Obama's stance is reminiscent of a passage from a speech given by John F. Kennedy in 1962, in which he said:
Most of us are conditioned for many years to have a political viewpoint - Republican or Democratic, liberal, conservative, or moderate. The fact of the matter is that most of the problems … that we now face are technical problems, are administrative problems. They are very sophisticated judgments, which do not lend themselves to the great sort of passionate movements which have stirred the country so often in the past. [They] deal with questions which are now beyond the comprehension of most men….
Sentiments such as these are fundamentally a dismissal of democracy, understood not simply as a contrivance of competitive elections, but as the a form of governance devised with the idea that truly human questions are not reducible to technical or expert "solution," but instead require discussion, argument, dialogue, prudence, practical wisdom, and the willingness to revisit. I agree with every sentence in Peter's assessment, and lament the dismantling of what may have been the best thing that GWB did in his eight years in office in forming his Bioethics Commission.