From last night’s All Stars.
On Obama’s executive order on stem cell research:
What Obama is doing is he’s expanding the range of the federal funding of research involving embryonic stem cells. He is allowing the use of embryos that were created in fertility clinics and are not going to be used anymore.
Now, I supported that when I was on the president’s council of bioethics and in my writing, which I suppose is why the White House invited me to the signing ceremony.
But I declined for three reasons. One is the president has left open the cloning of human embryos in order to destroy them in experiments. Secondly, he leaves open the creation of human embryos entirely for the purpose of research and experimentation.
And thirdly, he had a memorandum which he signed in which he talks about restoring the scientific integrity in government decisions, which is an outrageous attack on Bush.
I disagreed with where Bush ended up drawing the line on permissible research, but he gave in August of 2001 the single most morally serious presidential speech on medical ethics ever given, and Obama did not, even though I agree on where — I agree more on where he ended up.
So I think it was disrespectful. And in pretending, as Obama did, that there’s never a conflict between ethics and science, he was wrong.
I suspect that they’re not going to be asking me to any more signing ceremonies in the future.
On whether Obama is using the economic crisis to push through his agenda:
I think, in fact, he is consciously exploiting the crisis by pretending that, as he did in his speech to Congress, that the cause of our difficulties is mismanagement in education, health, and energy. It’s not. The cause of our difficulties is a crisis in banking and credit, and that’s the issue of our time.
His agenda is health, energy, and education, and it’s an opportunity for him.
But unlike Bush — I mean, Bush never had an original agenda of wiretapping Americans, of detention without trial, or preemptive war. Those are the policies which occurred after 9/11 in a sincere and critically important examination of what would keep us safe.
That’s why he instituted those policies, and, in fact, they kept us safe. But it was not an agenda that he was waiting for an excuse to enact.
Obama, on the other hand, will tell you that he campaigned on healthcare reform, energy, and education, and he is actually understanding that because we are at a crisis, it allows him to experiment and to push legislation in a way that would not have occurred in quieter times.