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Thursday, February 23, 2006

MO-Sen: Talent Flip-Flops on Stem Cells

Posted by DavidNYC

As I've written in the past, I ordinarily hate the phrase "flip-flop" - it's gotta be okay to change your mind about things. But sometimes, a change in position is so starkly craven, so basely political that it deserves to be labelled a flip-flop. And here, friends, is one of them:

Sen. Jim Talent attempted an election-year pirouette Friday on stem-cell research, an issue that has split the Missouri Republican Party.

Talent withdrew his four-year support of federal legislation that would ban human cloning, including what opponents call embryonic therapeutic cloning that most researchers see as key to early stem-cell study. Talent’s pro-life supporters adamantly oppose the technique.

I've written about this issue before, mainly in the context of a pro-stem cell MO ballot measure - one which Talent's opponent, Claire McCaskill, supports, and which he has refused to give a firm answer on. Talent still won't say whether he supports or opposes the initiative, but his flip-flop on Sen. Sam Brownback's anti-stem cell legislation is already causing plenty of ire:

The pro-life movement also is confused by Talent’s rationale for pulling his support for Brownback’s bill.

Talent said he was concerned that the bill’s wording would inadvertently ban altered nuclear transfer research that did not involve the cloning of human embryos.

Nonsense, said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose group helped Brownback write the bill.

“This doesn’t make any sense to us,” Doerflinger said. “The Brownback bill … clearly allows research other than cloning human embryos. … I think this man is very confused.”


“There’s been a lot of support for Jim Talent from the pro-life community,” said Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference. “Today he stepped off that platform. At this point, it’s essentially vacant with respect to the U.S. Senate election. His candidacy gave pro-life voters something they could gravitate towards. Unfortunately, it’s just not there any more.”

The business community is also pissed at Talent, for precisely the opposite reasons - his wishy-washiness is hurting the prospects of the state's bio-industries. That's a pretty rare feat for a Republican to be able to pull off: Piss off the conservative religious base AND the Chamber of Commerce in one fell swoop. I think this issue is going to keep hurting him all election-season long, especially as moneyed interests visibly crank up their support for the ballot initiative.

Posted at 02:40 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Technorati

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This is clearly a weg issue for us. The Repubs are clearly so far out of step on this issue it isn't even funny. I have a father with Parkison's Disease and I am a huge supporter of stem cell research. Think about how many people have immediate or close relatives with chronic diseases, cancer, etc who could be helped by the outcomes of stem cell research. We should be putting the Missouri types of initiatives on ballots all over place just like the Repubs put anti-gay marriage initiatives on the ballot. I think stem cell research hits a lot closer to home for most people than gay marriage.

Posted by: John Mills [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 11:24 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I forgot to add that Corzine used this issue very effectively. He had a TV ad with a man paralyzed in a wheel chair chastizing Doug Forrester for opposing stem cell research. It was truly devistating.

Posted by: John Mills [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 11:27 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Agreed 1000%, John.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 08:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment