Mourning over Sen. Talent, cloners’ newest ally
February 21, 2006
It is not unusual for elected officials to throw themselves over a political cliff. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did just that at the dawn of World War II with his policy of appeasement in the face of Nazi aggression, paving the way for the rise of a once ridiculed conservative named Winston Churchill. More recently former President George Bush reneged on his promise of no new taxes and the result was his demise and the start of the Clintonian era.
Missouri Democrats have acted this way for years with their unquenchable thirst for higher taxes and an affinity for pagan ideas like abortion on demand, homosexual marriage and cloning. The result is a Republican-controlled General Assembly and a Republican governor. Certainly Democrats have not “cornered the market” on such suicidal behavior as Bush demonstrated to Clinton’s benefit in 1992. Which brings me to U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, the highly regarded Missouri Republican considered by many a rising star among conservatives.
A devout Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church of America to be exact), Talent has been a champion in the pro-life movement and a voice of reason in a city (Washington, D.C.) that has more than its share of unreasonable people. This has endeared him to conservatives and particularly Christians, many of whom can be counted among Missouri’s largest evangelical denomination – the Missouri Baptist Convention. So it was with considerable dismay and fire-spittin’ disbelief that Missouri Southern Baptists recently witnessed one of their champions, the man they supported instead of Jean Carnahan in 2000, go to the floor of the U.S. Senate and withdraw his support of a bill banning cloning – a bill he co-authored with Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
It would be easy for me to do what other conservatives (like columnist Robert Novak and the writers at National Review ) have already done – unleash an avalanche of deserved criticism on Talent. But the fact remains that Talent has changed his mind and given the intoxicating need for campaign funds – and with him facing a bruising re-election bid in the fall – it is unlikely his new view will change. Given this dismal prospect, perhaps the most important question for Missouri Southern Baptists – and all pro-lifers – to answer is this: What should be done about it?
Pro-lifers (which Talent can no longer be counted among; he may be anti-abortion, but he’s no longer pro-life), aside from praying that he will change his mind again (let us not underestimate the power of prayer), have three courses of action come the fall elections: (1) Support Talent anyway, (2) vote for pro-abortion, pro-cloning Claire McCaskill, (3) skip the Talent-McCaskill race and move on to other races on the ballot.
Talent barely won election in 2000 and a recent Rasmussen poll has him leading 46-41 percent. Earlier polls had it closer. Such results are hardly comforting for the Talent camp. It should be understood by the senator that his razor-thin margin of victory against Carnahan can be traced to motivated evangelicals who agreed with Talent’s views on traditional marriage and sanctity of life issues. Now Talent is apparently selling-out, calculating that he can campaign for dollars rather than stand firm in the face of evil. Money has trumped principle. Talent’s political advisors have probably read too many Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorials and listened to too many whispers from the washed-up Rockefeller wing of Talent’s party. As a result, it seems as if Talent has forgotten what it means to be a conservative. Consequently, I feel like I’ve just witnessed a dear friend’s political funeral. I would mourn, but there is little time for grieving when cloned humans and body parts may soon become Missouri’s newest cash crop.
Talent, as Novak has pointed out, has chosen Republican money while jeopardizing much-needed support from a vast Christian constituency that is capable of flexing its grassroots muscle like few can. Somebody with some sense needs to tell Talent that money does not always translate into votes. His flip-floppy behavior has created skepticism among legions of voters he needs in order to win re-election.
Talent obviously thinks I am wrong, that he can win with clone-to-kill money supplied by the likes of the Stowers Institute in Kansas City and business people like Sam Fox of St. Louis who has given untold dollars to Republican candidates. But there is one thing Stowers and Fox may discover that is considerably more difficult to accomplish than stuffing Jim Talent in their hip pockets – make the children of a holy God vote like pagans.
Missouri’s citizens ought to be concerned about the enormous financial resources of the clone-to-kill movement in their state. Stowers, Fox, the Danforth clan and others are behind the drive to get the necessary signatures so that an amendment providing constitutional protection for cloning (embryonic stem cell research) can appear on the fall ballot. Voters must stop this attempt by the cloning lobby eager to dip their hands into taxpayers’ piggy banks.
There are virtually no private companies willing to invest in cloning (embryonic stem cell) research. These companies acknowledge that such research is unethical and has yet to provide a cure for one single disease – unlike adult stem cells which have provided cures for dozens of maladies. In addition, adult stem cells do not require the destruction of the embryo (life). No wonder private dollars are being poured into adult stem cell research. Yet Stowers, Fox, and the rest of the pro-cloning lobby want taxpayers to fund their wildly speculative and intrinsically evil activity. Will Missourians allow such hubris to go unchecked?
So this is where Talent, preceded by Gov. Matt Blunt, has cast his lot. Money talks in politics. Of course the Apostle Paul warned Timothy about the love of money.
Last year Republicans masterfully used the homosexual marriage amendment as a wedge issue against Democrats. I fear Republicans have handed Democrats a similar weapon with the cloning issue. Talent’s decision could even cost fellow Republicans at the ballot box this fall if demoralized conservatives are “no-shows” at the polls. Why can’t Missourians see the unbridled greed and selfishness of the clone-to-kill lobby? They are willing to flick the switch that will cause the Republican Party in Missouri to implode – and for what? So they can conduct their weird science at taxpayers’ expense.
The Talent fiasco reminds me of what a friendly wag opined recently while referring to our nation’s two-party system: one is evil, the other is stupid. Given that discouraging outlook, Missouri Southern Baptists must continue to be “the salt of the earth” and hold our elected officials accountable before a holy God – even if it means short-term setbacks at the ballot box so that similar mistakes, like the one being made by Talent, are not repeated. These are challenging days and never have our public officials so desperately needed to hear someone proclaim: “Thus saith the Lord.”