What I like about President George W. Bush’s veto of Congress’s recent embryonic stem cell legislation is that it is clearly based upon principle, not politics. Bush could have changed his long-standing belief that the destruction of embryos is murder and simply “gone along to get along.” But he didn’t. Even his own party largely deserted him as more Republicans are sounding like Democrats, at least on this issue.
Bush deserves credit for standing up for the sanctity of life. Media reports de-emphasize Bush’s principled perspective, making his veto sound like a political bone he’s tossing to “social conservatives, the heart of Bush’s base.” That base may exist and it may be happy with this decision, but if Bush really wanted to make just a politically motivated decision or if he wanted to shore up is waning popularity, he would not have vetoed this bill.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, called Bush’s veto a “colossal mistake.” I don’t think so. No matter what else happens in Bush’s presidency and no matter where the future stem cell debate may lead, this example of “acting presidential” will be remembered. I salute him.
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