October 30, 2006
Democrats Pitch on Stem Cell Research Stinks
[Reader note: see also additional discussion in the updates below on Rick Larsen flip-flopping on the stem cell issue.]
I say that as someone who actually supports expanding federal funding to include embryonic stem cell research using excess embryos that would otherwise be discarded. I'm not too far away from the policy position Democarts are supporting on the campaign trail, but that doesn't change the fact their tactics on this issue are deplorable.
Normally well behaved Congressman Rick Larsen has joined the shenanigans in his run for re-election in the 2nd Congressional District, utilizing the Democratic playbook that says if a Republican opposes expanding embryonic stem cell research beyond what President Bush has already authorized, then you should paint them against stem cell research, period.
Over the past two weeks, Larsen's campaign has sent out several glossy, multipage mailers -- depicting somber little girls, anguished white-haired women and dejected men in wheelchairs -- attacking Roulstone's stance on the issue and accusing him of putting "politics ahead of science."
"Doug Roulstone talks a lot about 'courage' in his advertising," one reads. "But what kind of courage is shown by blindly marching in lock step with George W. Bush and denying hope to those who are suffering?"
Never mind if the Republican might strongly support other promising research on adult stem cells and stem cells from umbilical chord blood. Never mind if potential cures from embryonic stem cells are as yet unproven, and at best years away from being turned into usable therapies. Just label them an insensitive jerk standing in the way of soon-to-be-found miracle cures! Michael J. Fox just couldn't be wrong, could he?
Of course, asking someone suffering from a disease without a cure what they think about expanding research is like asking the family of a murder victim what they think should be done with the accused perpetrator. The answer is entirely predictable, and not likely to be grounded in dispassionate analysis.
In the case of Fox, he's even admitted he hasn't read the Missouri ballot measure on stem cell research that is the topic of much debate in that state. This despite his ad for Claire McCaskill that uses language in a way, whether he meant to or not, that injectes him into not just that state's US Senate race, but into the debate about the stem cell-related ballot measure as well. It's but an example of the shallow foundation from which Democrats are launching such attacks.
In Larsen's case, the charges against Roulstone are smarmy, and totally unnecessary. Even Roulstone's internal polls as reported in the article linked above show the race in ugly shape, with Larsen cruising to re-election. Yet, somehow he feels compelled to send out campaign mail implying Roulstone is callous to people suffering in wheel chairs. A classy choice this is not.
I used to consider Rick Larsen a respectable, hard-working member of Congress, regardless of his party affiliation. I might not always agree with him, but he had previously conducted himself with dignity, seemingly a lost art at times in modern politics.
That assessment may need some serious reconsideration.
UPDATE I: The Missouri ballot initiative is not in great shape. It's ahead only 45% - 36%, after leading 57% - 27% just a couple weeks ago. As we well know in this state, if a ballot measure isn't well above 50% headed into Election Day it's usually in trouble.
UPDATE II: I'm kicking myself for momentarily forgetting Larsen has flip-flopped on this issue. In 2001 he voted for a Republican bill more in line with current objections to embryonic stem cell research. Larsen called me the day of the House vote when I was working as Director of Government Affairs for the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. He called to express he knew the association's opposition to the bill (and support of an alternative measure not so restrictive), wanted to be helpful, but needed to vote the needs of his district. Now apparently he's more comfortable just playing the game of the partisan hack. [Correction: in my original haste I incorrectly described which bill WBBA supported, it's now correct.]
UPDATE III: Commenter theseven rightly points out Larsen's demagoging on Social Security at assorted town hall events since President Bush broached Social Security reform last year. Excellent point, which Tim Goddard reported on at the time, and another knock against Larsen's character.
Posted by Eric Earling at October 30, 2006
10:52 PM | Email This
I think you just don't get this. At least you obviously haven't read Anne Coulter's very well researched book, "The Church of Liberalism - Godless," specifically, pages 192-198. Embryonic stem cell research has produced nothing. And, it's on the verge of producing....nothing. That is why it so desperately needs government funding. It can't get anything from the private sector.
On top of this, can you not see that liberals are trying to give "noble" status to the act of aborting children? It will be for the good of science. Never mind that the mother's chance of getting breast cancer will be most likely be enhanced as well.
