BOSTON – So once more we reach into the right-wing toolbox, a political chest so spare that it holds almost nothing but a wide assortment of wedges. Who would have believed that the wedges used so successfully to divide America would end up dividing conservatives? That they would finally expose the differences between the right and the, um, loony right? The latest of these wedge issues is stem-cell research. But it’s not the only one. Over the past year, we’ve begun to see daylight emerge between common sense and nonsense. Wedge One: Abstinence or Death. Remember last October, when the vaccine against HPV – the leading cause of cervical cancer – was first announced? Pro-family groups were less than enthusiastic about this breakthrough. Cervical cancer was, after all, a mainstay of the abstinence-only miseducation textbooks. A vaccine, said the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, ‘sends the wrong message.’ The far-right message was that losing your virginity could give you cancer. Today, the FRC and its cohorts still oppose routine vaccination for girls. But after the sex-or-death brouhaha, they were compelled to regroup and offer choked approval of a ‘tremendous medical achievement.’ Wedge Two: South Dakota or […]

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