Wednesday, July 19, 2006


"I forbid!"

Related to the previous item is the Emperor's impending veto of the embryonic stem-cell research bill, which passed the Senate yesterday by a 63-to-37 vote. Not only will he veto it, but he'll veto it in a ceremony. A few comments...

First, we'll note that this will be the first veto that the Nutjob-in-Chief will have inked. The first. He has signed — happily and proudly — all manner of bad legislation and ruinous executive orders, and this, which got a significant (but not veto-proof) majority vote in Congress, which even a great many abortion opponents support, this is the first one he's going to veto.

And so, second, let's be clear about what he's vetoing. This is not a proposal to declare "open season" on embryos for stem-cell harvesting; this is not advocating embryo factories in some futuristic dystopia. The bill is considering frozen embryos that will be destroyed anyway, and saying that as long as we're going to destroy them we might as well give them a beneficial use to society. It's more like donating one's dying child's body to science than anything else. What could be a more noble fate for a destroyed embryo than to contribute to medical research that might some day cure people?

But that is what he will veto, because that is beyond the pale; that is unspeakably vile. Because, as Tony Snow tells us, he just thinks that murder is wrong.

It's interesting wording, that, which differs somewhat from the usual "every life is sacred" phrasing. On the one hand, it puts him squarely in the wingnut camp by equating this bill — which, I repeat, is supported by a significant majority of congress, by many abortion opponents, and by a great majority of Americans, according to polls — with murder. And on the other hand it means he can avoid comparisons with all the people he's caused the deaths of, by saying that they don't qualify as "murder":

  • 130+ executions in Texas while he was governor — more than the entire rest of the country combined over the previous 20 years.
  • 2500+ American soldiers killed needlessly in Iraq.
  • An unknown but much larger number of Iraqis killed, equally needlessly.

When Bush holds up his veto finger at Congress this afternoon, Congress should get angry. They should get angry because, of all the things he could have vetoed, that would have made sense to veto, he picked this one, which will put a good segment of his own party against him — and against those in the House and Senate who're willing to go along with it. They should get angry, and they should do something about it: they should vote to override his veto.

They should say, "No, Mr President: we forbid."

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