Thursday, August 04, 2005

George Will talks sense about Frist
I disagree with Frist's decision, I really do. I don't think the federal government should be funding embryonic stem cell research that results in the destruction of more embryos. I'm undecided about left-over embryos from fertility clinics that would be destroyed anyway. I don't want people to fund private research, but I don't really want the government to intervene, either.

But George Will makes the important point: Frist changed his mind for the right reasons. He's voting his conscience, and he's trying to convince people of his side without hollow rhetoric. He really believes in his position, and he wants to win the debate on its merits. I respect and commend that. I think it's honorable in this day of party-line voting for a politician to stand up and say "I've changed my mind."

Now, I'm sure if a Kossack sees this, they'll start whining "then why did you criticize Kerry so much for 'flip-flopping.'"

Simple. 1)I said many times that he was not a flip-flopper, he was incable of taking a position and sticking to it on any slightly challenging issue. 2)What matters is not that a politician changes his mind, but how and why he does it. I just finished reading a short book by former Speaker Tip O'Neill, All Politics is Local. Overall the book was so-so, but he makes a few really good points. One of them is "You Can Switch a Position, but Do It Quickly and Openly." The key message is:

There is a big difference between waffling on a position and honestly changing your mind. Make sure the people know the difference.

Once Sam Rayburn [another former Speaker] changed a position. "I'd rather be right than consistent!" he declared.
Kerry couldn't make up his mind, and when he'd start to take a stand, he'd do so shakily and without any ability to explain why he "believed" his new position.

Frist has actually stayed pretty consistent, and his conclusions have changed based on a shifting set of facts. Again, I don't agree with his position, but I respect it. And I think the people who agree with me and are condemning him should be ashamed of themselves.

1 comment:

Dave Justus said...

I am pretty sure that the only embryos that are even considered being used for this are the ones that are left over and will end up being destroyed anyway.

There are tons of these, and since they are readily availible and the least morally objectionable option no one is thinking about using anything else.

If cures are developed though, and the demand outpaces what fertility clinics can provide that may raise new issues at that time.