05/24/2005: Thought for the Day:
Last week at a Republican fund-raising gala, President Bush saluted Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt. "In the last two elections, the American people made clear that they want judges who faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench," Bush told the crowd. "The Senate also has a duty to promptly consider each of [my] nominees on the Senate floor, discuss and debate their qualifications, and then give them the up-or-down vote they deserve."
This week, Republicans will put that principle to the test—but not in the way they've advertised. As the Senate approaches nuclear war over judges, the House will take up stem-cell research. On the former issue, Republican leaders have a majority. On the latter, they don't. The real test of a principle—in this case, majority rule—isn't whether you invoke it when it's convenient. The real test is whether you practice it when it isn't.
Four years ago, Bush restricted federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research (or ESCR) to cell lines derived before Aug. 9, 2001. Last year, 58 senators and nearly half the House signed letters asking him to relax that restriction. For at least three years, most senators have supported legislation that would approve human therapeutic cloning. Last year, more than 200 members of the House co-sponsored legislation to expand ESCR funding.
None of these bills ever got an up-or-down vote. Why? Because the same Republicans who now preach about up-or-down votes bottled them up or threatened to filibuster them.
Len on 05.24.05 @ 06:25 AM CST