Culture Montana Politics

Burns Distorts the Truth About Stem Cell Research

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Borrowing a line from the Karl Rove playbook, Conrad Burns defended his vote against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research:

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., voted against it. He said he has "no problem" that such research continues in the private sector, but does not believe that taxpayer money should be used for it.

He voted for the other bills because he’s "big advocate" of research using other methods such as adult stem cells and umbilical cords, he added. "That’s where we’re making our greatest advances," he said.

That might be a defensible position, if it were true. However, as we so often see in the world of Rovian distortions, truth doesn’t matter. All that matters is making the claim–because the media certainly won’t challenge it. ThinkProgress reports today that Karl Rove made almost exactly the same claim in the Denver Post last week:

Recent studies, he (Rove) said, show that researchers "have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells."

Odd, isn’t it, how close the Burns and Rover statements are, especially since they are both patently false. When asked, a White House spokesperson could not name one researcher who shared the position that Rove and Burns have taken. It just isn’t true.

So, Senator Burns voted against allowing federal funding of research that offers potential cures for serious, debilitating diseases and might even  prevent premature deaths because he believed a Karl Rove talking point? Or was it because he wanted to fire up the troops in the rabid, anti-choice movement?

Either way, he lied to explain his vote, and his decision (in what will be a very close vote to overturn Bush’s people) will cost lives.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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