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- BOOK REVIEW: “Get Out Of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl To The Mall?: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager”
- Remembering Gary Condit by Gregory Hilton
- How Has The United States Senate Changed Since the 19th Century by Gregory Hilton
- The Timeless Message of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" by Gregory Hilton
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Category Archives: Missouri
Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading
The Next RNC Chairman
Members of the Republican National Committee face a difficult decision in January when Chairman Michael Steele’s term expires. Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis was defeated by Steele last time, but is now the first candidate to challenge his renomination. He is expected to have the support of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and his letter to RNC members was posted today: Continue reading
Democratic Senate Candidates Finally Come Out Swinging – At Obama!: The Message from Missouri by Gregory Hilton
Another ominous sign for Democrats is that some of their most prominent Senate candidates are now turning sharply against the Obama Administration. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is trailing in the polls by 23% and is now shifting rapidly to the right. She has joined Republican effort to stop funding for terror trials in the United States, and back home she is emphasizing her independence from the White House.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has also seen his popularity ratings plummet, and has responded by denouncing his party’s liberal wing. Bayh says “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Democratic party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country, that’s not going to work too well.”
These Senators are being joined by other Democratic lawmakers who are trying to rehabilitate themselves by ignoring their voting records. They are now castigating proposals they previously advocated.
Missouri’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate was a solid Obama booster in 2008. For the past year she has been silent on the issues but has now decided to come out swinging. The surprise is that her rhetoric is not aimed at Republicans but at the Obama Administration.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) is opposing GOP Rep. Roy Blunt in the race to replace retiring Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO). Carnahan is no longer an Obama cheerleader and now says she is “disappointed” with the President’s budget. She blames the White House because “there hasn’t been anything that’s been done since the financial crisis to prevent the exact same thing from happening. I think that’s a failure.”
Carnahan says “Budgets are about setting priorities and it’s time Washington started making fiscal discipline and tackling the long-term budget deficit higher priorities.” She is asking why the administration can not get the “long term deficit under control,” and “Missouri families have to balance their checkbooks and our government should be no different.”
She has suggested no budget reductions, and what she is really disappointed in is Obama’s tanking poll numbers among Missouri independents. Carnahan is currently trailing Congressman Blunt, the former House Republican Whip, by a 49 to 43 percent margin, but this race will be a toss-up throughout the year. Missouri is seen as a bellwether state because it has voted for the winning Presidential candidate in all but two presidential elections since 1904. In 2008 it voted for McCain.
CARNAHAN NEEDS TO START ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Robin Carnahan announced her Senate candidacy on February 3, 2009, and for the next 10 months her campaign website avoided any discussion of issues, and it still provides little information. Her favorite topic is her new calf, Moxie, and Carnahan appears to be the most unimpressive Senate candidate the Democrats are nominating this year.
The GOP welcomed her recent opposition to the Obama budget but wondered why she remained silent for so long. Carnahan’s anti-Bush message was loud and strong in 2008, but now she has seen what has happened in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. Carnahan knows the voting record of Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) came back to haunt her, so her strategy is say little and to claim she wants bipartisan solutions. Carnahan and Lincoln have formed a joint Missouri Arkansas Victory Fund to raise campaign cash.
Carnahan is starting to meet with newspaper editorial boards but still refuses to give direct answers. For example, she will not take a position on cap-and-trade and instead says “a squabble in Washington makes me crazy.”
The Secretary of State will not say she is for gay civil unions, but only that it is something the state “should consider.” In 2004, Missouri passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. When KMOX asked to be more specific about her position on gay marriage she replied “This election is about getting more jobs,” and refused to make an additional comment.
Carnahan denounces the spending of $1.2 billion every day on imported oil but ignores the fact that it was her party which stopped the development of nuclear power for 35 years and always shot down attempts to drill for oil and gas off shore.
She says health care “doesn’t need to be a big partisan fight,” but then offers no recommendations.
Rep. Blunt is chairman of the G.O.P. Health Care Solutions Group, and a leading opponent of the public option. He has been very specific in describing alternative solutions for health care, while Carnahan meekly says “we have to avoid partisanship.”
Alvin Reid of the St. Louis Globe Democrat noted her recent budget remarks began with the words “From where I stand.” Reid says “From where she stands? Where does she really stand on many, many issues? You might not agree with Republican Blunt, but at least you know what he believes in and where he is coming from. She ripped into Obama’s budget, but didn’t offer any alternatives.”
