Wait and See on Stem Cells
Yuval is right: It’s not a time for gloating. For one thing, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves in estimating the political impact of this breakthrough: We should wait at least a few days to see how the advocates of embryo-destructive stem-cell research react before concluding that the battle is over. (In the past, they have done what they could to minimize the potential of non-lethal methods of deriving pluripotent stem cells.) If the battle ends, then Jonah might be right that some liberals will subsequently move toward the view that embryos are more worth protecting than they had thought—but if so, it will probably be a marginal phenomenon.
At some point in the future, it may be possible for us to say that the president’s policies hastened some medical breakthroughs by a winding path. But if we reach that day there will be plenty of credit to go around.