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Friday, June 03, 2005

Stem Cell Wedge?

David Corn discusses the politics of stem cells in The Nation:

The stem cell controversy sets Republican against Republican and distances party leaders from popular sentiment. Voters yearning for cures to awful diseases that could affect their own families have reason--perhaps for the first time--to feel threatened by the social cons and their GOP allies. But does this debate pose a short-term or strategic hazard for Republicans? 'A growing number of Republican House members believe this could be an issue in 2006,' DeGette says, 'and moderate Republicans are crazed about that.' But Matt Dowd, Bush's chief campaign strategist in 2004, notes that it's 'too early' to declare stem cells a wedge issue: 'To get to that level, a large segment of the population has to have an emotional stake in the issue. And stem cells has not yet risen to the level of gay marriage or abortion. It's more of an intellectual thing, not an everyday concern.' Nor is he worried about next year's Congressional races. Look at the Kerry-Bush contest, Dowd argues. John Kerry tried to deploy stem cells as a defining issue and lost. 'The President,' Dowd says, 'wants to make sure there's a balance. The public supports balance.' That may be what many voters crave on brave-new-world issues. But with a veto, Bush will have a tough time depicting his stance as balanced and distinct from the medical-science blocking of the religious right. The party is not likely to crack up over stem cells, but this controversy--perhaps a prelude to other battles stirred by technological advances--is pushing Republicans to consider how far to go in identifying with diehard social conservatives. This fault-line within the GOP is hardly a death knell for the party. But one thing's certain: It can't be good for the GOP when Bush and DeLay suggest that Nancy Reagan and other prominent Republicans support an unethical practice that entails human dismemberment.
I am strongly in favor of stem cell research. However, since I am also in favor of reproductive cloning I am out of the mainstream on this issue. Corn is right about this being a big split in the Republican Party, but I think it is a dangerous issue for Democrats too, especially if they overplay it. While a majority support stem cell research, the blase attitude of Democrats toward the ethical ramifications of this issue, could very well end up backfiring on them. Most people will concede that embryonic stem cell research is moving into a somewhat gray ethical area, and even if one concludes that this is ok in this example, being cautious and considering all the ramifications is something a lot of people will respect. Democrats, with their strong support of abortion, already face an image problem in this regard. The Democrats may be able to turn the stem cell debate into a tactical victory, but it could be a strategic defeat.


Blogger RFTR said...

May I ask your justfication for reproductive cloning? I don't mean to challenge you (as you and I agree on almost everything) I just haven't heard anyone make a compelling case for it as yet, and would bet you can.

6/03/2005 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger tsykoduk said...

Only one reason:

AADA clone insurance. That's right, clone yourself, and get the braintapes dumped if you are killed in a Duel.

Oh - wait, it really does not work that way?

I await Dave's post as well

6/03/2005 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I'll get to it next week. Going camping for the weekend!

6/03/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

dang it.

The consertives are doing what they do best on the stem cell issuse...resiting change.

The democrats would do a lot better if they mocked the republicans my creating old cartiture straw men who resist things such as the internet and email, rather than tring to go on the offensive

6/07/2005 03:12:00 PM  
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9/30/2005 08:06:00 PM  

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