Sunday Thoughts

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Of Parties

A great many people have been talking about how Reagan made the Republican party what it is today, and I believe that is true. He was the right man at the right time, when the party -- and America itself -- were at very low points.

But it got me thinking, what if Reagan had not won in 1980? What if the Democrats, in the wake of Watergate, had nominated someone like Bill Clinton to be their nominee? Someone who was a strong, charismatic, popular leader? (For the sake of discussion, I'll pretend Clinton was an option.)

Regardless of what else was going on in the late 70s, Clinton would have been a force to be reckoned with, and very likely could have won reelection where Carter could not. And Reagan, having lost the nomination in 1976, and losing to Clinton in 1980, never would have run again, being far too old to run for a first term.

It's not difficult to see how this scenario could have translated into another several-decades long run of Democrat dominance of the federal government. And frankly, it makes me wonder if maybe more of the credit for the Republican revolution in 1994 -- where the Republicans have now held both houses for 10 years running, excepting the Senate from 2001-2002 -- goes not to what Reagan started in 1980, but what the Democrats failed to pull off in 1976, by nominating a nice guy from Georgia instead of a political whirlwind from Arkansas.

What's this got to do with anything? I don't know, but 2004 feels a lot like 1976/1980 to me, with the party roles reversed. The Republicans are the ones with the upper hand, with a chance to really drive a stake through the heart of the Democrats with a big victory. The Democrats, on the other hand, have the opportunity to begin what could be a major resurgence of the party, should Kerry win and become a successful and popular President. And even if Kerry does win, if he can't establish a Democratic presence in his four years, it might push the Democrats deeper than if he hadn't run at all.

Stem Cells

There's been a lot of talk this week about Nancy Reagan and her propositions regarding stem cell research. It's clear that many conservatives will stand against her, because they -- in my opinion, quite rightly -- see no significant distinction between abortion, and the growing of human cells for medical research.

Michael J. Fox's pleas in this realm fall on logical ears, and progress no further. We should allow what we find abominable because it might help others? Because other countries will allow it anyway? It doesn't change the fact that we find it abominable. His argument is a textbook "ends justifying the means": the means do not matter, because the ends are so worthwhile.

There's no reason to be found in his argument. It's one thing to argue that stem cell research doesn't harm human beings; this is where the real debate lies. But he avoids this debate, instead choosing to chastise anyone who would dwell on such a question. He therefore has nothing to say to the people who disagree with him.

I've not heard too much of what Mrs. Reagan has to say on the issue, but what I have heard, to me, seems along the same lines. I don't know if she plans on bringing this up before the election on any significant scale, but if she does, she has no hope of winning the battle in the Republican party, any more than anyone would have a chance of changing the party's mind on abortion.

Moving On

It's an odd week where two so well-known and widely beloved people die. I wonder if the occasion generates especial introspection because of the disabilities of each. Ronald now remembers, and Ray now sees.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on June 14, 2004 12:10 AM.

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