Digby points out a good contradiction in the GOP’s stance on stem cell research :
The Republicans are taking a new tack on stem cells. In response to the Michael J. Fox “backlash” Ken Mehlman just said on CNN that Jim Talent supports stem cell research but he just doesn’t think the government should pay for it. He pointed out that nobody says that the private sector shouldn’t pursue stem cell research. What’s the problem?
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This argument worked back in the day with the Hyde Amendment banning public money for abortion because some people object to the expenditure on moral grounds. Maybe it will work again. But I don’t think stem cell research has ever had the kind of visceral punch that abortion has and the benefits to everyone are far more obvious.
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Mostly, though, it undercuts the moral argument the Republicans have been making about their (phony) “culture of life.” Back in the 70’s, when the Hyde Amendment was passed, Republicans could get away with making practical arguments like “people shouldn’t have to pay for things that morally offend them.” But this isn’t the “me decade” anymore. The Republicans are no longer supposed to be just the defenders of traditional values — they are supposed to be true believers. I don’t see how the religious right could support such a “split-the-difference” strategy.
The “culture of life” warriors have been making similar arguments recently in regards to the (imminent) overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Rather than look like the religious extremists that they are, they do their best to assure the mushy middle that repealing Roe won’t outlaw abortion, it’ll just make abortion laws “revert to the states”. Y’know, so Alabama rape victims will be forced to have their babies, but women in California and New York will still have control of their bodies.
Of course these are the same people who insist abortion and embryonic stem cell research are “murder“. Here’s what Tony Snow said in regards to the President’s feelings about stem cells :
Q Can you remind us why the President believes that it is not appropriate to use — that it is more appropriate for stem cells to be thrown away than to be used, in this case, for medical research?
MR. SNOW: The President — I don’t think that’s the choice that the President has presented. What the President has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed. Now, you may consider that insignificant, but the President has said — and you have had in a number of cases the Snowflake babies, where some of those fetuses have, in fact, been brought to term and have become human beings. The President believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder; he’s one of them.
Personally, I think the insistence among conservatives that stem cell research and abortion are murder is completely absurd, but that’s not half as troubling as the thought that there are conservatives who think an act of “murder” is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s decided by the states and isn’t funded with tax dollars. Which reminds me of this great quote that sums up conservatism in a nutshell :
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
-John Kenneth Galbraith
And with the abortion and stem cell debates, we’ve seen this hypocrisy reach to it’s limit. The GOP stance on “murder” is that it’s fine with them as long as it doesn’t happen in their back yard and they don’t have to pay for it. That’s not a defensible position, it’s insanity.