In an unexpected and unprecedented move, John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is expected to announce that a clone of former President Ronald Reagan will be his running mate in this November's general election. The clone, which was created using a sample of Reagan's DNA obtained from a toothbrush and an egg from an unidentified donor, is now in the ninth month of a dramatically accelerated gestation process.
One Kerry aide, speaking on background, touted the former President's potential role and bona fides. "Until 1952, Reagan was an active campaigner for Democratic candidates and was a registered Democrat until 1960. His long history as a member of the party - and the renewed interest in Mr. Reagan following his recent death - should make the former President a strong addition to the ticket."
With the Democratic National Convention scheduled for later this month in Boston Massachusetts, many are questioning the availability of the clone for events during the Convention - or even during the campaign.
Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, the director of Clonaid, a company committed to human cloning offered her thoughts on the issue. "In theory, with the proper acceleration technology, a clone could be rushed to market' so to speak," said Boisselier. "Our own experiments have demonstrated a reduction of the gestation period by up to 14 percent," she continued, "therefore, it is not inconceivable that the Democrats may be able to do what they are claiming - but the acceleration from birth to age 35 [the minimum age for a US President] between now and November presents more of a challenge."
According to documents provided to this reporter, the Democrats - working with scientists from Harvard and MIT - have developed a technique that will make the necessary maturation feasible. Professor John Frink, of the University of Springfield, upon reviewing the documents said, "The application of specific sound and light waves appear able, in theory, to cause the creation of a harmonic resonance required to invoke an early and massive release of specific growth hormones - if applied to a subject in a weightless state while being spun in a centrifuge. I smell a Nobel Prize if the Democrats are able to pull this off."
Independent polling for a potential Kerry/Reagan ticket has not been conducted, but John Zogby, CEO of Zogby International, thinks that this could be a winning ticket for the Democrats in November. "When you look at the interest rumors of a Kerry/McCain generated and the numbers for that, and combine it with the Nielsen ratings for the Reagan funeral, I think you can begin to use your imagination here. We're talking way, way beyond landslide."
Some Washington-watchers have raised red flags however, questioning specifically the eligibility of a cloned former President for the Presidency based on the limits outlined in the US Constitution. "I would be surprised," said Peter Rubin, professor of law at Georgetown University, "if the Courts would permit a clone of Mr. Reagan to hold office. The President served two terms and it is hard to imagine that fact would be overlooked."
Lawrence Tribe, of Harvard University - and an advocate of cloning - disagrees, "Every individual - whether naturally born or a clone - is just that: an individual. To deny an individual any of their Constitutionally guaranteed rights based on the reproductive means used for their creation seems to me to set a dangerous precedent."
Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, was barely able to contain his rage. "Are they insane?, Ronnie is one of ours and if anyone is going to get their hands on him we are. I need one Democrat to stand in front of me and explain this and I swear I'll kick his ass." Once he regained his composure, Gillespie added that perhaps the GOP would investigate a similar tactic using DNA from former President Clinton. "God knows he left enough of the stuff around."
Concerns about the idea have surfaced from other quarters as well. Christy Lynn Clark, the granddaughter of Larry Fine expressed doubts about the plan. "That man, when he was the president of SAG [the Screen Actor's Guild] robbed my grandfather - and all of the other Stooges of the future they earned. That he should be cloned is bad enough, that he may be a heartbeat away from a Democratic presidency is just unfathomable."
For now the debate - and the science - will continue. Until the DNC, the identity of Senator Kerry's running mate remains a mystery being watched with interest by all.