On Tuesday, Joe Biden, one of the 20-odd presidential aspirants, held a campaign event in Iowa where he told listeners, if he (Biden) were elected president, “you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America: We’re going to cure cancer.” Mr. Biden lost a son to cancer in 2015.
Cancer is a disease with more than 100 different types. Moreover, different treatments have different levels of effectiveness on cancer patients. As Jim Geraghty notes in NRO, cancer is not likely treatable with a single cure-all.
A blanket cure for all types of cancer is not outside of our reach because we elected the wrong president or aren’t spending enough money on the problem. A blanket cure for all types of cancer is outside of our reach, for now, because this is a darned complicated disease with a lot of varieties and the target is always changing:
While campaigning in October 2004, VP candidate John Edwards vowed, “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 are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”
A Brazen Lie
In a claim that George W. Bush had “banned” stem cell research, Edwards accused Bush of standing in the way for cures for everything from paralysis to Alzheimer’s to cancer.
Writes Mr. Geraghty:
Bush had left no restrictions on private research into embryonic stem cells and continued federal funding to support the study of existing stem-cell lines, but barred using federal money for research on stem-cell lines produced by newly destroyed embryos.
Embryonic Stem Cell Debate Was Over
In 2007, James A. Thomson and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka announced they an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells.
In 2009, Obama lifted the restrictions Bush had put in place. Cures for paralysis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s did not suddenly appear. The furious rhetoric of Kerry and Edwards was wrong; Bush policies were not what stood between suffering Americans and a cure for their diseases.
Edwards’s justification was a false claim that Bush had “banned” stem-cell research, and thus had stood in the way for cures to everything from paralysis to Alzheimer’s to cancer.
In 2004, Charles Krauthammer, who had every incentive to pursue any potential treatment for paralysis, countered John Edwards’ rhetoric: “In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery.”
Politicians Like to Promise a Chicken in Every Pot
Mr. Geraghty reminds readers that it is part of the election game. It is one thing to promise ethanol subsidies here, dairy price controls there, he writes. Geraghty could have added, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
But to exploit the desperate hopes of desperate people with the promise of Christ-like cures is beyond the pale.
Read more here.