Political Values And Stem Cells

KEY WEST, July 5 - Dave Price poses with two of Key West's finest including Kurt Stephens, center, winner of this year's first "Great American Vacation" getaway contest.
Dotty Lynch is the Senior Political Editor for CBS News. E-mail your questions and comments to Political Points

Question: What do the Democrats want that the Republicans may have too many of?

Answer: Values.

The question of how to talk about values has bedeviled the Democrats for years. Since the 2004 election, a consensus has developed among Democratic strategists that they need to do something about this. The problem is which values to pick and how to let people know they have them.

On the other hand, the Republicans may be suffering from an embarrassment of riches. They are now caught in a clash of values on stem cell research. The president and Tom DeLay are clear about where they stand on federal funding for new embryonic stem cell lines and why. Their position comes directly from religious values.

"I've made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life -- I'm against that. And therefore if the bill does that, I will veto it," President Bush said Friday.

Mr. Bush and DeLay stand with the U.S. Conference of Bishops, which has written to members of the House urging them to vote against the Castle-DeGette bill when it comes up next week, calling it "destructive and morally offensive."

However, many Republicans favor expanding stem cell research. Why? Because their values dictate that scientific research to cure disease and extend lives of people is a good thing. There are 25 Republican co-sponsors on this bill and prominent Republican Senators like Orrin Hatch, Arlen Specter and former first lady Nancy Reagan have clearly spelled out their values, which mean more research.

The ad being run by the Republican Main Street Partnership, which is supporting the bill, is emotional and value laden. It features a 2-year-old boy afflicted with a debilitating disease which might be cured my stem cell research. "We have a moral obligation to look for ways to cure diseases like SMA" his father says.

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.