Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stem Cells - Local Wedge Issue?

Time to take a break from Georgia Politics and see what's happening in Florida.

Outside the forces of good and evil rolling towards the plains of Megiddo, the big national story of the week is Bush pulling out the veto stamp for a bill boosting spending for stem cell research. The veto is the president's nuclear option and Bush chose his first for an issue that 60% of Americans support and a bipartisan Senate passed with a 63 vote majority.

The next question is how will it play at the local level?

In the Georgia primary, we have already seen some weakening of the religious right's stranglehold on the Republican party. Now, Florida elections are starting to feel the effect.

Republican Tom Gallagher adamantly defends Bush's veto and goes on to say that if elected Governor he will also stop any efforts to fund embryonic stem cell research.

As governor, I'll fight any attempt to divert taxpayer dollars toward
embryonic stem cell research or any other practice which diminishes the worth
and human dignity of innocent life.

His opponent Charlie Crist has in the past played footsie with the religious right but once again tries to toe the moderate line. Although he refuses to give full support to the research he admits if he had been in the Senate he would have voted for the bill.

Had I been in the U.S. Senate, I probably would've tried to modify the bill
to include that kind of new technology, but I probably would have voted for

I smell a wedge issue. There are many ongoing battles for the soul of the Republican party. Stem cells could flare from brush fire to full on conflagaration. With such popular support for the research, it is only a matter of time before some stop trying to tap dance and start attempting full on body blows.

The question is who will have the courage?

h/t: Orlando Sentinel

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