WASHINGTON (AP)--In a slap in the face to President George W. Bush and his Christian right-wing backers, the leading Senate Republican Bill Frist announced he would back legislation to finance large-scale cloning of human duplicates to provide body parts for rich Republicans, after watching the new science fiction movie "The Island."
Dr. Frist is a transplant surgeon, the Senate Majority Leader, and a potential presidential candidate. He said the issue is "not a matter of faith, it's a matter of breeding insurance policies."
"After I watched that brilliant new movie The Island,' it became very clear to me," Dr. Frist told the Senate. "We must breed clones of ourselves to serve as a reserve of body parts for the rich and powerful. Also, stem cells offer hope for medical treatment that other research cannot offer."
Frist added that his contacts in the Pentagon are also enthusiastic about creating clones in underground communities.
"The U.S. Army could use a lot of clones," said Colonel Bull Buntline of the Pentagon. "We have several underground bunkers where they could be bred and maintained in a fictional utopia until we need their body parts for wounded soldiers and officers. We could do anything we want with the clones since they aren't really human and have no souls."
Yet the movie "The Island" shows that the clones "Lincoln Six Echo" (actor Ewan McGregor) and his friend "Jordan Two Delta" (actress Scarlett Johanssen) who escape from their prison are far more human than their scheming and inhuman controllers and "owners."
Dr. Frist's decision to break with the White House on these issues has led to in sharp criticism from the Christian right. Dr. Frist is considering a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, and his break with the evangelical right on this issue would place him far closer to the U.S. mainstream. Opinion polls show that Americans favor expansion of embryonic stem-cell research as a treatment for many serious ailments.
A bill moving through Congress would expand financial support for embryonic stem-cell research which has been held up in the Senate. Bush has threatened to veto the bill.
The split with Dr. Frist is occurring at a time of increasing political woes for President Bush. The continuing fight for freedom from U.S. occupation in Iraq, also to prevent the theft of Iraqi oil, and the growing death toll, in addition to domestic political problems over reform to social security, have helped lower his popularity. A Gallup poll made public yesterday showed only 14% of Americans approve of Bush, the lowest rating of his presidency. 83% of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing as President.