- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

MORAL VALUES

“We all knew [President] Obama was going to reverse [former President George W.] Bush’s policy on federal embryonic stem-cell research, and now he’s done so,” Rod Dreher writes in a blog at beliefnet.com.

“In his remarks, he indicated that he was turning back what he characterized as the Bush administration’s attempts to let politics interfere with science. The reporting I’ve seen or heard (on NPR) [Monday] morning runs along the lines of this subhed in the Washington Post’s online version of the story: ‘Memo to Keep Politics Out of Government Science Accompanies Stem Cell Action.’

“What rot. Look, I strongly disagree with what Obama did [Monday], because I find it to be gravely immoral (and unnecessary - look at all the scientific advances on stem-cell research that does not require taxpayer-funded extermination of human life). Others believe he did the right thing, and Bush’s action was immoral. Fine,” Mr. Dreher said.

“What chaps my bottom is the pretense that Obama and the [pro-embryonic stem-cell research] folks have the morally neutral position. They don’t. They are not keeping politics (or morality) out of science; they are only applying their own political and moral values to the practice of science. It’s called applied bioethics,” Mr. Dreher said.



“Beware people who try to claim that science is, and should be, morally neutral. Whenever policymakers, both in government and in the medical field, decide that this practice will be permitted, but that won’t be, they are engaged in imposing moral values on science. If you believe science should not be subject to the restraints of morality, but only to itself, you had better make your apologies to Dr. Mengele.”

IRON LOGIC

“The worse the omnibus spending bill now before Congress gets, the more likely that Congress will pass it - and that Barack Obama will sign it into law,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn writes.

“The reasons confuse most Americans. But the iron logic is well understood by every Beltway politician. We were given a glimpse of it Sunday on CNN, when Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s budget director, called the $410 billion omnibus ‘uglier than we would like’ - and in the next breath urged Congress to go ahead and pass it anyway.

“What explains this disconnect? The answer is that politicians and citizens understand earmarks in different ways. Politicians understand that not all earmarks are pork, and not all pork comes in the form of an earmark. They also appreciate the ease of inserting pet projects into large spending bills without any debate or scrutiny,” Mr. McGurn said.

“The public understands that this way of handling taxpayer dollars is corrupting even when it doesn’t lead to a federal indictment. In fact, since the Jack Abramoff scandals and the now-notorious ‘bridge to nowhere,’ earmark has become a dirty word. So when citizens see these earmarks exposed in the press and lampooned on late-night TV, they assume it makes it more difficult for our congresspersons to pass them.

“What the public does not understand is that the more earmarks there are in a bill, the harder it will be to vote against it. The reason is simple: With every earmark, a congressman or senator gains a personal stake in the passage of a bill he or she might otherwise oppose.

“Which brings us to the real scandal here - that 8,500-plus earmarks adding up to $8 billion will end up sticking the American taxpayer with a $410 billion spending bill that is filled with large and significant provisions that have gone largely undebated.”

OBAMA’S ‘EXPLOITS’

“Recall that not long ago, the first item on the bill of indictment against the Bush administration was that it was ‘exploiting’ 9/11 to enact its agenda,” Jonah Goldberg writes in the Los Angeles Times.

Al Gore shrieked that President Bush ‘played on our fears’ to get his way. In response to nearly every Bush policy proposal, from the Patriot Act to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, critics would caterwaul that Bush was taking advantage of the country’s fear of terrorism,” Mr. Goldberg said.

“The Bush administration always denied this, and rightly so. If the president admitted that he was using a national calamity for narrow partisan or ideological advantage, it would be outrageous. Indeed, every time Karl Rove or some other administration official said anything that could be even remotely interpreted as using the war or 9/11 for partisan or ideological gain, the editorial pages and Democratic news-release factories churned into overdrive with righteous indignation.

“Well, now we have the president, along with his chief aides, admitting - boasting! - that they want to exploit a national emergency for their pre-existing agenda, and there’s no scandal. No one even calls it a gaffe. No, they call it leadership.”

UNITED GOP

“By misinterpreting his mandate, [President] Obama has accomplished something John McCain could not - unite the Republican Party and instill in it a new esprit de corps. For the Obama budget is an insult to the core belief of the party - that free people, not coercive government, should shape the character of society,” Patrick Buchanan writes in his syndicated column.

“By daring Republicans to fight on the issue of a $1.75 trillion deficit, Obama has liberated the GOP from any obligation to him. He has come out of the closet as a radical liberal spoiling for a fight over an agenda of radical change,” Mr. Buchanan said.

“Sooner than any might have thought, we have clarity.”

CHILDISH THINGS

“The Democrats’ strategy of diverting attention from their failures with attacks on Rush Limbaugh continues,” John Hinderaker writes at www.powerlineblog.com.

“They have been holding a contest among the party faithful; the Democrats intend to erect an anti-Rush billboard ‘where Rush can’t miss it,’ which I assume means near his home or studio in Florida. [Tuesday] the Democratic Party sent out an e-mail saying that they have received ‘tens of thousands’ of submissions. These are the five finalists:

“Americans didn’t vote for a Rush to failure.

“Hope and change cannot be Rush’d.

“Failure is not an option for America’s future.

“We can fix America, just don’t Rush it.

“Rush: Say yes to America.

Mr. Hinderaker commented: “Wow. I’d hate to see the other entries.

“It’s quite remarkable that the Democratic Party, with guidance from the White House, is running this silly campaign against a private citizen. Can you imagine the Republican Party, on instructions from President Bush, erecting anti-Michael Moore billboards near his home? No, neither can I. Nor can I imagine the outcry from the Democrats had the Bush administration done such a thing.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail Greg Pierce.

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