Friday, July 29, 2005

Stem Cell Divide

The Moose applauds Dr. Frist for finally opting for medicine over politics.

After a few years of pandering to the religious right, Dr. Frist finally put healing first. If the video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo was Frist's low point, his decision to support the legislation that expands financing for stem cell research is his moment of attempted redemption.

Frist's move is a significant blow to the religious right. Frist is no rank and file Republican defying the dictates of Dobson, but rather the Senate leader with Presidential ambitions. Frist's apostasy on stem cells could presage a real donnybrook within the GOP in '08.

Dr. Frist's ascension to the Senate leadership was largely a creation of Karl Rove. Frist's breaking ranks could mean that the Rovian theory of base politics is weakening. Indeed, Rove's influence may be waning among Capitol Hill Republicans. Unless the legislation is modified before it reaches the White House, W. must veto the bill or earn the wrath of the religious right.

While Democrats have their internal differences, the stem cell issue is a reminder that the GOP internecine disputes could be of far greater significance. One should not over-interpret Frist's break with the religious right, but it could be a moment when their influence is significantly challenged. The Republicans are still paying the price for over-reach during the Schiavo episode.

The Moose delights in Republican division!

NOTE - The Moose will be on the loose until mid-August. But Mooseketeers should not fear! In the Moose's absence, there will be postings by his loyal minions - the Mooselings. And occasionally the Moose himself might check in.
-- Posted at 8:54 AM | Link to this post | Email this post