Return of the Stem Cell debate
The most screwed up political issue of the Bush administration will be returning I imagine very shortly for the Obama administration. First, I want to make sure people understand where I’m coming from:
- The “Bush ban on stem cells” originally was passed in 1999. Bush wasn’t president, Bill Clinton was. This was a complete ban on all embryonic stem cell research. Nothing was allowed. Nada. This is the ban that people are so opposed to. However, they have pretty much successfully laid the blame squarely on George HW Bush’s head. In my opinion, it is this completley politically driven agenda that has hurt the issue more than anything else. Bush had no reason to deal with the issue outside of his moral concerns with human embryonic stem cell research. He was in a lose-lose situation. If he continued the ban, those that wanted the research would still blame him for something he did not initiate. If he lifted the ban, conservatives would have eaten him alive.
- On August 9, 2001, President Bush addressed the issue of the stem cell ban. He initiated the first federal funding into embryonic stem cell research. However, he left a large part of the Clinton ban intact. Because of this, opponents of the ban called it the “Bush ban on stem cell research”. He never got any credit for initiating the first ever funded research, he only got criticism for not opening the door wide open to any type of embryonic research. In my opinion, because of the continued misguided and purely politically driven politicization of the issue, Bush never addressed the issue again.
- In 2006, using stem cell research as a political issue, the Democrats regained control of the House and Senate. In a political gut check, the Republicans sponsored legislation in the Senate to expand stem cell research. It passed the Senate with primary opposition coming from the Democrats. The critics became quiet. The issue became moot. It never made it out of Nancy Pelosi’s Congress. One of the driving issues of the 2006 Democrat take-over of Congress was forgotten immediately after they took over, and none of the people who shouted the loudest about the issue for five years said a word once they realized they had been duped by the Democrats.
- In 2008, stem cell research again reared its head in the presidential general election. The Obama campaign ran ads stating McCain had interfered with stem cell research. Fact was that McCain had been a huge supporter of stem cell research since 2001. He in fact, was one of those critical of Bush’s limited policy in 2001. To the contrary, Obama had voted not to expand stem cell research in 2007. Oddly enough, media made no mention of this discrepency. Obama won the general election. Based on Obama winning the election, people are immediately assuming Obama will open the door wide open to human embryonic research.
This is where I am going with my opinions after seeing what has happened over the last nine years with this issue. Now, if you take into the fact that a Democrat, Bill Clinton, banned human embryonic research, no Democrat has ever passed legislation expanding funding for stem cell research, and given their opportunities, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama have all voted against expanding stem cell research, I find it very odd that people are assuming the door is wide open now that those people are in control. Sure, they’ve given a lot of lip service, but to this point, it’s all been lies.
Surely I’m missing something somewhere, so kindly fill me in if you wish.
Now, the past record of Livescience and the very vocal media is once the Democrats slam the door on stem cell research, the media immediately drops the entire issue like a hot potato. Michael J. Fox shuts up. Claire McCaskilll shuts up. Rosie O’Donnell blames it on Republicans and conservatives. The girls on The View talk about anything other than stem cell research. None of them can deal with the ugly fact that this issue has been a political toy for liberals for nine years and that is it. The same trick that worked in 2006 worked in 2008. Nothing has been accomplished in that time.
And the most pathetic thing about this entire issue, is most likely, human embryonic stem cells aren’t even needed. Now that blaming everything on Bush is no longer an issue, let’s see how this issue pans out. I’d love to see a major push into stem cell research, the ramifications are huge. However, I’d love even more to see this issue treated with professionalism and respect, something that has not happened to date. If we can’t treat this issue with the respect it demands, I’m not sure we need to be dicking around with human stem cells in the first place. Too many people are willing to use this for political gain. If they’re willing to do that, what would they do if something truly powerful came from this research?
Bottom line, stem cell research has continued unabated during the “ban” that doesn’t truly exist. It is being done in the private sector by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute among others. I trust people like HHMI a lot more than I do the political whims of any candidate for office. I’d prefer the issue be left alone so those people can do their job. The more people use this issue for stirring up emotions, either for political gain or selling advertisements, the more disservice is done to this issue.