February 28, 2005


The hinge of history (Robert Novak, February 28, 2005, Townhall)

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's stand against embryonic stem cell research not only changes the long-range picture for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. It augments a shift in tactics by social conservatives. They are trying to change the focus from research for fighting disease to an uncontrolled scientific community's quest to clone human beings.

Romney's position previously had been considered mildly pro-stem cell. His wife, Ann, suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease for which cloning is supposed to promise miraculous cures. But early in February, the governor flatly came out against Harvard University's plans to create human embryos, purportedly for research. He said last Monday that he and his wife "agree that you don't create new life to help cure our issues."

That statement was made by the Massachusetts governor in Spartanburg, S.C., where he was testing early presidential waters. Romney is moving rightward on social policy, declaring himself "pro-life." But to depict what he is saying in strictly political terms is to trivialize an issue of overriding ethical importance. "We stand at the hinge of history," an anti-cloning activist who is a former official at the United Nations, told me.

The historic decision is not, as cloning proponents claim, whether to spend public funds on research to combat a wide variety of illnesses. The broader decision whether to grant science unlimited power is symbolized by the bill pending in Massachusetts to legalize the creation of human embryos. Romney has declared he will veto the bill, bringing upon himself the full wrath of the liberal establishment from Harvard to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

One of the most predictable political dramas of the next three years is Rudy Giuliani's come-to-Jesus moment, when he reveals that his brush with death and ruined marriage have caused him to renew his faith and to realize the value of traditional morality, not least the sanctity of life. He'll oppose embryonic stem cell and abortion for anything but life of the mother.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2005 3:58 PM

I think both of these candidates can retain the Red States against presumably Hillary Clinton. I guess the Blue States are the real key and hopefully they can change things enough so that I won't have to stay up past Midnight on election night.

Posted by: h-man at February 28, 2005 5:05 PM

h-man -

Wouldn't electoral politics be easy if any Republican could be assured of winning just California? Forget midnight. They could even schedule first-run TV shows that evening.

Posted by: Moe from NC at February 28, 2005 5:30 PM
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