Far Better Than Nothing

While pro-lifers, conservatives, and conservative pro-lifers all have different reasons for not being very pleased with Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats at the moment, because of their caving in to the Senate Bill abortion language and Obama’s vaporware executive order, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that if all Democrats were of the Obama/Pelosi persuasion in regards to abortion, we would undoubtedly have a “health care reform” bill which provided complete subsidies for abortion on demand for poor women, if not all women. The Senate language is not nearly as good as Stupak’s, and even with Stupak’s language included I think that the bill would have been deeply irresponsible for financial reasons. But let’s face it, the Democrats have a solid majority in the House and had until Brown’s election a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Without some Democrats breaking ranks with their party’s hard core pro-abortion platform, there would have been no way for the pro-life movement to keep the most extreme support for abortion possible out of the bill.

And while Stupak’s last minute flake-out is disappointing from a pro-life perspective (if he’d stuck to his guns, I would have happily donated to his re-election fund, simple because I admire steadfastness to pro-life principle, even in someone I disagree with on other issues) let’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language. So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.

24 Responses to Far Better Than Nothing

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I never confused Stupak with a conservative. I did confuse Stupak with a pro-lifer. My mistake. I also confused him with a truthful man. Once again my mistake. The fact that his cave in led to ObamaCare becoming a law I regard as a national disaster. That Stupak revealed himself as a man of no principle I regard as a tragedy. He was a hero to pro-lifers everywhere and he revealed himself at the end to be anything but.

  • Kevin in Texas says:

    Darwin, I applaud your charitable attitude and posting, and I agree with it, for the most part, even from the depths of my disappointment. What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening. I genuinely believe that he lost it temporarily, on an emotional and psychological level, when he declared that the Democrats were the pro-life party protecting life from unborn till death. That speech was so contrary to reality in its claims that I can’t imagine he’ll look on that speech in the future with anything but deep shame and guilt.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening.”

    Ditto, Kevin. What a disgraceful display that was. He was doing a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over freshly-opened wounds. It was despicable.

  • Donna V. says:

    I wrote a (small) check to Stupak’s Republican challenger, Dan Benishek, on Sunday night. Benishek is a UP surgeon who seems a decent man – a pro-life conservative, the son of a miner. But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.

    Speaking of horse’s patoots, our elected reps are now debating this:

    Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.

  • ron chandonia says:

    I wish the other side in this debate could come up with statements as thoughtful and charitable as this one. The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed–for many reasons, some better than others. Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing. It’s interesting too to see what he thinks government should NOT be doing: in that under-the-radar vote on the war in Afghanistan a few days ago, Stupak voted against the war.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.”

    Brilliant Donna!

  • Donna V. says:

    How badly were we gamed by this man? (And I say “we” because I too was under the impression that Stupak was a man of integrity, although I was against the healthcare bill for other reasons besides abortion.)

    “Stupak Defends District’s Planned Parenthood Clinics”

    PICKET: Then how come you didn’t vote for Pence’s amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood back in 2009?

    STUPAK: I don’t think I ever voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does not do abortions…in my district. Planned Parenthood has a number of clinics in my district that provide health care for my people. Therefore, these clinics do quite well in my district, and I’m all for health care and extending it to everybody–access to health care, so that’s just another way. Also on Planned Parenthood , when they do it, there is a segregation of funds that go with it. It’s usually about four hundred million they tried to de-fund on Planned Parenthood. Maybe this time, I’ll look at it again if Pence brings it up. Maybe I’ll vote differently this time, but you’re right I did vote against it.

    Stupak also says, in practically the same breath:

    I’ve done all I could as one member to protect the sanctity of life

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/watercooler/2010/mar/23/stupak-defends-districts-planned-parenthood/

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    You know what, I’m sick of these defenses of Backstabbing Bart.

    Ron, I’m not going off on you personally – I like a lot of your comments on issues – but you’ve raised a couple of points here that I’ve seen OTHER people I typically like and respect bring up in Stupid’s defense as well.

    “The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed”

    I suppose it could be the case that there are people who were in denial about the whole thing. But most people I know who supported the Stupak language did so for one or both of these reasons:

    1) If Obamacare was determined to become law, AT LEAST the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment would stay in place. Stupak’s precious EO offers no such guarantees, and his speech during the debate following the vote was delusional.

    2) If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill. That’s why I supported it. And I see no reason to be ashamed of it. There’s nothing wrong with that motive.

    “Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing.”

    But he also told us all that he wouldn’t vote for a bill that allowed public funding of abortion. And yet he did. So either he’s monumentally stupid for putting enough faith in this EO nonsense to change his vote – and we have a right to be angry with him for that alone – or he knew full well that this EO promise was weak, but it gave him just enough so that he could vote yes, to take the pressure off, to not be hated by everyone in his own party, or whatever.

