I understand the desire to keep activist judges from yanking all references to America’s majority religion from public life. The House’s actions to deny the courts jurisdiction to address the legality or constitutionality of the words of the Pledge of Allegiance simply strike me as odd. Would it not take an amendment to the Constitution to force the Supreme Court to recognize something as inviolable by them? In other words, making the words to the Pledge something they can’t rule as unconstitutional would require this legislation to be in the Constitution. Wouldn’t it?
I’m keeping an eye around the ‘sphere for opinions on this one and will advise…
After all of the crap law that’s been passed since 2000, the bill the President will make his 1st veto on has to be this one, doesn’t it? The Senate passed its version of the funding bill for stem cell research by a vote of 63-37 which sounds like a pretty safe margin. That is, until you toss in the President’s likely veto and you realize you need 2/3rds of the Sentate to vote for an override. That means 66 votes are needed and while 63 isn’t that far from 66, it might as well be on another planet when you’re talking votes in the Senate.
The House is even worse. With 435 members, a 2/3rds vote means getting 290 in favor of the override and the original bill only passed with 238. That means needing 52 more Reps voting to override the veto than voted for the measure to begin with. The technical term for that is, “ain’t gonna happen.”
I understand completely both sides of this debate. One the one hand you have people who have a serious issue with using human life for experimentation. You and I may disagree on that definition of human life but that’s our call. Their call is that it’s human life and they don’t want to experiment on it.
The return argument is that these embryos are headed to an incinerator anyway and rather than simply destroy them, allow them to be a part of a greater contribution. This assertion relies on the notion that the embryos were not specifically created for the purposes of experimentation. The counter back to this is a question of how you’ll guarantee that into the future? How will we keep people from doing exactly that?
These are excellent questions and they need real debate. Some of that actually happened during the legislation sessions in the House and Senate, but by and large no one was really convinced by all the bluster. People walked in there with their positions already taken and very little movement occurred. For the record, I am a proponent of funding stem cell research. I believe the potential for finding and perfecting real cures for some of our most deadly and debilitating diseases is very real and very large. I think appropriate safeguards can be put in place to handle the issue of unethical research practices. Finally, I believe this is one of the only ways to make sure the benefits accrue to us all as opposed to just those on some specific insurance plan.
I can’t let it pass, however, that other proponents of this funding are clouding the issue and, frankly, making us all look bad. The knee-jerk reaction among the more liberal side of these proponents to blame President Bush for everything is to make dire accusations that “BushCo” is enacting a ban on stem cell research. This is simply not so. For many of these folks, it’s a flat-out lie. For the rest, it’s just them being lemmings or refusing to see the reality. The fact is that President Bush opposes federal funding for stem cell research. A private organization (meaning a non-public agency) is perfectly free to pursue this research and fund it to their heart’s content. They are under no prohibition whatsoever. If the President vetoes this bill tomorrow, any company engaged in this avenue of research would be affected not 1 iota.
So, if the veto does come down let us continue to work on getting the federal funding into the future. But, also, let those in a position to fund such research feel free to do so. Wouldn’t be the first time the public’s gotten out in front of our leaders.
By the way: John Hinderaker over at Power Line has some very good points on this matter. He reitterates some of what I’ve said and also beings up a point I did not: there are other kinds of stem cells than embryonic stem cells. The adult stem cells have shown promise as well. Not being an expert on the matter, either, I can’t say whether his assertion that the promise of embryonic stem cells has been oversold is true or not. John says (and I agree) that this issue is far more political than anything else and he closes with an excellent point:
As I’ve said before, one of President Bush’s most striking attributes is his determination to do what he thinks is right, regardless of political consequences. When dealing with issues of great moment, that is a noble quality. But when dealing with issues that are almost purely symbolic, like this one, it may be merely foolish. Expanding federal funding to include research on “leftover” embryos is not an issue of great import; it is a political trap laid by the President’s enemies. I don’t think it makes any sense to fall into it. And for this minor issue to be the occasion for the President’s first veto strikes me as worse than odd.
Same here, John.
Well, this morning’s tally shows that Georgia Rep Cynthia McKinney with the most votes among the 3 candidates in the Democratic primary. The percentage figures, however, didn’t change at all and the close vote means she heads into a runnoff with second-place winner Hank Johnson. Johnson scored 45% of the vote.
The 3rd place runner got almost 9% of the vote which could easily mean Johnson might take it. Here’s hoping.