Saturday, October 16, 2004

Kerry/Edwards "Anything for a vote" Policy

As an update to an earlier post discussing Charles Krauthammer's reaction John Edwards' Christopher Reeve Stem Cell comments, I point out Friday's Krauthammer Column: "An Edwards Outrage":
After the second presidential debate, in which John Kerry used the word "plan" 24 times, I said on television that Kerry has a plan for everything except curing psoriasis. I should have known there is no parodying Kerry's pandering. It turned out days later that the Kerry campaign has a plan -- nay, a promise -- to cure paralysis. What is the plan? Vote for Kerry.

This is John Edwards on Monday at a rally in Newton, Iowa: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Hope is good. False hope is bad. Deliberately, for personal gain, raising false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable.

Where does one begin to deconstruct this outrage?

Speaking as a doctor, Krauthammer goes on to discuss the biology of stem cell research and reiterates that President Bush was the first to approve federal funding for stem cell research.
Edwards and Kerry constantly talk of a Bush "ban" on stem cell research. This is false. There is no ban. You want to study stem cells? You get them from the companies that have the cells and apply to the National Institutes of Health for the federal funding.

In his Aug. 7 radio address to the nation, Kerry referred not once but four times to the "ban" on stem cell research instituted by Bush.

After watching the recent debates, I thought that Kerry had finally giving up calling it a ban, choosing instead to call it a "restriction," which is a lot closer to what it is. But then just today Kerry went back to the "ban" talk in the Democratic Radio Address. He doesn't waste any time and invokes Christopher Reeve in the first sentence:
This past week, America lost one of its heroes and my friend, Christopher Reeve.

That at least, is a presumably true sentence, as opposed to this one a few lines later:
Three years ago, George W. Bush put in place a ban on federal funding for stem cell research - a ban that's tied the hands of our scientists and shut down some of our most promising work on spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Parkinson's and other life-threatening diseases.

He tries to back track into "restriction" talk:
By restricting stem cell research, President Bush has turned his back on this hope. He's made the wrong choice to sacrifice science for extreme right-wing ideology.

...but I don't think it works because he also delivers a blow to those who believe embyonic stem cell research destroys life by essentially calling them "right-wing ideologues" along with President Bush. All along, Kerry seems to be ignoring the amount of private research that is going on in private medical institutes and universities. Until this point anyway:
When I'm President, we're going to stop saying no. We're going to say yes. We're going to lift the ban on federal funding for stem cell research once and for all. We're going to make funding for this research a top priority in our government agencies, our universities, and our medical community. And we'll continue to lead the world in great discoveries - all while upholding the highest ethical standards. That's the right choice for America.

Except that here he goes back to talking about bans and seems to imply that the President is restricting universities and the medical community, which he isn't.

The sad part about this is that it is possible for Kerry to have a consistent position on this. He could just stand up and say that he disagrees with the President's restriction and he doesn't want to leave the research in the hands of private scientists because he wants the government to both fund and control it. But that doesn't sound good. So he doesn't say it. He also doesn't want to make a clear distinction between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells because he knows that would put him in a tricky position with the Catholic Community. There is no way Kerry can claim to be honest and truthful and then makes statements like this on behalf of the entire Democratic Party.

As for Edwards, Krauthammer said this:
There is no apologizing for Edwards's remark. It is too revealing. There is absolutely nothing the man will not say to get elected.