Kathryn, to be fair, the Derb is not saying that the abortion controversy is a “boutique” issue. It clearly isn’t. What is he saying is that (even if such a ban might make logical sense to those opposed to abortion) the lobby for a ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research was a *relatively* small one. I note, for example, that according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (July 21-24, 2006) 68% of all adults supported federal funding, and a further 5% were unsure. Perhaps more interesting as a measure of how much the public “really” care about this issue, the same poll found that if a congressman voted in favor of federal funding, 33% of adults would be more likely to vote for him, 4% would be unsure, and 19% would be less likely. For 44% it would make no difference either way.
You can see other polls on this topic here.
As for me, if I had that famous generic vote (as it is, I have no vote at all, but there we are), I would use it in favor of the GOP. I’d be holding my nose as I did so, and probably reeling and retching a little, but, incredible as it may seem, the alternative is even worse. Politics is about tough choices.