REPEATING THE 2006 McCASKILL STRATEGY
Carnahan has no voting record and wants to portray herself as a moderate. Her goal is to repeat the successful 2006 strategy of then State Auditor Claire McCaskill which resulted in the defeat of Sen. Jim Talent (R). McCaskill campaigned as a moderate and she captured the suburban independent vote in both St. Louis and Kansas City.
McCaskill benefitted from anti-war sentiments, GOP scandals, as well as opposition to Bush’s plan to privatize social security. There was strong Democratic enthusiasm which resulted in impressive turnouts in the two major cities. Surveys demonstrate that many voters turned out to oppose Bush rather than to support McCaskill. The huge Democratic enthusiasm of 2006 has not yet emerged in 2010.
McCaskill endorsed Obama in January of 2008 and was one of the first Senators to do so. She claims to be a Senate moderate and consistently emphasizes her opposition to earmarks. What McCaskill fails to explain is why she votes for every bill that is loaded with earmarks. Carnahan has also promised to take an anti-earmark stand.
THE POLITICAL DYNASTIES
Carnahan’s father Mel was Governor of Missouri from 1992 until his death in an airplane crash three weeks prior to the 2000 election. Her mother, Jean Carnahan, was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat Gov. Carnahan won posthumously by defeating Sen. John Ashcroft (R). She served for two years and was defeated in 2002 by then Rep. Jim Talent (R) when she sought a full term. Her vote against Ashcroft’s nomination to serve as Attorney General was not popular.
Robin Carnahan’s grandfather also served in Congress, and her brother Russ is now a Member of Congress. Blunt served as Missouri’s Secretary of State from 1984-1992, and was defeated in two statewide elections. His son Matt was Governor from 2004 to 2008.
Back to the Future: Michael J. Fox, Liberal Democrats and the Great Stem Cell Battle by Gregory Hilton
Many people are doubtful of claims now being made by liberal Democrats regarding global warming, health care and reducing the budget deficit. They are skeptical because we have been down this path before.
The utopian rhetoric of the Democratic Party’s left wing has not been based on facts, and it often results in real harm to taxpayers. For example, there has been tremendous hype concerning global warming and this was especially true in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
It has now been documented that many of Gore’s claims were grossly exaggerated. The movie graphics show cities being flooded and sea levels rising by 20 feet, while the UN IPCC was predicting a modest rise of 8 inches over 100 years, and even that is doubtful.
Another issue tremendously hyped by liberals concerns federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR). As usual, the debate has been about politics and has little to do with science. President Obama signed an executive order last March reversing the Bush administrations ban on research related to embryonic stem cells.
In August of 2001, President George W. Bush barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond the 60 cell lines which existed at that time. Bush was advised to do this because embryonic stem cells are known to cause cancer and brain tumors, and they require the permanent use of dangerous immunosuppressive drugs. Their genetic programming does not work in adults.
Nine years have passed so this is an excellent time to review the track record. Actually, if you count research using animal embryos, the data goes back to 1981. To date, no one has been successfully treated because of embryonic-stem-cell research.
The claims made about the potential immediate benefits of ESC were described as fairy tales by many prominent scientists and researchers, but they were an excellent political issue which helped Democrats capture the center in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The left wing started to focus on ESCR after a 2004 Mark Mellman poll for the Democratic National Committee demonstrated that 70% of the American people supported increased funding for stem cell research.
The Democrats made science a political issue and it was at the forefront of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) 2004 challenge to Bush’s re-election. The leading spokesman for the Democrats was the actor Michael J. Fox, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He frequently implied that there would be immediate progress if federal funding was obtained.
Fox is best known for the “Family Ties” and “Spin City” television series, and the “Back to the Future” movies. He was a star at many events for liberal candidates in 2004 and that year’s Democratic convention was addressed by Ronald Reagan, Jr., the son of the then recently deceased GOP President. He was given a prime time speaking slot.
The young Reagan said Republicans were cruel to deny sick people treatments because of “theological objections.” He said this “may be the greatest medical breakthrough in our or any lifetime – the use of embryonic stem cells.” These cells could “cure a wide range of fatal and debilitating illnesses: Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lymphoma, spinal cord injuries, and much more.”
