Thoughts on the First Veto

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 19, 2006 2:31 PM

So, Bush vetoed the stem-cell bill just now.

I'm sure Expose the Left will soon have the video up.

Here's the Washington Post story on the veto:

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush, speaking at the White House, said after he followed through on his promise to veto the bill. "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect. So I vetoed it."

The House and Senate do not appear to have the votes needed to override the veto, meaning it is unlikely the measure will become law this year...Bush rebuffed emotional calls from prominent Republicans, including Nancy Reagan and conservative Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), to support the measure.
Here is Nancy Reagan's statement on the vote, via Frist's new medical blog, Medical Matters.

On that same blog,  the debate is indelicately called "stemapalooza." It seems that, since some of the conservative base will be incensed by this vote and Frist allegedly still wants to run for President, he would do well to treat their concerns with a little more respect than this blog post shows. Tacky.

Charmaine Yoest at FRC was live-blogging the veto ceremony today. Another FRC blogger bemoaned the defeat of the alternative stem-cell research bill, which would avoid the destruction of embryos.Here's the basic info on the bill itself. According to the Spokesblogger, debate in the House should start soon.Stones Cry Out appreciates the President's call on this:
It's sad that it took Bush this long to veto anything, but it's a fine one to start on. Morally and financially, this was the right call.
RedState thanks the President and bashes Frist:
It is fitting that the President's first veto would erase a bill to increase spending. Somehow, many in the Republican Party who are opposed to increased spending have a blind spot on this morally divisive issue - perhaps some are merely opposed to increased spending on programs they dislike, and change their minds when it's something that social conservatives care about. We wish the President would veto more increased spending as a rule, especially in areas where the free market should determine investment - as in this controversial circumstance - but it is a good start.
I have to say that I agree with the President on this. I think it's really easy for folks to say, "look at all that embryonic stem cells could do if only the evil Mr. Bush would give us money to do it!" Well, if the private sector hasn't deemed ESC research valuable enough to support without government funding, isn't that a sign that maybe it's not worth funding? Why subsidize something that the free market isn't supporting, especially when it's such an ethical controversy? ESC research isn't illegal, as many on the pro side like to imply. It seems not at all unreasonable to me to say that American citizens, many of whom have serious reservations about this kind of research, shouldn't have to pay for it with their tax dollars. I disagree, however, with Stones Cry Out and RedState that the timing of this veto is somehow fitting or good. Instead, I think it sheds an unfortunate light on Bush's principled stand that this is the FIRST spending he has vetoed. President Bush cares about the culture of life, which is why he is vetoing this bill.  That is a great reason. He also, ostensibly, cares about limiting the growth of government. Both are principled stands and worthy causes. But he has never, ever vetoed a spending bill until now. Wouldn't it make it a lot harder for the Dems to bring out the afflicted-with-various-diseases (who carry a whole bunch of moral authority with the public whether we think they necessarily should or not) and to accuse Bush of heartlessness and playing to the base if he had simply shown the same determination to veto other kinds of spending before now? I think it's unfortunate, both for his stand on stem-cell research, and for the federal budget that he didn't. Maybe he will start now. After all, that wasn't so hard, and it seems it will work.