Veni, Vidi, Veto

The Washington Post reports that the Stem Cell bill has passed.

The Senate voted to lift restrictions on federally funded human embryonic stem cell research yesterday, setting the table for President Bush's first veto and producing an emotional campaign issue that Democrats believe will help them this fall.

Senators voted 63 to 37 to approve a House-passed bill that would pour millions of dollars into a field of medical research that is promising -- but also controversial because it requires destroying human embryos to extract the cells. Bush announced in his first nationally televised address, on Aug. 9, 2001, that he would ban government funding for research using embryonic stem cell colonies created after that date, and he has vowed to cast his first presidential veto to block the legislation rescinding his executive order.
Since the MSM is only reporting that Bush is vetoing the bill because he "opposes anything that destroys a human life" (in places other than Iraq) let's examine the real reasons a Stem Cell bill will draw Bush's first Veto:

First, the easy answer. He's so beholden to the Christianists that he doesn't dare piss them off now. His 36% approval rating could drop significantly. Far-Right Christian Fundamentalists make up a large part of that 36% and angering them would make President Bush nearly irrelevant.

Second answer: It provides a campaign issue for Republicans. "Without your vote to put more Christianists-Republicans in congress, Stem Cells will cover the land and take away your Bibles."

Real answer: Writing a signing statement that says he will ignore this bill looks far to ridiculous, even for the Bush Administration.

When Bush signed the Anti-Torture bill, he wrote a signing statement that said he could at times ignore any part of the bill when fulfilling his duties as Commander in Chief. When Congress passed a bill requiring judicial oversight of any spying conducted by the United States, the signing statement said that he could ignore this requirement when he felt it benefited national security to do so.

Writing a signing statement saying that he won't actually provide the money for Stem Cell Research because he's morally opposed to it would draw a little to much attention to the fact that for the last six years, he hasn't bothered to veto anything because he would just ignore laws he didn't like. Hence his first veto.

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