Aug 1, 2005
Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, suddenly declared himself in favor of stem cell research, breaking ranks with President Bush.
Up to now, Frist has marched lock-step with Bush in supporting the prejudices of the religious right – prejudices which oppose science on many fronts. Frist, for example, a heart surgeon, felt himself perfectly able to declare Terri Schiavo's brain capable of recovery, although Frist did nothing but view a video of her. If this had much more the appearance of a seance than a medical examination, the Schiavo autopsy later removed all doubt. Frist had actually staged a sort of seance – with all the attendant smoke, mirrors, and accuracy!
Frist aides told reporters that he made his stem cell decision based on science. It's strange to hear that from a man who has never before let science stand in the way of politically useful calculations. But perhaps it's no different this time. Frist has presidential ambitions. Perhaps it's the science of polling voters that truly has gotten his attention.