. . . Wednesday October 13, 2004

Bill Frist, Dr. No

The Democratic team that has been hammered by the President for dour pessimism is now being blasted by Bill Frist for being too positive.

During a recent speech, John Edwards discussed the legacy of Christopher Reeve:

“[He] was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him. If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”

Now, I’ll admit that Edwards is using the language of a Sunday morning heal-a-thon to describe the importance of scientific advancement, but does anyone see anything in his comments that would deserve an attack by Bill Frist in which the good doctor described the VP candidate as shameful and crass?

Frist explained:

I find it opportunistic to use the death of someone like Christopher Reeve — I think it is shameful — in order to mislead the American people. We should be offering people hope, but neither physicians, scientists, public servants or trial lawyers like John Edwards should be offering hype.

It is cruel to people who have disabilities and chronic diseases, and, on top of that, it’s dishonest. It’s giving false hope to people, and I can tell you as a physician who’s treated scores of thousands of patients that you don’t give them false hope.

Wow. He even got the trial lawyer line in there.

Look, calling someone opportunistic for using the death of Christopher Reeve to discuss the importance of stem cell research is like ripping someone for using the death of Martin Luther King to push for civil rights.

And if we want to talk about being cruel and dishonest, let’s first focus on the people like Frist who are knowingly paving the way for scientifically useful cells to be thrown in the trash in the name of the lowest form of political pandering.

Next patient please…

Concentration is important!