Back in May, NRLC was mentioning the fact that John McCain has been an enthusiastic supporter of ESCR. Well, not exactly in those words. But in some words, with as much downplaying as possible.
Since then, we have had an ad, interpreted by an official campaign spokesman, reaffirming that support for the benefit any ESCR supporters who might be worried.
Here is the present NRLC candidate comparison chart. (HT: Zippy) What's missing?
But there's more. I was alerted by my daughter to Sarah Palin's call-in interview today with James Dobson. They talked, my daughter said, enthusiastically about the Republican party platform and how very, very pro-life it is. Dobson (who at one time said he would not vote for John McCain but has changed his mind) expressly asked her if McCain was in agreement with that platform, based on the many private conversations Palin says she has had with him. And she said, “John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.” Please note that in the context, this was a discussion of the pro-life issues. Did Dobson ask about ESCR or about the ad? No, he didn't.
Here is the 2008 Republican Party Platform, and here is all I can find that it says about ESCR:
Taxpayer-funded medical research must be based on sound science, with a focus on both prevention and treatment, and in accordance with the humane ethics of the Hippocratic Oath. In that regard, we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases — with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.
When you read this carefully you can see that it does not actually call for a continuation of the policy of not funding ESCR with federal money. Rather, it calls for expanding funding for adult stem-cell research. It also calls for banning "experimentation on human embryos for research purposes," but killing them to take their stem-cells isn't actually experimenting on them; the experiments will take place using the stem-cells harvested. Moreover, we know that McCain just reaffirmed (in his own name and Palin's) his support for ESCR. So either nothing in this "most pro-life ever" Republican platform addresses federal funding for ESCR (and it can be interpreted in that way), or Sarah Palin just somehow neglected to ask John McCain about that subject in their many private conversations, or he lied to her, or she lied to James Dobson. I doubt very much that it is the last of these. If I had to bet, I'd bet on a combination of the first and the second.
Either way, ESCR has effectively disappeared from the discussion between the McCain campaign and the religious right. Mrs. Palin went forth today herself to woo them in the person of James Dobson, and the amazing disappearing embryo was nowhere to be found in the conversation.
This is corruption and the cost of compromise, Part II.