Delaware GOP rumblings

Ken Blackwell Former Ohio Secretary of State
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During post-election analysis, Republican luminaries stumbled badly in discussing Christine O’Donnell on the night of the Delaware senatorial primary.

But Delaware Republicans had just voted. They had given their support—rather convincingly—to the clearly more conservative O’Donnell in a hotly contested primary election. Where was the unity that night?

Her opponent, Mike Castle, is surely a prominent Delaware Republican. A veteran of the Governor’s Mansion and the holder of the state’s only seat in Congress, Castle should have won in a walk. But restive conservatives rebelled.

Pro-lifer O’Donnell stressed her economic differences with liberal Republican Castle. But it should not go without mention that Castle was the co-author of the Castle-DeGette bill. Under this measure, Americans would be taxed to create embryonic human beings. Taxpayers would then have to fund experiments upon those embryonic human beings, including cloning humans. Finally, the taxpayers would have to pay for the killing of these cloned humans and other embryonic human lives.

This is a nightmare scenario for pro-life Americans. Delaware is famous for its giant chemical company corporate headquarters. Do we really want to see one of the most important industries in the world given over to the creation of human beings and their destruction? Do we want to see human lives treated as no more than another commercial commodity?

Congressman Castle sincerely believes that cloning humans holds real promise for curing a host of human ills. For this promise, he is willing to cast aside moral and ethical constraints. Even Bill Clinton’s bioethical panelists recoiled at the idea of cloning human beings to kill them.

Consider how illogical Mr. Castle’s position is. If stem cells scavenged from embryonic human beings or from cloned humans really did promise cure-alls, wouldn’t those same Delaware corporations be elbowing each other in a profit-seeking race to become the discoverer, patent holder, and marketer of the golden pill?

The fact is that stem cells scavenged from embryonic humans have not yielded a single viable treatment or cure. This, despite the fact that there has never been a legal ban on killing these human beings for their stem cells.

All that President Bush said on August 9, 2001, was that the federal government would not pay for killing these embryonic humans. Bush in no way limited private corporations from killing.

The most promising treatments have come from ethical research using adult stem cells. Many people are confused by terminology here. Adult stem cells don’t have to come from adult people. They can be found even in umbilical cords of newborn children. Even the mothers’ placentas are rich sources of adult stem cells. We see daily breakthroughs coming from adult stem cell research. Many of the headline grabbers speak of stem cells being used for this or that promising treatment—even as they fail to note that the stem cells used were adult.

The Republican Party has billed itself as the pro-life alternative to a militantly pro-abortion Democratic Party since 1976. Since 1980, every Republican Platform has affirmed that “the unborn child has a right to life that cannot be infringed.” The last two Republican platforms, 2004 and 2008, have explicitly condemned cloning-to-kill, as envisioned by Castle-DeGette.

In the interests of party unity, the pro-life majority in the GOP has gone along with many a “RINO,” hoping that Republicans like Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe could at least be relied upon to stand with us against abortion funding and in favor of originalist judges. But Mike Castle went far beyond even these liberal Republicans.

Conservative Republicans are willing to work with Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Think back to the famous Gramm-Latta legislation of 1981. Conservative Democrat Phil Gramm teamed with Ohio GOPer Del Latta to give us the famous Reagan tax cuts (and, not incidentally, three decades of growth and prosperity).

Where we get into trouble is when Republicans in Congress embrace the left-most Democrats. Think of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation. That bill muzzled conservative groups like the NRA, the National Right to Life Committee, and Family Research Council. McCain-Feingold gave free rein to the New York Times, Dan Rather, and Chris Matthews. Not only was that legislation an assault on the First Amendment and largely struck down by conservative judges in the courts, but it also helped to sink John McCain’s own presidential run.

Castle-DeGette is another example of liberal legislation. Delaware Republicans signaled to the national GOP establishment that they have had enough. Those voters did not set fire to the Big Tent. But they did say that some things are simply beyond the pale of what can be accepted. To have high-profile nominees of the party embracing the left-most positions on human life is simply intolerable. President Kennedy said it well: “Sometimes party unity demands too much of us.”

Ken Blackwell is a visiting professor with Liberty University School of Law and senior fellow with the Family Research Council. He is the co-author of The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.