President Bush, in the words of FAUX News man Stephen Colbert, “lost his veto virginity” on July 19, five-and-a-half years into his administration. What issue was important enough for him to break his apparent vow of legislative chastity? A congressional appropriation, passed overwhelmingly by both the Senate and the House, that would have provided taxpayer funding for, in the words of Catholic World News, “stem-cell research using ‘leftover’ embryos from fertility clinics.”
As White House Press Secretary Tony Snow proclaimed, “The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research.” (The President apparently does reserve the right to take something living and make it dead for the purposes of exporting democracy to Iraq.)
The veto capped a frenzied week of congressional activity (part of which has been chronicled above by Bill Quirk) that had more to do with establishing legislative records for incumbents to run on in November than it did with any question of principle. And, while this veto was welcome, its role as part of the Republican Values Agenda does call into question President Bush’s true reason for acting as he did.
As my sister Monica, a research scientist in cell and molecular biology, and I pointed out in the June 2003 issue of Chronicles...