    Stupak portrayed himself as a leader, as a fighter, as a man of principle. At the last hour he caved for a handful of magic beans that offers no guarantee of the things that he was so intransigent about for all these months.

    Stupidity or weakness, take your pick, either way, he deserves our contempt.

  • Largebill says:

    “Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.”

    Donna,

    I understand the Parliamentary tactic they are playing, but I have to wonder why Viagra or any similar prescription drug is covered by a health plan. Why would the cost of a recreational drug be paid by a health care plan. If Viagra isn’t a recreational drug nothing is. This thought struck me as odd a few years ago when I heard on CNBC (IIRC) that GM was the single largest purchaser of Viagra because of their retiree health care plan. What??? Up until that moment I naively believed people spent their own money on crap like that.

    That is the sad punch line to this horrendous health care “reform” bill. Some people actually believe it will not exceed the cost estimates without considering how much health care can be consumed once it is “free.” How many people will sign up for Viagra or a hundred other medical treatments that they would not if personally paying for it themselves.

  • Donna V. says:

    Largebill: exactly. But that’s government and the entitlement mentality for you. Contrary to leftist belief, no conservative I know argues that the present system needs no reforming or that uninsured people should be left to die in the street.

    But this changes everything and drags the government into everything touching on healthcare issues. It’s one thing to help pay for people who, say, have lost coverage because they were laid off and have serious health conditions. But paying for somebody’s Viagra? Someone who sees Viagra as an entitlement? They’ve got to be joking – except they’re not.

    (Not to mention the disgust I feel at having to foot the bill for somebody’s abortion…)

  • RL says:

    I think you guys are getting a little off track here. I’m no fan of this bill, and I get the idea that’s setting you off about the Viagra, but I think it’s wrong headed. I’m sure some people use Viagra to enable themselves to do things they shouldn’t be doing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a drug that should be covered by insurance. We’re Catholics, not Puritans or Stoics. As Catholics we view intimacy between spouses as a great good, even a necessary condition for their marriage and their souls. If someone’s plumbing stops working, that is a medical issue, and thankfully something has been developed that can help people get around the condition. There’s absolutely no reason to object to the use of such medicine or that it would be covered by medical insurance.

    Oh, and lest you think this says something about my condition – my plumbing still works fine, thank you. ;) Still, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future to any of us, and a drug like can help marriages stay strong and that keeps families together, and even saves souls.

  • Blackadder says:

    If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill.

    I’m not sure this is plausible. After all, the original House bill passed despite having the Stupak language in it.

  • Aubrey says:

    “[L]et’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language.”

    Huh? I’m shocked.

    So what does it matter if we’d all be disappointed anyway? Is that the sum of it?

    Evidently the intrinsically evil nature of abortion escapes you. Please let me clarify. Children born into a bankrupt dictatorship (worst case scenarios, both, for fiscal responsibility and statism) are still born. They have the chance to live and breathe and giggle and laugh and clap their hands.

    Children killed by an state funded abortion don’t enjoy any of that. They’re dead before they could draw their first breath of air, before they could look upon their mother and father, before they could so much as eat and sigh and sleep.

    I would much, much, much rather I lived in a country that financially impoverished itself with a crazy healthcare bill (i.e. giving viagra to criminals) than one that morally bankrupted itself by using my taxes to kill babies.

    Further — you write ‘So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.’

    ‘[H]ope?’ Yeah, right. Sorry, but you have to swallow a whole lot to not recognize that he held out so as to sell his vote more dearly. That or he just doesn’t comprehend the nature of abortion, the nature of evil.

    Please let me translate your equivalence into practical terms — well, the bill is just going to pass anyway (i.e. they’ll kill the babies anyway), so I might as well vote for it (participate in an intrinsically evil act) (and condemn my soul to hell for all of eternity).

    Do you see what you’ve written? Do you understand my perspective?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    BA,

    It is what they pledged to do after the first time it passed.

    http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/letter-from-house-dems-pledging-to-vote-against-bill-with-stupak/

    And they were threatening to do it all the way up until the day of the vote.

    http://www.valuesvoternews.com/2010/03/stupak-deal-fails-as-pro-choice.html

    I don’t know why they settled for it the first time around, but evidently they changed their minds.

    I read reports of some pro-abort female House Dems breaking down into tears after the first vote because of Stupak.

  • LV says:

    Joe,

    They settled for it the first time around because they very openly expected that after the Senate passed its version, that provision would be stripped out of the final bill in conference.

