Time: "[Y]ou could argue" Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast" to unpopular positions

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In an article on President Bush's threat to veto legislation expanding federal funding for stem cell research, Time magazine reported that "you could argue" that Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times." In fact, as Media Matters for America and many others have pointed out, Bush has a long history of reversing course on issues, particularly when it is politically expedient or necessary to do so.

In an article in the July 24 edition of Time magazine on President Bush's threat to veto legislation expanding federal funding for stem cell research, editor at large Nancy Gibbs, White House correspondent Mike Allen, senior reporter Alice Park, and reporter Massimo Calabresi wrote that "you could argue" that Bush "has made a career of ... holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times." In fact, as Media Matters for America and many others have pointed out, Bush has a long history of reversing course on issues, particularly when it is politically expedient or necessary to do so.

As Media Matters has noted, Bush reversed his positions on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the creation of the independent 9-11 Commission, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold bill), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the 2005 Transportation spending bill, and the nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Bush has also reversed course on immigration policy, fuel-efficiency standards, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Bush recently asked Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage -- which represents a major shift from his position during the 2000 presidential campaign, when he said, on the February 15, 2000, edition of CNN's Larry King Live, that individual "state[s] can do what they want to do" regarding same-sex marriage.

Gibbs, Allen, Park, and Calabresi then suggested that Bush's history of "holding fast to positions voters reject" absolves him of the accusation that he is playing politics with the stem cell issue, writing: "So his willingness to exercise his first-ever veto this week on a bill that would expand federal funding for human embryonic-stem-cell research, which 2 out of 3 voters favor, is not just a way to stroke his political base."

From the Time article:

George W. Bush seldom suffered personally from doing what's unpopular politically. In fact, you could argue that he has made a career of it, holding fast to positions that many voters reject, as a sign of strength in these dangerous times. So his willingness to exercise his first-ever veto this week on a bill that would expand federal funding for human embryonic-stem-cell research, which 2 out of 3 voters favor, is not just a way to stroke his political base. "People like leadership much better than a finger in the wind," says White House press secretary Tony Snow. As Bush explained to him while in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-8 summit last week, "I took a position. I believe in it. So that's what I'm going to do."

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