I'd encourage you take a look here:
Oh...and that Larsen fellow - do you mean the same gentleman who held his social security reform forums at nursing homes and engaged in fearmongering among those whose benefits would not have been impacted? I'd say your reconsideration is long overdue.
Well at least we know you are not a cheap date Republican and we don't need you patronizing us by pretending to help us out. What you going to use the little babies for, Eric? ... remove wrinkles, give that skin a nice firm tone, or use them as a hair tonic? Deal with it Eric, you aren't going to live forever. Once you reconcile yourself to that only then can you live.
3. The adult stem cells show all the promise. I heard that confirmed by a scientist yesterday. The embryonic ones offer very limited usefulness, but still nothing producing actual cures, etc. It is a complete and total lie to tell people that embryonic cloning shows more promise. In fact, I'll use a democrat term: it's "anti-science" to hold it above adult stem cell or chord blood sources, which have no ethical baggage, as well. the facts bear this out.
Eric, if you believe so firmly in embryonic stem cell research, may I ask how much you have invested in biotech firms that specialize in it? $5,000? $10,000? $20,000? I'm not trying to be nosy about your personal finances, but wow (!), what a fortune there is to be made in embryonics if they could actually tame the growth rate, keep them from developing into tumors, etc., etc., etc.! Especially with all other private investors pulling their money out after having thrown countless millions into it, these stocks must be at garage-sale prices! What a deal! Last I checked, the Somatics were whupping the Embryonics by about 70-0, but hey, what a payout if you bet on them and they actually win! Me, I'm sticking with moderately aggressive, diversified stock funds, but I think you should dump it all into embryonics biotech.
Or, if you aren't heavily invested in them, may I ask why you advocate that we pro-life taxpayers should be compelled by force to fund this morally repugnant boondoggle?
And may I inquire about your theory of federalism? I don't see the phrase "stem cells" in the Constitution. The closest I could find was "general welfare," but that's really a stretch, don't you think? And if it's "general welfare," then I'm guessing you support universal, socialized health care, because I'm quite certain the Constitution gives no guidance on which maladies are considered worthy of federal funding and which are not. (The word "leprosy" would have stuck in my mind more than anything about assumption of debt, ratification, inferior tribunals, and all that). Or, if you're not a fan of HillaryCare, how do you justify that? Just spend money on the popular diseases? Or the controversial ones, maybe? Or the ones that the latest polling indicates will get your candidates elected? How does that work, Eric?
TB - if you want to shut down the National Institutes of Health, one of the largest health research organizations in the world then go ahead and state your position clearly. The federal government already invests billions in worthwhile medical research on diseases such as cancer (perhaps you've heard of it?). Disagree with embryonic stem cell research, that's perfectly fine. But have some intellectual seriousness to your position if you're going to try and take me to the woodshed, please.
Also, I don't have a dime invested in a biotech company working on such research. Even if I wanted to, there aren't many out there doing such work, even non-embryonic stem cell research is at a pretty basic stage now. That's part of my disgust with Democrats who imply cures are just around the corner if only the bad, mean Republicans weren’t standing in the way.
"I say that as someone who actually supports expanding federal funding to include embryonic stem cell research using excess embryos that would otherwise be discarded"
OK, so they find a cure for something using "discarded" embryos. What happens next? Do discarded embryos become a commodity in order to produce the cure? What if "discarded" embryos become short in supply?
What's this "we" crap, liberal~john? You've freely acknowledged that you've abandoned the Republican party, and it is exceedingly obvious that you are not, nor ever been a conservative!
IT's one thing to be preached to by someone with muddled principles; it's entirely something else to be preached to by someone who has NONE! Go crawl back under your rock!
8. "It's important to remember that this debate is, first and foremost, political, and I know of no disease that was cured by a politician."
"Embryonic stem cell research, as it's performed today, involves one ingredient to get started: a dead human being, which has been either aborted or created to serve as a stem cell farm"
"What if one of these destroyed "embryos" was destined to be the very person to find a cure for Parkinson's disease? Talk about a "one wheel in the sand" approach to disease eradication."
"In other words, the odds are ever increasing that God will send us the future scientist who will find a cure for these horrible diseases, but he or she will be killed. Why? So we can find a cure for these horrible diseases. It makes you dizzier than Paris Hilton trying to figure out a Rubik's Cube, doesn't it? "
"Supporting the killing of human beings in order to find a cure for your disease is like a wealthy hemorrhoid sufferer bulldozing a Preparation H factory in order to build "The Institute for the Research of Rectal Itch."
