Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome to the White House, Tony

Tony Snow, the White Palace Press Secretary, has just learned a valuable lesson: how to fall on one's sword for the Leader. As we draw nearer to the November elections, I suspect he will become quite adroit at this maneuver because he will have plenty of chances to perfect the technique. This time it was over the Emperor's veto of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill. From the Washington Post:

President Bush does not consider stem cell research using human embryos to be murder, the White House said yesterday, reversing its description of his position just days after he vetoed legislation to lift federal funding restrictions on the hotly disputed area of study.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said yesterday that he "overstated the president's position" during a briefing last week but said Bush rejected the bill because "he does have objections with spending federal money on something that is morally objectionable to many Americans."

The shifting terminology underscored the sensitivity of the issue, especially heading into midterm elections. Many antiabortion conservatives strongly oppose stem cell research involving the destruction of embryos, viewing it as killing human beings. But polls show that most Americans see such research as a potential key to treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and other afflictions.

Apparently the roughing up Josh Bolten got on Tim Russert's "Meet the Press" over the issue surprised and worried Karl Rove and his boss, which is understandable. Mr. Russert doesn't usually play hardball when the interviewee is a member of the current regime. The miscalculation resulted in Mr. Snow's back pedal yesterday. What is ironic is that Mr. Snow didn't get it all that wrong. The use of the word "murder" was pretty heavy-handed, but the Emperor implied that usage in his veto statement.

Snow described Bush's position last Tuesday, the day before the veto. "The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He's one of them," Snow said from the White House. "The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong."

The president did not use that term the next day at the veto ceremony, but he did say he objected to the legislation because it "would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others."
[Emphasis added]

A distinction without a difference.

This would be comical if the consequences weren't so tragic. Those of us who hope desparately for the medical advances possible under stem cell research will have to wait a year or longer.For many people, that extra year lost will result in the loss of innocent life.

But, hey! It's an election year. You've got to break a few eggs for that quiche, you know?

Yeah. Right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bolten made the statement too that the C-i-C had a duty to take 'moral and ethical' leadership and implied it was a legislated role. This group doesn't realize we're supposed to be operating under a constitution, and they think the public has forgotten it as well.

from Ruth

5:00 AM  

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