I know the Obama camp is fond of claiming that McCain-Palin would be more of the same, but that isn’t quite accurate. America would find itself in a much worse position should McCain-Palin win in November. As reported over at Wired today, John McCain would make the simple act of researching somatic cell nuclear transfer (aka “therapeutic cloning”) illegal, going well-beyond the current Bush administration policy of simply not funding such research.

I spent far too much of my life researching stem cell research as a research assitant in graduate school, so it is a topic that is (thankfully no longer) near and dear to my heart (Edit: I need to find a way to use the word “research” a fourth time in this sentence). The current Bush policy makes us look like morons to the rest of the world, who have been glibly blowing past the United States in this essential technical front. Bush himself is not opposed to stem cell research (or abortion, the issue at the heart of this debate), but uses the issue as a tool to pander to the anti-choice lobby. This cynical attack on academic pursuit and therapeutic science is bad enough.

Evidently, if you elect McCain-Palin, they will put us further away from this technological vanguard by criminalizing even the privately-funded research that is going on in this country. It is worth pointing out that McCain is not anti-choice himself, so this little gem must surely be 1) a signing bonus for Mrs. Palin and 2) a major ploy to sate the anti-choice movement to which she belongs.

The last eight years have cast the United States as the land of unintelligent dolts in the eyes of the world. This McCain-Palin policy not only will continue to hogtie our scientists, it will actually incarcerate them. We are supposed to be the nation where anything is possible. Instead, we are starting to resemble the Holy Roman Empire, down to the incarceration of scientists. Galileo, anyone? This is simply unacceptable.

As I’ve pointed out in this space before, I’m no fan of Obama, either. I am voting for whichever third party candidate is highest in the polls come election day, in the hope that they will garner enough votes to get federal funding in the next election. You see, only when you have choices can you really hope to be free.