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Silver Linings

Oct
24
2005

I come to praise the Bush Administration, and I begin by noting one of its cardinal failures.

So long as we’re on the subject of Arlen Specter, it’s worth noting that his loyalty, bought so dearly by a White House, is erratic – and hence worthless. News comes today that he is pushing his bid to overturn the Administration’s ban on Federal funding of stem cell research into 2006. The President’s original stem cell decision in August 2001 was, for all its flaws, a political masterpiece of needle-threading. (We’ll leave its moral consistency to the side for a moment.) It was also, in retrospect, the beginning of a hopeful period in which it seemed that the Administration might actually promote human life issues in a meaningful way. Four years later, that hope is cruelly dashed, but the stem cell decision stands.

Let us not imagine that it stands due to any rock-solid resolution on the Administration’s part. It stands because there is no political capital left for further fighting on the matter; but one can only assume that if there was a stern insistence on its maintenance, the hapless Senator Frist would be under White House pressure to not even allow it to come up for debate. Not in an election year. The question therefore asks itself: Is Specter being allowed to bring this to the fore as a quid pro quo for his support of Harriet Miers? If so, this further invalidates the rationale for Administration support for him in 2004, as the support for Miers should be the quid pro quo.

We are reminded by this of one thing beyond the obvious lesson that Arlen Specter is a turncoat. We are reminded that for all the anguish brought forth by the Miers betrayal, this Administration has done good things for pro-lifers. The stem cell decision was deeply flawed, but it was a step forward. The Administration’s opposition to human cloning has been laudable and consistent. The Administration’s promotion, however inept, of pro-marriage policies has been much-needed. And in recent weeks, the Administration’s staunch opposition to the horrors of legalized killing of the old and sick has been too-often ignored by the social right.

These things are a silver lining set against the composition of a Court that could sweep them all away in a moment of caprice. But we should acknowledge them nonetheless: in the absence of enduring achievement, they are all we have.

Share  Posted by Josh Trevino at 4:20 PM | Permalink

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