The Substance in the Style on Stem Cells
I remember when President Bush made his announcement about the ban on federal financing of embryonic stem-cell research. He held an evening address, at his desk, and took the time to explain some of the science, present the opposing arguments as he saw them, and explain his decision. You can think what you like about the man or his decision, but that’s a stark contrast from President Obama’s cheering-crowd press conference, yielding photographs of him leaning off the stage to lay hands on the paralyzed Representative Jim Langevin.
The difference extends to substance. Bush offered an actual compromise position (as much as those who opposed him might have disliked it): He increased (I believe) funding of adult-stem-cell research and permitted funding of research on stem cells that had already been removed from embryos. From Obama, we get promises:
Mr. Obama pledged that his administration will write strict guidelines for research on stem cells taken from embryos. “And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction,'” calling the practice “dangerous and profoundly wrong.”
Why not have those guidelines ready for presentation at Monday’s announcement? Why not actually put into place anti-cloning policy at the same time that he opened the door for federal funds for the destruction of embryos?
The answer, I suppose, depends on how cynical one is.