.com/2006/07/thank-god-for-my-health_19.html#links

S.W. Anderson said...

When even Orrin Hatch is on board, you get a good index of how far out Bush is on the ignorant fringe. Or maybe it's how desperate Bush is to pander to ignorant-fringe types, who knows?

I've got an idea that might make him wish he hadn't vetoed the bill.

I want pregnant Democrats and liberals to demand their zygotes, embryos and fetuses be counted in the next census. Especially in red states and Republican congressional districts.

Bob said...

"I want pregnant Democrats and liberals to demand their zygotes, embryos and fetuses be counted in the next census. Especially in red states and Republican congressional districts."

I have heard legislators consider sponsoring bills to allow the child tax deduction to apply to embryos. If they're really people, I guess that's fair right?

Thrillhous said...

Great photo choice, OM. Sums it up nicely.

I fear Ezra's got it right though: this is a net gain for the GOP. Individual reps got to vote in whichever way they figured would best help their reelection chances, and they got to "prove" that they don't just go along w/ everything Bush says.

I go back to the '04 election. Kerry had Michael J Fox, the wife of Christopher Reeves, and Nancy freakin' Reagan in his corner, and it didn't do nothing.

I know that national politics will play a big role in local elections this fall, but I just haven't seen any evidence that this issue is a vote-winner for dems.

Mags said...

Great post. Do you by any chance have a link to Orrin Hatch's statement?

Otto Man said...

Sorry, mags. i saw it live but couldn't find a link. It was a nice line about how helping the living in need was the most "pro-life" thing they could do.

Bob said...

"I know that national politics will play a big role in local elections this fall, but I just haven't seen any evidence that this issue is a vote-winner for dems."

I totally, but repectfully disagree.

The supporters of Governor Corzine (D-New Jersey) used stem cell as a wedge issue against his Repub. opponent, who eventually swithced his position on the issue under the pressure of ads run by a thrid party.

If we have the guts to use this issue in a forcefuly way, (The New Jersy ads featured a guy in a wheelchair) we could make a difference. The Wisconsin dems use it strongly and so should Governor Granholm, here in Michigan, whose opponent is a wackjob right wing religous nut who has put on the impression that he's a middle of the road buisnessman...er billionaire.

Otto Man said...

Never take sides against the Family, Fredo. Er, Thrillhous.

I'm with Bob on this one. There's a thick haze of "the two parties are just the same" out there among independents and the cure-or-no-cure angle certainly cuts through all that.

Thrillhous said...

Thanks a lot, Bob, now I look like an idiot.

Those examples you cite are very welcome news to me; during our guber election last year here in VA, stem cells didn't really come up. It was all about immigrants and the death penalty.

As OM says, it's always good to clearly differentiate the good guys from the bad guys with issues like this. I noticed that G. Felix Allen (R-va) voted anti-cure, so let's hope my main man Jim Webb can use it to help him whip Felix's candy ass.