    Brown taking Kennedy’s Senate seat derailed those plans.

  • Joe,

    But here’s the thing, while many of us who opposed the bill in its entirity (while also wanting to have it be as anti-abortion as possible if we had to swallow the bitter bill at all) Stupak clearly thought the bill itself was a good thing so long as it didn’t fund abortion.

    I’m guessing that this massively pissed Stupak off, and was one of his prime motivating factors in that bitter floor speech.

    I disagree with him and think he’s wrong in seeing those of us on the conservative side of the pro-life movement as the bad guys in this. But I can see why he was becoming increasingly angry with his position — feeling like he was being used by people who opposed the bill regardless.

  • RL says:

    I think you’re right Darwin. I also think part of the problem is that we thought Stupak was standing for something more than what he was standing for. We thought he was for this bill other than the abortion issue – and not without reason – by his own words we had it that as much as he wanted HCR passed, abortion was a non-starter and the Senate bill didn’t pass the test, plus the Senate bill was bad legislation and the means by which it came was unacceptible.

    He generated a lot of goodwill from pro-lifers from most political persuasions and they admired his principled stand. In hindsight, we discovered he was indeed fighting to get abortion provisions out of the legislation, but it wasn’t that important to him where he wouldn’t still vote for it. Many of his supporters feel betrayed by him and he feels betrayed by his supporters. It’s actually quite understandable. I think he’s wrong to have done a 180 the Senate bill, or to think the EO satisfies any concerns, or to think that abortion shouldn’t be a deal breaker for Obamacare, but his equation is different. Aside from those understandable differences, his speech at the time of the vote and subsequent comments take it to a different level. A level where it’s difficult to respect him in spite of those differences and reveal a rather bitter partisan bordering on the delusional.

  • KJJ says:

    Stupak led the most successful pro-life insurgency within the Democratic Party in recent memory. Nobody expected his amendment to pass with the support it did, and pro-choice organizations reacted with horror that a new front was opening within their stronghold.

    His amendment was dead in the Senate though. His insurgency failed.

    A man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    But he extracted a concession from the President, which can help hold Obamacare accountable. He also helped his party by allowing Pelosi to give vulnerable Democrats the chance to vote “no.” (She likely had enough votes in reserve, but because of the pro-life Dems she didn’t have to use them.)

    Here’s some comments from the end of Stupak’s Sunday press conference that have been under-reported:

    “…the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    In my view, Stupak cut his losses while raising the profile of pro-life Democrats and getting Obama to commit to something. He can be held accountable too.

    The speed with which many pro-lifers turned on him is disturbing to me. If there were more Democrats like him, he would have won. But he lost, and so he tried to lose in a manner most advantageous to his cause and to his career. I think he deserves gratitude for that failed attempt, and criticism of him has gone overboard. The Senate and those who excluded the Stupak Amendment from the Senate bill bear far more blame, as do the Catholic groups whose misinformation sapped his coalition’s strength at a critical time.

    If the GOP’s incompetence and the Hispanicization of America have barred Republicans from Congressional majorities for the foreseeable future, Stupak & co. are the best hope for the pro-life cause in Congress. Don’t punish a man who stood up for months against his party leadership and activists. Punish the leadership and the activists, so that that man won’t have to surrender again in the future.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    BA,

    Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with. They had to please their own first, and then try to rope in Stupak. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did, because of the weakness of one man.

    Darwin,

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn about his feelings. This bill will fund abortion, and I maintain that he was either a fool or a coward for accepting the empty promises of an EO from Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history.

  • Blackadder says:

    Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with.

    They cooked up the EO nonsense to get Stupak’s vote, not the votes of pro-choicers, who they already had.

  • Pinky says:

    There were 23 Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment and voted against the Senate “reconciliation” bill on Sunday. 23, out of 253. 9%.

    175 out of 177 Republicans voted for the Stupak Amendment and against the reconciliation bill. That’s 99%.

    Remember those percentages the next time someone tells you that the GOP isn’t really pro-life, that Scott Brown and Rudy Giuliani prove that the Republicans are secretly pro-abortion, that the Democratic Party is moderate on life issues, that there’s really no difference between the parties at all.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    BA,

    The EO was all they had left to offer Stupak once they satisfied the pro-choicers.

    Though I don’t have the link saved (darn it), Pelosi was going to allow another vote on the Stupak amendment until the radical pro-choice Dems threatened to vote no if it passed – which, like the first time around, it would have. This was in the news. I remember reading it and thinking that it would be great.

    But after the radical pro-abort Dems renewed their threat, Pelosi et. al. had to deny Stupak another vote. But they still needed his vote on the bill – hence the EO. Garbage!

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