Useful But Empty Words

Obama the Teleprompter, 44th President of the USPresident Obama made a fairly big stir in the media when he issued an Executive Order removing the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem Cell research. Liberals, largely atheist or secular, were overjoyed with the increased freedom of research. Conservatives, largely religious, were outraged and dismayed by their tax dollars being spend on the destruction of human embryos.

The President’s words regarding embryonic stem cell research were of the sort that inspire people, both in support of his decision and in opposition to it.

Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.

These were very proud and seemingly significant words that the 44th President of the United States read off of his teleprompter. Politically they were very useful since President Obama needs to maintain a certain level of political capital amongst his Liberal followers. Sadly for some, beyond a certain amount of “grandstanding,” they were completely useless and apparently baseless.

Two days after President Obama said these words and issued his executive order lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research he signed into law a bill that explicitly outlawed the spending of federal funds upon such research. The legislation was contained in the 465-page Omnibus Appropriations Act that Obama signed Wednesday, March 11, 2009.

SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—

(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or
(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

SEC. 509. (b) For purposes of this section, the term “human embryo or embryos” includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells.

— Section 509, Page 280
H.R. 1105: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009

This particular piece of legislation is commonly referred to as the Dickey-Wicker amendment and has been included as a rider on various federal appropriations bill since 1995.

Since President Obama’s executive order explicitly doesn’t operate in contravention of current US law, his signing of the Omnibus Appropriations Act rendered this order null, void, and meaningless.

Sec. 4. General Provisions.
(a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

— March 9, 2009, EXECUTIVE ORDER
Removing Barriers To Responsible Scientific
Research Involving Human Stem Cells

It seems that a lot of people forgot the President Obama is a politician and political candidate first, foremost, and always and will say whatever his team of advisers and managers assure him is in his best political and professional interests. They either got elated or upset over nothing but useful but empty words.

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13 Responses to “Useful But Empty Words”

  1. chiefopiner Says:

    Will we see the MSM reporting on this?

    Will Obama’s liberal bedfellows be publicly outraged that he didn’t veto the legislation?

    Will this make Rachel “Madcow” Maddow’s show? Or Chris “Leg Tingle” Matthews? Or even Keith “Oh My Golly” Olbermann’s show?

    Will pigs fly?

  2. jonolan Says:

    No, it won’t be made much of by the media. If and when the some of the Liberals complain, this will – as anything controversial in the Omnibus Appropriations Act already has been – be blamed on Bush, since this legislation started being in written during his Presidency.

  3. chiefopiner Says:

    Yes, blaming Bush is the typical liberal/progressive behavior to use. After all have they not taught Americans that it is always someone else’s fault?

    Obama will always blame someone. In this case he could blame the Democrats in Congress, after all they passed this bill.

  4. Mason Says:

    While liberals may be less fundamental in their religious beliefs, 76% of Americans claim to be Christian. Even more are religious. So, I feel that your claim that liberals are largely atheist is misleading. I also don’t know how being liberal is being secular. I suppose it shows the issues we have right now in the blending of religious views and political parties. I suppose in this particular case, you are right, though: fiscal conservatives probably wouldn’t have much to be upset about with the lifting of the ban, although social conservatives are going to be irate.

  5. jonolan Says:

    Good points, Mason. I suppose it should also be noted that there are inherent problems in deciding who’s Conservative, who’s Centrist, and who’s Liberal – and on which subjects.

    Mostly, I choose to stick with more simple definitions, mostly for the sake of clarity and brevity. Otherwise I think I’d need to set up some sort of Letter Code, abbreviations, and a key. LOL

    Please remember though, Mason, 76% may claim to be Christian in a survey, yet how many of them have values that coincide with many of Christianity’s?

    All the above aside, it was ironic how meaningless the whole hoopla was since President Obama signed a bill into law that overturned his executive order.

  6. zhann Says:

    I may be wrong in my interpretation, but my understanding is that Obama’s refusal to fund Stem Cell research via government funds still allows for Stem Cell research to be funded using corporate/private funds. I saw this as a move to placate the conservatives, while keeping the liberals happy.

    Then again, I have been wrong once or twice before.

  7. jonolan Says:


    Sort of. There was never a ban on private funding of embryonic stem cell research and never a ban on government funding of non-embryonic stem cell research.

    Obama’s executive order removed Bush’s ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research – but he signed a bill into law two days later that outlawed it once again.

  8. Susanne Says:

    Wow, this is SO interesting! I had no idea. Thank you for the good work you do here.

    Great statement about Christians in America. Very true. Claiming something is easy. Living it … another story.

  9. zhann Says:

    I guess I am a bit out of the loop, or had a complete misrepresentation of the laws in effect. Funding aside, it was my understanding that it was previously, under Bush, against the law to harvest stem cells (poor use of term, possibly) from unborn fetuses. Now, this law has been repealed … along with funding, kinda. Was I completely off in this?

  10. jonolan Says:

    Yes, zhann – with no offense in any way intended – you were apparently out of the loop and off on this. There was never any law or executive order forbidding embryonic stem cell research, only laws and orders preventing federal tax dollars being spent on such research.

  11. Josh Brandt Says:

    It seems to me that he does not read the bills he signs. As president he should be giving 100%, not 33.3 here and there on certain bills. It scares me how little he is putting into his presidency so far.

    As for my opinion on the government funding stem cell research. I really don’t think that the government needs to be funding these things that are “ethically questionable”. On top of that these projects have almost no potential to stimulate the economy, defend us from outside threats, or anything useful besides a possibility of medical use.

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