At first blush, I think the Michael J. Fox ads on stem cell research scare people on the right. Here we have an actor who is very well liked and sympathetic in his plight making a call for political help.
Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure this is going to end up helping the GOP quite a bit. Two related reasons:
1. The Democrats have so far succeeded by existing almost entirely as a protest to the Iraq war which has been costly and semi- (dare I say it?) quagmire-ish. Putting the stem cell issue out on the table is a stupid diversion from a good strategy. Instead of “We’re not Bush,” they are now saying, “And we want to start pushing the envelope on bio-ethical issues just like we have been on questions of sex.”
It’s a big reminder of the life issue and whether you believe it or not, that one is becoming a big loser for the left. Pro-life will eventually be what anti-racism became.
2. By focusing attention on stem-cells, the Democrats re-emphasize to evangelicals and Catholics that they’d better not stay at home because of things like Supreme Court appointments. Instead of wondering whether they might send a message to Bush about inadequate attention paid to faith-based initiatives or uneasiness about spending, they are once again focused like a laser on the need to keep pushing against Roe and its progeny.
The Democrats have possibly already blown it in Missouri with this tactic and they may manage to up-end other apparent red-state gains in the process.