Unpopular and Unnecessary

This USA Today/Galllup poll says that 66% of respondents disapproved of President Bush’s veto of the bill that expands federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. No surprise there–this bill was a political trap. As a substantive matter, it has virtually zero significance. For President Bush to use the first veto of his administration on a measure that had symbolic importance only was, in my view, a big mistake. It adds another problem for Republicans in November, and for what? The President thinks it is a matter of principle, but if that’s true, then why isn’t he pushing for a ban on embryonic research?

Republican opponents of the embryonic research bill should be talking about the scientific issues and about the broader public policy issue of using government money to fund research that, unlike adult stem cell research, isn’t promising enough to attract private investment. For a great deal more on the science, policy and politics of the President’s veto, listen to the Northern Alliance podcast that I posted last night.

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