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June 25, 2007

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Brendan, why do you continue to use the loaded word "smear" to refer to criticism with which you disagree? Muravchik did not impugn the motives of any of the Iraq war critics. He stated his opinion that "the demands of congressional Democrats that we throw in the towel in Iraq, their attempts to constrain the president's freedom to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, the proposal of the Baker-Hamilton commission that we appeal to Iran to help extricate us from Iraq . . . may be read by the radicals [in Iran] as signs of our imminent collapse [and may be] hastening the advent of the next war."

The only sense in which the word "smear" is appropriate here is that you are smearing Muravchik, i.e., vilifying him with false charges.

You don't have to remove the word "smear" from your lexicon, just use it correctly. For example, in promoting the myth that Bush is preventing stem cell research, Senator Clinton did indeed "smear" the President. Why didn't you apply that word to her? From reading your blog, it appears that the only people who engage in smears are Republicans and conservatives.

@Rob: How exactly can you say that carrying Bush's posture on stem cell research to its logical conclusion is a 'smear?' Sure, the Prez may not ban stem cell research, as he's only denying federal funds -- but let's be honest, the applicability of stem cells will be, for the most part, into avenues that private companies will not pursue, as they are not profitable. NIH has been the major impetus for the sort of life-saving treatments for which stem cells hold the most promise, so Bush's stance, regardless of his motive, amounts to obstinance in the face of science.

EQ, let's be clear. Senator Clinton did not carry the Bush position on stem cell research to its logical conclusion, she misstated the Bush position. As Brendan pointed out in his post, she conflated a ban on federal funding with a ban on the research itself. She also conflated research on embryonic stem cells and research on non-embryonic stem cells.

You say that private companies will not pursue stem cell research. I don't know enough about the field to know whether that is true. Would you care to cite some authoritative source for that proposition?

But even if it is true, there are sources of funding for embryonic stem cell research other than the federal government. There are foundations with huge resources, and there are state governments (for example, California voters in 2004 approved a $3 billion bond issue for the purpose). And let's not be jingoistic: nothing prevents other developed countries from funding and pursuing embryonic stem cell research, or even from funding research here if (which is unlikely) their own facilities are inadequate to pursue the research.

Personally I'm all in favor of embryonic stem cell research, though I think its promise has been grossly oversold by many. But intentionally, cynically misstating the White House position on stem cell research is a smear, as that word is properly defined. Whereas the comments by Muravchik may be controversial and may be disputed, but I believe it's a stretch to call them a smear. People have got to stop reacting to legitimate criticism of their positions by claiming they were smeared.

Which reminds me, EQ. Why are you questioning my patriotism?

Muravchik is attempting a smear. He does this through figures of speech like 'brickbats',an attempt to equate Democratic oppostion with the mindlessness of the mob, and 'throw in the towel' which is a slang expression for cowardice. In all a dreary little mind.

...their attempts to constrain the president's freedom to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program

Because of course the Dems desire that Iran develop nukes to threaten us with. But no Rob, that's not a "smear".


The "next war" - with Iran, of course - might be "ACTUALLY NECESSARY"?????

HUH????

Have you gone completely loco?

EQ, let's be clear. Senator Clinton did not carry the Bush position on stem cell research to its logical conclusion, she misstated the Bush position. As Brendan pointed out in his post, she conflated a ban on federal funding with a ban on the research itself. She also conflated research on embryonic stem cells and research on non-embryonic stem cells.

You say that private companies will not pursue stem cell research. I don't know enough about the field to know whether that is true. Would you care to cite some authoritative source for that proposition?

That's silly -- you can't have an authoritative source on a proposition that doesn't exist. I work in biotech, and I can tell you that the promise of stem cells lies in curing disease, not maintaining it. Private companies, beholden to a bottom line, don't sink a great deal of R&D funds into one-shot cures; if they did, they would have to make the product so prohibitively expensive that there would be no market for it.

But even if it is true, there are sources of funding for embryonic stem cell research other than the federal government. There are foundations with huge resources, and there are state governments (for example, California voters in 2004 approved a $3 billion bond issue for the purpose). And let's not be jingoistic: nothing prevents other developed countries from funding and pursuing embryonic stem cell research, or even from funding research here if (which is unlikely) their own facilities are inadequate to pursue the research.

Did I ever say America was the last bastion of stem cell research? That's a straw man if I ever saw one. However, I was never of the mind that we were of the habit of sitting back while the rest of the world passes us by - which is what will happen, regardless of the admirable work being done in NJ and CA, if the NIH doesn't pursue stem cell research.

Personally I'm all in favor of embryonic stem cell research, though I think its promise has been grossly oversold by many.

So you admit to not knowing enough about stem cells earlier, but somehow intuitively know that they've been oversold? How 'bout that.

But intentionally, cynically misstating the White House position on stem cell research is a smear, as that word is properly defined. Whereas the comments by Muravchik may be controversial and may be disputed, but I believe it's a stretch to call them a smear. People have got to stop reacting to legitimate criticism of their positions by claiming they were smeared.

...yet you follow this statement with...

Which reminds me, EQ. Why are you questioning my patriotism?

I didn't. Don't play that game, its a race to the bottom.

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