Monday, April 24, 2006

Cell Division

One issue that cuts across party lines is stem cell research; after all, when you have Ted Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Nancy Reagan, Bill Frist, and Hillary Clinton joining together to support it against the likes of Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Jim Talent, and the nutsery of the Religious Reich, you’ve got a pretty interesting discussion. The Democrats are hoping that it will win over moderate and independents, too.

The question of whether the government should support or limit stem cell research has cropped up in Senate races in Maryland and Missouri, and in House races in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, especially in suburban swing districts.

“What Democrats want to do is gin up their turnout in the suburbs and divide Republicans, and right now they may do that,” said Jennifer E. Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “This is the first real wedge issue Democrats have had with Republicans.”

The topic may not have the power of those frequently used by Republicans to rally their conservative base, like same-sex marriage and abortion. But it could help Democrats win voters who are pinning their hopes on the science for treatments and cures.

The arguments for stem cell research comes down to this: do you want to do everything you can to find cures or treatments for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, and other genetic disorders, or do you want to make Jesus cry because the use of embryonic cells may result in the destruction of a piece of subatomic goo that was going to be thrown out anyway?

If the righties think that this is exploiting human suffering for political purposes or is a slap in the face of the pro-life community, I say make the most of it. Anyone who calls themselves “pro-life” and stands in the way of medical research deserves any shin-kicking we can give them.