Sunday, July 31, 2005

Senator Frist: Principled or Pragmatic?

Thanks to Al Mohler for drawing attention to Frist's flip-flop on embryonic stem-cell research, thereby saving me the work I had planned to do.

What Frist knows that most Americans don't is that stem cells from adults and umbilical cord blood have demonstrated far more therapeutic promise to date than embryonic stem cells. It will be easy for many conservatives to interpret this switch as a Machiavellian strategy to appeal to more voters in the 2008 presidential election. But if Frist had any hopes of reaching into the religious conservative base of Republical primary voters, he can kiss those hopes goodbye. Religious conservatives might tolerate a candidate who is not as rigid as they are on this issue, but they won't tolerate a candidate they can't trust. They certainly won't trust Frist now.

Look for Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas to emerge as the religious conservatives' candidate of choice. If Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania wins his 2006 re-election bid (he's down in the polls right now to a Democrat considered by many to be pro-life), he could quickly become an attractive option, especially if he wins by a stronger-than-expected margin.

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