"Political affiliations are meaningless in this argument, and, yes, there are many other very important issues - with one caveat: I'll never vote for the Donner Party candidate, be they Republican or Democrat.
9. Some of the anti-embryonic stem cell research commenters need to take a chill pill. I totally agree non-embryonic stem cell research is just as promising, if not more so, than embryonic. And I'm also somewhere in between the "hell no" position some here are taking and the "faster at all costs, regardless of the ethics" approach taken by many Democrats and stem-cell advocates outside the biotech industry. I'm simply saying I'm not opposed to the idea of very modest expansion of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research beyond which President Bush has already authorized. And that doesn't detract from my main point that the ploys used by Democrats on this issue are despicable.
Oh, and John, for someone who talks tough a lot, you sure do have thin skin. I didn't agree with Matt R's cheap date analogy either, but I'm not pouting about it.
Also, what on God's green earth are you talking about "little babies" for? Most stem cell advocates, which I don't necessarily agree with, are talking about embryos created with an egg and a skin cell, not an egg and sperm that could ever be implanted in a mother's womb...or they're talking about embryos that are otherwise going to be discarded. Your loose use of terminology is exactly why your over-the-top arguments don't seem to get much credence.
Lastly, I don't have any vision that I'll personally benefit from stem cell research, embryonic or otherwise. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but that's my expectation.
Every tax dollar spent on embryonic stem cell research is a tax dollar that cannot be used for any other purpose (including much more promising adult stem cell research). Embryonic cells would have many disadvantages even if there were no moral objection to their use. Any tissues produced by embryonic cells will contain DNA that is foreign to any transplant recipient. By contrast, tissues produced by adult stem cells may be an exact genetic match for the intended recipient (since they can be derived from the recipient's own body).
The only motivations I can see for pushing ESCR are (1) it'll be a way for people to get free grant money without having to produce any results for awhile, and (2) some people want to make abortion more acceptable. Can anyone suggest any other realistic motivations?
Excellent point supercat and others.
Eric, the reason I keep bringing up Matt Rosenburg's, Sound Politics Editor, comment about pro-lifers being "Cheap dates" is because it perfectly illustrates why the Republicans are going to lose big as Republicans are not going to get the lift from the Christian Conservatives like they did in 2004.
I'm pretty thankful he made the comment. As now it is harder for a pro-lifer to critize my position when the editor of this Republican web site is calling them a "cheap date".
As far as your stem cell comment goes, the debate is over a true sperm and an egg, not a skin cell and an egg.
This isn't necessarily a Republican site, and Matt is certainly no typical Republican. It's totally unhealthy for your argument to use him as a stereotype.
As to the stem cell debate, the debate over embryonic stem cells (aside from what Bush has already approved) from embryos to be discarded is about sperm and egg. The debate about other forms on embryonic stem cells are about a skin cell and an egg. That's a signficant portion of what advocates would like to see supported through federal research, thus it is germane.
Sorry for the late post, but this is first time I could post. Hopefully, you can move this topic up.
Back to Rick Larsen, the pasteup doll.
Besides the three hit pieces on stem cell research that never became an issue till Fox did the ad, Larsen trumpeted his two everyday successes as reasons to vote for him.
One, he did minor work on meth labs (really soemthing everyone could have done in his position). What I found hilarious was the picture of a taped up meth house- DO NOT CROSS yellow tape that shows a crime scene. The funny part is he had a police office with back to the door in a pose like he was about to break in and arrest the criminal. It was a Michael Dukakis moment.
Second, there is a picture of a garbage dump next to a river. Rick says he called EPA and they got a little bit of funding to clean it up. Again, day-to-day stuff. This cleanup had to be less than 100k it was so small.
I mean, this is all good stuff and stuff I expect my elected rep to do and he does it, but, stuff to put on campaign literature? Seems lightweight if you ask me. Six years in office and this is all we get? Koster has done more on the County Council than Larsen has done in DC.
My opinion on Larsen has gone down, downhill.
csMy URLs is remove wrinkles, give that skin a nice firm tone, or use them as a hair tonic? Deal with it Eric, you aren't going to live forever. http://birthstone.thesynn.net