It’s such a treat to watch Republicans form a circular firing squad instead of wincing as we do it. They’re currently cocking their pistols over stem cell research.

Jo Mannies reported last week that Matt Blunt, who had received a bundle of boodle from a pro-stem cell PAC in Kirwood, had been forced, because of the resurrected limits ($1350), to return most of it. The PAC, Supporters of Health Research and Treatments, had given him a quarter of million dollars, as a reward for his pro-stem cell stance in ’06.

So when Blunt sent the PAC a check for everything over the limit–basically all of it–they, in turn, sent the Republican Governor’s Association a check for $250,000. You know: if they couldn’t reward him one way, they’d do it another. They knew full well that the RGA would send that money right back to Blunt’s campaign.  

But oops. Blunt withdrew from the race. And lo, the two gubernatorial candidates–Hulshof and Steelman–are anti-stem cell research. Those people in Kirkwood had to be thinking, what a bite. We shell out a quarter mill and it’ll be given to our opponents?

Not to worry, though, because the anti-stem cell people are throwing a fit at the notion of Hulshof or Steelman taking money from those people.  Fired Up! reports that the “anti-cures, anti-hope, anti-research community” considers any money the RGA might give their candidates “tainted” because of those pro-stem cell PAC contributions.

So whoever wins the GOP nomination for governor will be faced with a difficult choice.  Hulshof or Steelman will have to decide whether to accept funding from the RGA –a critical source of campaign cash and independent expenditure support– and face losing the support of thousands of anti-progress partisans from the Republican base, or to honor the wishes of research opponents and forgo hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and expenditures from a key Party organization.

[Insert smug grin here.]

But the grin turns grim when I remember that the a-single-cell-is-worth-the-lives-of-thousands-if-I-say-it-is fanatics are collecting signatures for a constitutional amendment “limiting stem cell research.” “Limiting” they call it. “Limiting”, huh. The petition ought to read “reversing the stem cell research amendment that we couldn’t stop two years ago.” They want to call creating stem cells “cloning” and then ban cloning.

I wish those inflexible, judgmental, I-won’t-give-up-until-everybody-does-it-MY-way ideologues much joy of their high flown principles. Not only do I hope they fail in their sneaky, sore loser quest to undo the amendment allowing stem cell research, I also hope their stubborn refusal to allow Hulshof or Steelman to take “tainted” funds sinks the Republican nominee next fall.