Stem-Cell Showdown

The Senate will vote today on a stem-cell research bill, which Bush has vowed to veto. The White House is prepared to block this legislation, which opens the door to potentially life-saving research, despite...

...overwhelming public support; bi-partisan backing in both chambers of Congress; the demands of medical researchers who are tired of watching the United States fall further and further behind; intense pressure from Nancy Reagan; the fact that congressional Democrats are going to use this as a wedge issue throughout the campaign cycle, and the fact that Bush will use the first veto of his presidency to kill a popular bill on medical research.

The far-right is getting desperate -- Sam Brownback said yesterday that stem-cells "form tumors" -- and it's easy to see why. Everyone knows someone who has Parkinson's, or a spinal cord injury, or cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or Alzheimer's. And everyone wants a treatment that offers hope for millions. With this in mind, it's hard to tolerate Bush standing in the laboratories' doors asking scientists to do more with less.

A year ago, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, whose medical history makes the stem-cell debate a personal issue, said stem-cell research will probably "become one of the defining issues of the 2006 campaign." If Alter's right, that's not good news for Republicans.

A small portion of the far-right GOP base vs. the rest of the nation. "Pro-cure" vs "anti-cure." After today, the choice belongs to the president. There's still a chance Bush could change his mind, but given his record for "compassion," there's little reason for optimism.

-- Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report


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