Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stem cell issue a winner for Doyle

One of many issues sharply separating Jim Doyle from Mark Green is stem cell research. It's what people in politics call a wedge issue -- one which can win over independents and even pry away some Republican votes, because every poll shows that even traditional GOP voters support it.

But Republican officeholders like Green, who march to the tune of Wisconsin Right-to-Life, oppose embryonic stem cell research. When House Republicans broke ranks and voted to expand stem cell research last year, Green voted with the extremists.

That's not a popular position anywhere, and it is even riskier in Wisconsin, which is on the cutting edge of the research, thanks to the UW's Prof. Jamie Thompson. Stem cell research offers the hope of cures for many debilitating and fatal diseases, and most people know someone who potentially could be helped by the research.

In Wisconsin, it's also an economic development issue, with the potential to attract more job-creating research. But Republicans in the legislature want to ban that research and state funding.

Those attending the international biotechnology convention, called BIO, in Chicago on Monday said Doyle was at the top of his game in two impressive speeches. WisBusiness quotes Doyle:
“When I tell leaders in the biotechnology world that I had to veto legislation to keep stem cell research going in Wisconsin, they can’t believe anyone would want to do away with what we have accomplished,” he said.

“But I refuse to let politics trump science,” he said. “Especially when it holds so much potential to so much good.”
This isn't just a political position, tailored by Doyle to take advantage of the opportunity. He is a passionate believer in the potential of stem cell research. If it becomes one of the defining issues in a tight reelection campaign, that's a bonus -- and one he'll gladly accept.


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