Back in June, when John McCain met with right-wing activists in Ohio, McCain was told in no uncertain terms that “he needs to talk about marriage” and just one day later he publicly came out in support of the California Marriage Amendment.
Since that meeting, Ohio Religious Right icon Phil Burress has become a vocal supporter of McCain and been working hard to win over other right-wing activists to the cause. Now, Burress is speculating that, thanks to their pressure and McCain’s need to pander, they just might have some success in getting him to change his position on his support for stem-cell research:
Others, though, see reasons for hope, both that Mr. McCain will draw contrasts on the issues on which he sides with conservatives and that he might end up changing his mind on stem cell research. The feeling stems in part from a meeting social conservative leaders in Ohio held with Mr. McCain late last month, when Dr. Jack Wilke, a pro-life movement leader, made a case for him to change his position on federal research funding.
Dr. Wilke argued that embryonic stem cell research is a false hope and that money is better spent on other areas that are less morally contentious.
“[McCain] took extensive notes; he listened intently to what [Dr. Wilke] was saying; and when he was done, he didn’t hesitate to ask for all the research,” said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio-based group. “It was only a month ago he got all this information. I didn’t expect him to change his mind overnight. My gut feeling, and this is strictly an opinion, is he has all the reasons to reverse himself.”
Mr. Burress said the politics of the situation might make it impossible for Mr. McCain to reverse himself during the campaign – “the left and the left media will immediately pounce on him as pandering to the right and flip-flopping” – but he said once in office he thinks the research showing research options other than embryonic stem cells will be convincing to Mr. McCain.
Does Burress really think that McCain is reluctant to “reverse himself” during the campaign because “the left” will pounce on him? That would be odd. By one count, he has already done so on more than seventy other issues.