Stem cell politics


This week, a federal judge ordered a stop to embryonic stem cell research undertaken under a 2009 executive order signed by President Obama, to much fanfare and with broad-based Jewish support. The judge said the order violated a congressionally-mandated ban on such research.

Democrats, embattled ahead of November, are planning on taking this one to the bank. A typical Google search uncovers a slew of Dems challenging their opponents to support a law that would effectively render the earlier law moot. Jewish groups — the first statement I saw was from NCJW — are backing the proposed new law with renewed intensity in wake of the ruling. Stem cell research, I’ve found, may be the single domestic issue that has wall-to-wall Jewish support.

Republicans are saying it will backfire — here’s former congressman Tom Davis and Kevin Madden, a party strategist, telling UPI that voters will see the issue as an attempt to distract attention from the economy. Such research has popular support, but Christian conservatives, who believe it crosses line having to do with life’s origins, have for the most part been successful in keeping Republicans in line.

For the most part. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is vying for the open U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, has trended moderate on social issues — that and his out-front pro-Israel posture earned him cred in his suburban Chicago district, which has a substantial Jewish population.

As soon as the judge delivered his decision, his campaign e-blasted this statement:

I am a strong supporter of stem cell research and supported the President’s executive order. I disagree with today’s court decision and hope the Department of Justice will appeal it immediately. In the meantime, I urge Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to send the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act to the President’s desk when the Congress returns from recess.

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