This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, August 11, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
MORT KONDRACKE, HOST: I'm Mort Kondracke.
FRED BARNES, HOST: And I'm Fred Barnes, and we're The Beltway Boys.
KONDRACKE: Well, the hot story of the week was Bush's stem cell decision. It was the most intellectually and politically cautious decision that he possibly could have made, allowing federal funding for only research on existing stem cell lines, of which he claimed there are 60, but the scientists that I've talked to say that there are no more than 10 or 12, not enough to do robust research.
Under the intellectual guidance of Leon Kass of the University of Chicago, Bush looked at, down the road, at brave new world and decided not to be brave. And under the political guidance of Karl Rove, he decided -- made a decision that made no one really furious.
So, you know, he, he gets away with, with this, this decision. I just think it was conscientiously decided upon but much too narrow for the good of mankind, I think.
BARNES: Do you think he's really read Brave New World by AldousHuxley?
KONDRACKE: Well, I hope so.
BARNES: I'm not sure. Look, I have three thoughts on the subject. One, I thought it was a brilliant decision, though it wouldn't have been mine. It was a brilliant decision, but...
KONDRACKE: You would have banned, you would have banned the research.
BARNES: Yes, but -- yes, I would have banned it. And he found the least morally troublesome way to allow research to go on. And I think that's the best way to do it. And this is what he believes, Mort. That's the good thing. I mean, if he'd -- if he had approved unlimited research that involved the -- more destruction of these embryos in order to get the stem cells, that would have been something -- he would have been following the polls. It wouldn't have been what he believed. And people would have known that on a moral decision.
Now, there was something -- and the third thing is some of the appalling tactics used by the pro-research group, groups. Listen to this statement by -- what is it, the Alliance for...
KONDRACKE: Aging Research.
BARNES: ... Aging Research. "Americans who are suffering from the devastating effects of diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, and spinal cord injuries will have their waiting periods cruelly extended. It is folly for government to dictate to scientists where the most promising leads may lay."
Now, you know, to say, I mean, look, the -- this is research for the long term, and it's being done in -- with adult stem cells and -- and lots of others. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and to say that people -- now, that it's going to save your grandmother and that Bush, by not going with unlimited research, is going to kill your grandmother, is wrong. Listen to what...
KONDRACKE: But -- but, but, but, but, but...
KONDRACKE: ... it is going to delay, but it is going to delay the research.
KONDRACKE: It will be the...
BARNES: Of that particular type, not other research.
KONDRACKE: ... OK, not...
BARNES: Here's what Charles Krauthammer, who agrees with you, in favor of embryonic stem cell research, said, in this coming week's Weekly Standard. He said, "Stem cell research does hold a promise for clinical cures in the far future. But right now, we're at the stage of basic science. We don't understand how these cells work, and we don't know how to control them. Because their power is so extraordinary, they are very, very dangerous."
Charles Krauthammer agrees with you.
KONDRACKE: Yes, OK.
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