A vial of Ronald Reagan’s blood was going to be auctioned online. After a time of outrage, the person who owned the vial–which was taken from the hospital that treated the president after the assassination attempt–had second thoughts and donated it to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
But, as Dana Milbank points out, that means that the blood is in conservative hands. With the genetic material found in the blood, wouldn’t we be able to clone Ronald Reagan?
All Republican candidates, seemingly, present themselves as Reagan come back. Why don’t we just take advantage of genetic engineering and come up with the real thing?
Milbank, a liberal, makes the case that today’s conservatives wouldn’t really want another Reagan, that the old one himself would prove too liberal by today’s standards, inasmuch as he occasionally raised taxes, passed environmental regulations, expanded Social Security and Medicare, and often compromised with Democrats.
I think the difference is that conservatives trusted Reagan when he found it necessary to do such things and they don’t trust anyone else.
I suspect it is true that character, let alone politics, is not exclusively in the genes, that it is shaped by life experiences and personal convictions. But let us assume that by cloning Reagan’s blood, we could get another Reagan. He would have to grow up first, of course, but in the meantime we could keep cloning so that we had a new version of the same man every eight years.
Such a mindset may account for the archaic notion of “royal blood”–the assumption that the son of a good ruler will be like his father, who, in a sense would still be present in the bloodline. But cloning would allow us to make a new kind of royal blood.
We could make the Reagan clone a king, in this sense, or we could retain our republic and just vote in another of his clones every four years. Or, to keep it fair and to keep democracy alive, we could also clone great Democrats. I’m sure FDR’s hair is on some brush of his in some museum.
This would be the solution of the common complaint today that there are no great leaders today anymore. We can just use modern technology to manufacture some.