August, 16th 2007

Looking at Romney's investments

– Liz Mair

Yesterday, my friend Soren Dayton wrote a post on Romney's investments in oil companies with links to bad regimes: Saddam's Iraq, Ahmadinejad's Iran, and China, by the by.

While I think Soren might have gone a little over-the-top in titling his piece, it makes a good point: blind trust or no blind trust, Romney is a guy who seems to have been benefiting massively from investments in companies that are involved with some of the worst elements in international politics-- elements he's happy to portray as the enemy, rather than a quasi-investment partner, as he campaigns.

Soren also points to Romney's investment in companies that carry out embryonic stem cell research, as highlighted in yesterday's Boston Herald, and now again, today by ABC News-- again, these investments are held via a blind trust, but still, the point remains that Romney seems to be benefiting from something he supposedly opposes.

I personally don't have a problem with embryonic stem cell research as funded and carried out by private business (given that it has yet to deliver in any demonstrable manner, though, I'm skeptical about spending tax dollars on it-- it doesn't feel like the great investment it's usually touted as, and that is literally my only issue with federal funding of it).

But that's not the point. Romney does oppose embryonic stem cell research, and in fact, it's not just that he opposes it, it's that his whole explanation as to how he became pro-life relates to embryonic stem cell research, which he allegedly determined, after talking with some scientists, treated human life too casually or somesuch (actually, as the NH Union Leader pointed out just over a week ago, that's only one of the explanations that Romney gave as to his pro-lifedom-- but getting stories straight and sticking to one line is not one of Mitt's strong suits, as we all know).

So, it matters that Romney is benefiting from the research he purports to object to.

As a side note, the ABC piece notes that Romney wrote in a 2005 Boston Globe op-ed that "Some cell stems ... are obtained from surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization [...] I support that research." What I find interesting about this is that, to my knowledge (and someone please email me if I'm wrong here), a lot of the embryos that are used for stem cell research are, in fact, excess embryos originally created for use in IVF, but never "deployed."

That they were created for use in IVF, as opposed to cloned for medical research, has never, ever, from what I can tell mattered one bit to the pro-life community. At the end of the day, while cloning is bad (and I think we can all agree on that), the pro-life community's position seems to be that an embryo is a life, no matter how, or why it was created-- and that using any embryo for "slicing and dicing" in the context of medical research violates its rights.

So, if Romney is sticking with his 2005 position, as outlined in the ABC piece, I think we've come across yet another stumbling block where his "life" position, and the social conservative wing of the GOP, which he wants so desperately to capture, are concerned.


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