Human Exceptionalism

Shameless Specter Blames “GOP Health Policies” for Death of Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp died yesterday of cancer, with which he was only diagnosed in January. By the time it was caught, it had spread throughout his body. Those who knew him mourn, and those who didn’t, like me, give a tip of the hat in appreciation to the pubic service of a respectable politician.

But Arlen Specter–shamefully–used the occasion of Kemp’s death to justify his political switch to again becoming a Democrat. From the story:

“Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn’t want me as their candidate,” Mr. Specter said on “Face the Nation.” “But as a matter of principle, I’m becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats’ approach. And one of the items that I’m working on, Bob, is funding for medical research.”
Mr. Specter continued:”If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine.”

Who blocked cancer research? Nearly $5 billion a year has been spent by the National Cancer Institute in the last three years. Obama wants to raise that to $6 billion, about a 15% increase. But it isn’t as if cancer research was dying on the vine. Besides, the Democrats have been in control of Congress for the last two years and it wasn’t as if Bush was a big vetoer of spending bills.

One can certainly argue that the cancer research budget should be higher. One can also justify changing parties because one believes in increased spending. But to say that but for GOP policies Jack Kemp “would be alive today,” is shameful demagoguery of a self-obsessed politician willing to use the death of a former colleague to justify his own desperate political maneuvers.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The same kind of bovine manure was shoveled after Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer’s when some said that “but for Bush’s stem cell funding policies,” Reagan would have been cured. Some politicians just stink.

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