When President George W. Bush announced his embryonic stem cell funding policy in August 2001, it was greeted even by many of its opponents as a stroke of political brilliance. “Mr. Bush,” the New York Times editorialized regarding his policy, “is turning out to be a skilled triangulator.”
But advocates of embryonic stem cell research funding quickly soured on the policy, and Democrats began to think of the stem cell issue as a potential wedge to drive moderate voters their way. “If we do the work that we can do in this country,” Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards said during the 2004 campaign, “the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.” It is hard to imagine a more shameless abuse of hope.