I may the only person in the country who was reminded by President Obama’s speech last night of President Bush’s announcement of his stem cell policy in August 2001. In both cases, the President was announcing his policy on a controversial issue during the first year of his presidency. And in both cases, the President adopted a policy that seemed to reflect his own preferred position, but also concede a small amount of ground to critics. In Bush’s case, the prohibition on research with new stem cells reflected his opposition to stem cell research, but the policy allowed scientists to continue working with existing lines of stem cells. In Obama’s case, the troop escalation reflects his repeated emphasis on the importance of the war in Afghanistan (as contrasted with Iraq), while his proposal to begin scaling back in 2011 seems a concession to the war’s critics.
Afghanistan and Stem Cells--Skeel
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Skeel on Afghanistan
My friend David Skeel draws an interesting parallel between Bush's speech on stem cells and Obama's speech yesterday on Afghanistan, concluding: There are at least two major differences between Bush’s compromises and Obama’s, however, and neither bodes... [Read More]