The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Rundown

Partisan Fights Ahead on Stem Cells, Omnibus

By Ben Pershing
President Obama will please his party and anger much of the opposition today when he lifts constraints on funding for human embryonic stem cell research, kicking off a week that will also feature ongoing partisan debates over the massive omnibus spending bill and the administration's financial rescue plans.

Even as Republicans castigate Obama for his decision on stem cells, the president can take heart that so far, voters don't seem to be blaming Democrats for the perceived lack of bipartisanship in Washington during his administration. Or at least, not as much as they blame Republicans. The latest Newsweek poll finds that voters are tied on the question of whether congressional Democrats have done enough to "listen" to Republicans, but a clear majority believes Republicans have not done enough to listen to Democrats. A large majority also said that Obama has made "a reasonable effort" to work with and listen to Republicans, while the GOP has not returned the favor.

Some "leftover business" from last year -- the $410 billion omnibus package -- was left over just a little longer over the weekend, as Harry Reid couldn't quite get the 60 votes in the Senate necessary to move the package along last week. Reid will try again Tuesday, this time allowing 12 more Republican amendments than had been allowed before. Edward Kennedy, the subject of a star-studded Kennedy Center tribute Sunday night, is expected to be on hand in the Senate for the debate this time around.

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Posted at 8:10 AM ET on Mar 9, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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I wonder why Obama is against cloning for human reproduction -- it would use the exact same technology as embryonic stem cell research -- isn't it also "science that could some day saves those like Christopher Reeve"?

Posted by: JakeD | March 9, 2009 3:58 PM

Another aspect of legalizing stem cell research is that some enterpreneurial young women will surely, offer their wombs to research, to allow the inducement of multiple embryos, then selling them. Kind of chilling! There will always be a conflict within many of us, as to whether the harvesting of embryos, either created by accident, or on purpose, is ethical. It can be rationalized medically, but, the complexity of our understanding of what constitutes life, will forever, be the thorn.

Posted by: roanns | March 9, 2009 2:56 PM

The burden of bipartisanship is on the majority. The Dems are not including the Rebublicans in meetings to craft legislation and not allowing Republican amendments unless they absolutely must. The Republicans are being true to their principles, finally. This is a virtue the voters should respect even if they don't agree.

Pure science without ethical standards has resulted in atrocities throughout history. Our news media should be reporting these facts so history will remain a lesson learned and not an ignorant mistake...again.

Posted by: TimArnold | March 9, 2009 12:45 PM

Stem cells are NOT a about religious issues as the wingnus would like to make it.
This is about research and medical cures and should have some perimeters unlike private firms with NO oversight! A fertilized cell is called a zygcote not a fetus.

The Onimbus was written by the Congress for fiscal year 2009 in 2008 and would have been passed had Congress not dithered!---not by the Obama administration! Put it on the backs of the people that authored it and porked it...CONGRESS!

The repubs have lots of scattered critism BUT NO SOLUTIONS AND NO CONSISTENT MESSAGE!

Posted by: jetlone | March 9, 2009 12:15 PM

The GOP needs to make their points on principle (and filibuster) where possible but point out that the Dems have enough votes to do whatever they want. That's what a loyal opposition does.

Posted by: JakeD | March 9, 2009 11:35 AM


Britain and Canada announced last week that they have discovered a way to work with adult stem cells instead of embryos. Does that change the picture for you?

It does for me.

BTW, that research was accomplished by scientists in two countries that didn't ban stem cell research. They use public funds for national health care and to develop research. We lost the race to a major breakthrough and continue to be far behind in this area because we didn't explore the alternatives.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | March 9, 2009 11:34 AM

The decision to overturn Bush's stem cell ban is controversial only to the far right and evangelicals.

With the majority of Americans supporting Obama here, the GOP needs to leave it alone.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 9, 2009 10:15 AM




President Obama does not yet seem to be cognizant of a frightening reality -- that the Bush "torture memos" were used to justify "programs of personal destruction" that REMAIN IN PLACE ON HIS WATCH.

Obama must come to realize that federal agencies and commands have enabled the ONGOING covert microwave radiation weapons torture and physical degradation of U.S. citizens deemed "undesirables," "mental defectives" and "dissents"... well as the nationwide GPS-enabled "community gang stalking" of U.S. citizens, who are hunted down like prey by citizen vigilante goons as "target" vehicles and implanted GPS devices enter the "crown of evil" GPS screen grid of the gang-stalkers.

It appears that Obama and most liberal/progressives have yet to realize that the "war on terror" appears to have been a premeditated pretext for an American genocide/politicide -- a horrific silent holocaust that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, untold thousands, if not millions, of American families and no doubt has contributed to economic tumult.

One person who WAS aware, and deserves vindication, is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

What has been happened since the dawning of the Bush administration has turned a just society into the "US of KKK-A," as harsh and impolitic as that sounds.

And the 21st century version of the Klan -- an American Gestapo -- remains on the march -- hiding behind covert federal "programs of personal financial destruction" and federally-funded community policing and town watch programs co-sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide.

President Obama must act immediately to restore American civil and human rights -- because each day he delays, the forces running these programs, the forces who will resist whatever "change" his presidency offers, are one day closer to making it impossible him to fulfill the "hope" he still embodies.

For more on "Gestapo USA" and why team Obama must move immediately to dismantle the Bush-Cheney "extrajudicial punishment network"...

PS. -- Anyone reading this with access to decision-makers on Team Obama (notably, David Axelrod) and in Congress: Please send them this missive.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 8:59 AM

The president says the stem cell research decision will take this issue out of the realm of ideology and will return to having "pure science" driving research funding.

It is certainly not the case that this move takes stem cell research (and other decisions) out of the ideology category.

This move only substitutes one form of ideology for another.

Think about it. It is a fundamental assertion to say "human embryos are not part of the human race" - this is an ideological statement. This is as ideological as saying "human embryos are human beings." Let's get real.

Posted by: dennisinkiev | March 9, 2009 8:29 AM

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