It's been over a year since that bastion of liberalism – the U.S. House of Representatives – approved federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It looks as though this week the Senate will finally do the same.
But President Bush, in his ever-expanding role as "The Decider," is threatening his first veto and holding public health hostage to his skewed-faith-based reality and ideological crusade (see DefCon's ad in today's New York Times: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job").
Despite our need for a sane science policy – and supporters of the legislation including Flip-Flopping Dr. Frist and Nancy Reagan literally urging Republicans to enact this for the Gipper – Bush prefers to side with such well-informed (non) members of the scientific community as:
Rev. Pat Robertson: "Before long, we'll be harvesting body parts from fully formed people. Once you begin this...utilitarian use of cells, then everything is up for grabs."
Rev. Jerry Falwell: "...the President was right to ban federal money going to this dangerous and unethical research."
James Dobson: "Experiments on the blastocytes, which are fertilized eggs, has a Nazi-esque aura to it."
As David Broder writes in The Washington Post, "… in the nation as a whole, polls show that public opinion supports expanded stem cell research." As many as 72% of Americans, in fact. But this administration is once again showing its true colors in this latest act of pandering. One hopes voters will make proponents of zealotry over science pay at the polls in 2006.