(cross-posted at Deny My Freedom and Daily Kos)

Our dear leader was finally confronted with a bill that he couldn’t simply sign and disavow with a signing statement. At the ripe old age of 60, Bush was forced to veto a bill supporting federally funded stem cell research.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Bush cast his first veto on Wednesday to block legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research, putting him at odds with top scientists, most Americans and some fellow Republicans.

“It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it,” Bush said of the research that involves tiny human embryos.

[…]

“I made it clear to the Congress that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line,” he told a White House audience including women who had children after adopting and gestating “spare” embryos from fertility clinics. “I felt like crossing this line would be a mistake and once crossed we would find it almost impossible to turn back.”

This administration is probably one of the last authorities that can speak about morals, given its abhorrent record with regards to the so-called ‘sanctity’ of human life. However, one should not be surprised by Bush’s decision to veto this bill, despite the great potential they may hold for curing such conditions as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and paralysis.

Why? Simply put, it’s another application of the ‘One Percent Doctrine’ that has seemingly governed how this administration rules.
The phrase, coming from the new book of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author Ron Suskind, moreso applies to the way the Bush administration has gone about dealing with issues of national security. If there’s even the possibility of something occurring – no matter how remote or unimaginable – it must be dealt with. It’s a good explanation for why we continue to waste time on a missile defense system, and Dick Cheney sums it up pretty well in explaining its application to the war on terror:

The One Percent Doctrine takes its title from an episode in late November 2001. Amid fears of a “second wave” attack after 9/11, Tenet laid out for Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice a stunning trove of new intelligence, much of which Suskind reveals for the first time: Two Pakistani scientists who previously offered to help Libya build a nuclear bomb were known to have met with Osama bin Laden. (Later, Suskind reports, the U.S. government would discover that bin Laden asked pointedly what his next steps should be if he already possessed enriched uranium.)

Cheney, by Suskind’s account, had been grappling with how to think about “a low-probability, high-impact event.” By the time the briefing was over, he had his answer: “If there’s a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.”

While the subject matter in question now – stem cell research – is markedly different from issues of national security, the basic premise remains the same. Bush’s main argument, which he was unabashedly proud to use as a politically exploitative backdrop for announcing his veto, was that embryos that are slated to be discarded could happen to become children one day. No freakin’ shit. However, this explanation conveniently avoids the facts:

Only about 2 percent of the estimated 400,000 frozen embryos wind up being given to other families, according to a 2003 survey by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

You can view the entire study here (PDF format) – you might be surprised by the numbers. Indeed, Bush’s justification for blocking funding for studies that could eventually save millions of human lives is that there is a small chance that embryos that are to be discarded end up being used to bring a child into this world. Given that the GOP frames politics in the strict father model, it comes as no surprise that they rationalize their actions on the basis that there’s a small, if unlikely, chance that something will come to pass. For someone who has touted purveying a culture of life, he has failed miserably on that count. This was a chance to act in a manner that was veritably pro-life – but that damn 2% got in the way.

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