Since Rush Limbaugh's spazz-out mockery of Michael J. Fox and attacks on Fox's integrity and honesty, making armchair medical diagnoses that would make even Republican Bill "Terri Schiavo will recover" Frist blush, the right-wing reactionary reaction has been remarkable only in its vehemence.
On BlogHer, new Contributing Editor Dana Tuszke offers a socially conservative perspective:
Michael J. Fox and Ben Cardin are misleading the public by playing on the hopes and fears of millions of Americans who are suffering from debilitating diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers and Dimentia, as well as Parkinson’s Disease. The ad campaign is repulsive because it’s dishonest in promising cures to these diseases, cures that are uncertain and yet to be discovered.
Instead of arguing the facts and admitting the truth behind Limbaugh’s statements, Democrats attack the radio host calling him cruel and hateful and continue to distort his words and statements he makes on his radio show.
The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezal, along with actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Cardinal’s pitcher Jeff Suppan, have appeared in advertisements countering the claims of Michael J. Fox. In the ad Caviezal, Heaton and Suppan tell Missouri voters the facts about embryonic stem cell research and then state “Don’t be tricked”, “Don’t be deceived”, and “Don’t be fooled.”
Michael J. Fox came into my living room through my television a few nights ago. He showed me how badly his Parkinson’s disease causes him to tremor, so that maybe I’d feel sorry for him and vote Democrat, or maybe I’d feel guilty if I responded to his exploitation of his condition.
She claims that there is no hope for any results from stem-cell research, and says everyone who says otherwise is trying to "trick the intelligence of their voters." And this is the soft-spoken attack on Fox, though in the comments she gets more strident and plain-spoken. There's quite a discussion thread there worth reading.
In case you missed it, Michael J. Fox fired back at the attacks:
It's funny because, what I'm talking about is about hope. It's about promise. It's about moving forward. It's a forward-looking attitude about what this country is capable of and what we can accomplish for our citizens.
And so if we get sidetracked into a dialogue about whether sick people have a right to display their symptoms in public, you know, that reaction. I think it was more disappointing, from the point of view of— The campaigns, like the [Republican Senate candidate Michael] Steele campaign, their spokesman said, "It was in poor taste," which really— I mean, I'm out here and I expect that. Being in the lead, I'll take some hits. And that's fine. I'm a big boy. Well, not height-wise.
BlogHer Contributing Editor Melinda Casino offers a run-down of other reactions.
For a little background and insight, another BlogHer Contributing Editor Marianne Richmond writes:
Surprising because Dana sees it as exploitation and I see it as someone who cares about stem cell research for the most personal of reasons; and that his appearance with his symtoms painfully obvious puts us as close as we can get to experiencing what this disease looks and feels like.
The way that the issue of stem cell research has been painted to be about other various moral hot buttons, cloning, right to life, is exploitive.
My son told me that some of the St. Louis Cardinals were in ads advocating "Vote No" on the stem cell amendenment. The New York Times coverage of this called it "Pitching and Politics."
This I see as an example of celebrities contributing to the exploitation of an issue.
Also interesting is the BlogHer forum thread, "Does GOD really care about stem cell research?"