Rep. James R. Langevin (D-RI) introduced Reagan by saying taxpayer subsidies for ESCR would make him walk again. Langevin has been paralyzed from the waist down since the age of 16 when he was seriously injured in an accidental shooting.
Then Senator John Edwards (D-NC), the 2004 vice presidential nominee, said on October 11th of that year: “If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk — get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”
Senator Kerry said President Bush “turned his back on science” at a time when “millions of lives” are stake. A national Kerry TV ad stated: “It’s time to lift the political barriers blocking the stem cell research that could treat or cure diseases like Parkinson’s.” The Bay State Senator said “We stand at the next frontier, but instead of leading the way, we’re stuck on the sidelines. The majority of the American people support stem cell research, and it’s high time we had a president of the United States who does, too. We can’t afford any more stubborn refusal to face the facts.”
Once again, Michael J. Fox was always in the spotlight. He made numerous campaign appearances and was featured in TV ads for successful Senate candidates Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A typical Michael Fox TV ad is below:
FOX: As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Maryland, you can elect Ben Cardin, who shares my hope for cures. Stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But George Bush and Michael Steele would put limits on the most promising stem cell research. They say all politics is local, but that’s not always the case. What you do in Maryland matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.
CARDIN: I’m Ben Cardin, and I approve this message.”
Republican candidates were never against stem cell research. The first break through happened in 1957, and the first president to fund this research was George W. Bush. You would never know that if you listened to the 2004 and 2006 TV ads. The GOP fully supported funding for adult stem cell and cord blood research, but they wanted embryonic stem cell support to be within moral and ethical limits.
Embryonic stem cell researcher Ron McKay of the National Institutes of Health said the idea that stem cells would offer hope for Alzheimer’s patients was a “fairy tale.” Dr. Mehmet Oz appeared with Fox on the Oprah Winfrey show and demonstrated why ESCR would not be useful for Parkinson’s patients.
John Kerry lost the 2004 election but the ESCR campaign culminated in passage of California’s Proposition 71. This allowed the state to borrow $3 billion for ESCR. A California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was established, and now after five years of research there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. They were established to focus 100% of their work on ESCR, but now this has been largely abandoned.
Other ESCR advocates are at last embracing research on adult stem cells which they once opposed. As I indicated, ESCR has been a highly effective issue for Democrats. Survey research indicates that similar to global warming, ESCR helped them attract significant support from independent voters, and they successfully portrayed Republican candidates as insensitive and uncaring.
The Bush Administration maintained that ESC were not a productive area of research because their nature is to reproduce rapidly to form a whole new human being. Even if they did cure a disease, the person would still have to worry about lethal side effects. There were also moral concerns because many people saw the destruction of an embryo as the ending of a human life.
Bush spoke of religious groups who were opposed to ESCR because it involved the destruction of human embryos, which they claim have a right to life. The Catholic Church vigorously opposes ESCR and Pope Benedict XVI said the destruction of human embryos to harvest stem cells is “not only devoid of the light of God but is also devoid of humanity” and “does not truly serve humanity.”
Researchers were later able to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells which ended the moral concerns. There is no longer any need for a program that focuses only on embryonic stem cells, which is what the liberals were seeking.
Furthermore, the Bush restrictions were only on federal funding of stem cell lines which required the sacrifice of new embryos. Private and state funding was allowed, and considerable research has taken place overseas. The claim that research on new embryos was the most promising has never been supported by evidence.
Republicans tend to be pro-life, and that is why they favor stem cell research. They believe in saving human life, and they want cures to be found. That is why the Bush Administration provided funding for adult stem cell research which did not involve the moral concerns of working with embryos.
The focal point for the Bush administration was adult stem cells which have been successfully used since 1957, and they have cured some cancers. They are now being used to treat 83 different diseases.
They have been used to rebuild livers damaged by otherwise irreversible cirrhosis. Adult stem cells from nasal passages have been used to repair spinal cord injuries, and Type 1 diabetes in mice has been treated by using adult spleen cells. They have also put Crohn’s disease into remission and they have repaired heart attack damage.
The Bush Administration emphasized that it was best to concentrate on adult stem cells because they had a track record of not being rejected by a patients body while ESC often cause rejection and multiply uncontrollably similar to a cancer.
The hype of the past campaigns has now died down. The groups which once fought only for ESCR have now shifted to adult stem cells where there is universal agreement on their value. Unlike the past, science will hopefully not be a political issue in the 2010 campaign.