May 07, 2007

Republican Hopefuls Demonstrate Doublespeak

What exactly, students sometimes ask me, is 'doublespeak'. Now I have a paradigmatic example to show them.

Herewith the wafflings, twistings, turnings and outright mumbo-jumboing of ten wannabe Presidents.The ten GOP presidential candidates held a debate on Thursday evening. Moderator Chris Matthews of MSNBC asked the candidates about stem cell research. Here is that section of the debate transcript.

Moderator: We have to go down the line again. It's always fun to ask these questions down the line. We have Mr. Reagan here. The camera will not focus on her, but I will tell you, it will now focus on you.

Mrs. Reagan wants to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Will that progress under your administration, Governor?

Romney: It certainly will. Altered nuclear transfer, I think, is perhaps the best source...

Moderator: Embryonic. Embryonic.

Romney: Altered nuclear transfer creates embryo-like cells that can be used for stem cell research. In my view, that's the most promising source. I have a deep concern about curing disease.

I have a wife that has a serious disease that could be affected by stem cell research and others. But I will not -- I will not create new embryos through cloning or through embryo farming, because that will be creating life for the purpose of destroying it.

Moderator: And you won't take any from these fertility clinics to use either?

Romney: I'm happy to allow that to -- or I shouldn't say happy. It's fine for that to be allowed, to be legal. I won't use our government funds for that. Instead, I want our governments to be used on Dr. Hurlbut's method, which is altered nuclear transfer.

Moderator: The same question, embryonic stem cell research with federal funds, sir.

Brownback: It will not, with all due respect to Mrs. Reagan and her desires here. I've studied this matter a great deal. We are curing and healing people with adult stem cells.

Moderator: OK.

Brownback: It is not necessary to kill a human life for us to heal people. And we're doing it with adult stem cell work, and it's getting done.

Moderator: OK. I'm going to have to go yes or no.

Governor Gilmore, for embryonic stem cell federal funding or not?

Gilmore: We can't create people in order to experiment with people.

Moderator: Governor Huckabee?

Huckabee: I would concur. I don't think it's right to create a life to end a life. That's not a good health decision.

Moderator: Congressman?

Hunter: No. I'd like to show Mrs. Reagan the alternatives, which are adult stem cells.

Moderator: Governor Thompson.

Thompson: There's so much research going on, Chris, you cannot answer that question yes or no. There's research currently going on right now at the Weissman Center (ph) in Madison, Wisconsin, that's going to allow for adult stem cells to become pluripotent, which will have the same characteristics of embryonic stem cells, so you do not have to kill an embryo.

Moderator: Senator, embryonic stem cell federal funding.

McCain: I want to thank Mrs. Reagan for the many kindnesses extended to me many -- and my fellow prisoners of war many years ago when we came home to this wonderful state.

I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen.

We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It's a tough issue. I support federal funding.

Moderator: That's a yes. Dr. Paul, yes or no on federal funding?

Paul: Programs like this are not authorized under the Constitution.

The trouble with issues like this is, in Washington we either prohibit it or subsidize it. And the market should deal with it, and the states should deal with it.

Moderator: OK. That's a no.

Giuliani: As long as we're not creating life in order to destroy it, as long as we're not having human cloning, and we limit it to that, and there is plenty of opportunity to then use federal funds in those situations where you have limitations.

So I would support it with those limitations, like Senator Coleman's bill in Congress.

Moderator: Mr. Tancredo?

Tancredo: There are billions of dollars going into this research right now. It does not require me taking money from federal -- from taxpayers in the United States to fund it...

Moderator: OK. Thank you.

Tancredo: ... because it is morally, I think, reprehensible in certain ways.

-Art Caplan

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