Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Gambling With Science

Now that President Bush has opted, after six long years, to exercise his first veto on stem cell research rather than on, say, some budget-busting piece of political pork, what fallout might he expect? There is an interesting analysis by George E. Condon Jr. here.

Frequent pollster to the IDeratti, John Zogby, has called the veto "a huge gamble by the president." because Bush already

. . . is viewed as anti-science whether it comes to creationism, stem cell research, the environment, global warming, a whole host of issues. Those could be aces in the hole for Democrats.

Stuart Rothenberg, an "independent analyst" sees the issue resonating with moderate Republicans and independent voters:

It adds to their sense of disappointment or frustration or anger," he said, calling the image of Bush as anti-science cumulative with the veto, coming on top of Bush’s interference in the Terry Schiavo case, skepticism about global warming, questioning of evolution and opposition to forms of contraception.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, for one, has tried to tap into this dissatisfaction and has been receiving somewhat surprising standing ovations when he promises "an administration that believes in science."
Still, Bush's stance on science is not likely to be a top issue in November's elections, where the War in Iraq may well drown just about everything else out. Perhaps the most that can be expected is that, as Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, of the University of Southern California, said:

It could make some moderate Republicans in less-than-comfortably safe districts a little nervous They’ve either got to go along with their president and be questioned, or oppose the president and anger the base.

That the state of American science is a sideshow in today's politics may say everything necessary to predict the future of the United States in the world.

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