Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Acting or Not...

There's a controversy over recent ads by the Democratic Party fueled by criticism from Rush Limbaugh. Personally, I have no clue if Limbaugh is right or not, and I don't think it matters. The issue is simple: Michael J. Fox, a great actor who is suffering from the terrible disease of Parkinson's, appeared in ads promoting stem cell research and claiming that the GOP is against it in the states in which it airs. This doesn't seem to be true - Missouri Senator Jim Talent (R) has supported research as long as it doesn't include cloning or destroying a human embryo, which is why he's against a current amendment, as it does include cloning. But the controversy is over whether Fox is acting in the commercials - while we all know he has Parkinson's, is he acting the symptoms for the commercials to bring in greater sympathy and to draw voters? After all, he's acted in TV shows as recently as this year without the ill effects, which are "on and off". Limbaugh thinks that he's acting for the commercials (though later he said he could be mistaken).

To me, I have no clue if he's acting or not. I'm inclined to believe that he is not, but that brings a greater question to my mind. The ill effects of Parkinson's (the shaking, etc.) are "on and off". Did the Democrats wait until Fox was suffering to film the commercial, just to score political points? Fox has been an amazing spokesman for sufferers of Parkinson's for years - and without the shaking. I still remember the very simple but powerful ads they used to show during Spin City reruns late at night - he would say his piece and sit there, unmoving, staring at the camera. It just seems wrong to try and wait for a time where he can't control his shaking to film the commercial solely for political points, especially as he's noted the difficulty acting and how painful it is when he is shaking. Throw in the false claims of the ads, and it just seems that the Democrats are sinking to deep lows in their quest for Congress in some races around the country.

They could have easily run a solid ad with Fox claiming that Democrats are stronger supporters of greater forms of stem cell research. The GOP would have countered that they are against certain forms of research because of moral issues. Both would have been true, and would have allowed voters to make their own decisions. Instead, these ads have twisted the debate from what it should be about. It's sad.