Stupak to Retire?

Hattip to Gateway Pundit.  NBC’s First Read is reporting that Stupak is considering retirement.

Stupak to call it quits? With just a few days to go before the end of this recess, House Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they could get through it without a single retirement announcement. That said, there is still a concern that some important incumbents in districts that they are uniquely suited could call it quits. At the top of the concern list this week: Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Democrat best known this year as the Democrat who delivered the winning margin of votes for the president’s health-care reform bill is said to be simply exhausted. The criticism he received — first from the left, and then from the right — has worn him and his family out. And if he had to make the decision now, he’d probably NOT run. As of this writing, a bunch of senior Democrats (many of the same ones who twisted his arm on the health care vote) are trying to talk him into running. The filing deadline in Michigan is still a month away, but veterans of that state’s politics are skeptical anyone other than Stupak can hold that district in this political climate.

Hang in there Bart!  Do not retire!  After a betrayal as big as yours, defeat and humiliation are part of the package

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Update:  Stupak is announcing his retirement today.  Go here to read the details.

24 Responses to Stupak to Retire?

  • Whether Stupak retires now, or runs for reelection and loses, he’s already suffered plenty of humiliation.

    Just look at the poster at the top of this post — that’s an internet meme that will be around long after he’s gone from Congress (hopefully soon). His very name has become a synonym, at least in some circles, for being betrayed or screwed (“Stupak’d”)

    No matter what he does, he’ll still get his Congressional pension, and still be in line for some high-paid lobbying job or whatever. Either way, his last-minute cave-in cost him his seat in Congress and that’s good enough for me.

    Of course, there’s always a chance he’ll win if he runs again… though at least one Gateway Pundit commenter, who recently visited Sault Ste. Marie and says Stupak is “toast” there, indicates otherwise.

  • “Any decision, he said, would come after the April 15 deadline by which his opponents would submit financial statements to the FEC but before the May filing deadline.”

    With the iron determination he demonstrated in voting against his own amendment, my guess is that his ultimate intentions are a complete mystery to him at the present time.

  • True. But don’t underestimate the call of power, especially when those about him proclaim him a hero for his vote.

  • He’s apparently announcing his retirement today at 12:30.

  • Thank you for the update Chris.

  • Stupak’s fall reminds me of something out of a Greek tragedy. It’s a shame–I’m reasonably convinced he thought he was doing the best he could, but his collapse at the last minute has the potential to damage the country and the pro-life cause for decades.

  • Dale, I don’t see it. The shrill attacks on him have deeply damaged the pro-life movement in the public eye. It may well be that a few fringe folk orchestrated the attack on one of our own. But critics like the ones on this web site have allowed their focus to shift far away from the defense of the unborn and the persuasion of women in crisis (real or perceived) pregnancies.

    We never save so much bile as for those once loyal we perceive to be disloyal.

    And a “fall?” You speak as if public life were some high calling. If the man’s family has been the target of harassment and obscenity, the man is a hero for sacrificing his own career for the greater good.

    This is a sandals-and-dust moment for Mr Stupak. His district, the country, and the pro-life movement are the losers here.

  • Todd, how do I fit the pattern of “shrill,” “fringe” and “bile” that you decry here? I’m going to decline the invitation to be your straw-y sparring partner. I’m sure someone else here will be happy to take up the gauntlet, though.

  • Oh well, wrong again. Or maybe I should be happy. :)

  • “His district, the country, and the pro-life movement are the losers here.”

    Yeah, self-serving cave-in artists are always in short supply.

  • Dale, I used your name, “shrill” and “bile” in the same post, but careful reading here would indicate I accused you of neither of these. I’m sure you and your colleagues here have also typed “Obama” and “pro-life” in the same post, but I’m sure no connection was intended.

    “Bile” is associated with “we,” and I was careful to include myself as part of the human condition of our reaction to disloyalty.

    You can engage my argument or not: that’s your choice. But don’t play the aggrieved when you are quick to paste labels on me and others based on your own perceptions.

    That said, it’s remarkable how quickly you folks zero in on the critic here, not his argument. Mr Stupak is taking his toys and going home. It’s not tragedy; it’s a career decision. Moral adults make such decisions every day.

    My sense is that a pro-lifer finally got something substantive done in the political sphere, and danged if he happened to be a Dem.

  • “My sense is that a pro-lifer finally got something substantive done in the political sphere, and danged if he happened to be a Dem.”

    “Substantive” as in an executive order that can be rescinded at any time, that did not remedy the problem with abortion funding that Stupak saw clearly in the Senate bill before his cave-in and that would not stand up for a moment in court, because an executive order cannot prevail over a law.

  • Timothy Noah at Slate explains just how completely meaningless Stupak’s executive order is:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2248490/

  • Ah, so you were talking *at* me and not *to* me. That’s an improvement over insults, yes, but I tend to bow out of “conversations” where people ride up to me on a hobbyhorse and start barking about the bad behavior of the disliked other.

    If you want to springboard off my comments to make a point about what you regard as the many failings of the pro-life movement, it’s a free internet. Just do me the courtesy of bracketing me off from what you’re going to harangue the comment box about. As an additional example of the peril of talking at, not to:

    “You speak of public life as if it were a high calling.”

    Yeah, Todd, I do. Given that public service is what I have done for the bulk of my professional life, I like to think I make a difference and that it’s not some transactional time serving.

    Oh, and just where “have I been quick to paste a label” on you, Todd? Maybe an old liturgical thread from a few years back? Seriously–what?

    Finally, a substantive point: Stupak took a lot of threatening hate from the pro-abortion left prior to the vote, too, with him describing it as “a living hell.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/87519-its-been-a-living-hell-says-rep-stupak

    Having the pro-lifers pile on afterward was almost certainly the breaking point, but the left had rolled out a primary challenger and was making his life miserable, too. It just didn’t get on CNN.

  • “Oh, and just where “have I been quick to paste a label” on you, Todd?”

    The other day, the other thread.

    Look, my friend: I may or may not be angrier today than I was a few years ago. Odds are you can pick out two days in my life and say I was more angry here, less angry there. It’s also easy enough to make other people angry on the net. Some of our blogging friends are experts at it. And I don’t deny I’ve been the cause of vituperative upset on the part of some folks. To a degree, we all make choices every day about putting a shine on things or moping around.

    As for your comment about bracketing, point taken and accepted. I apologize for rendering guilt by association. You don’t have a character limit here at AC, so I will take the extra minute, the extra sentence to be careful, not only with you, but with your blogging comrades.

    Because I know you to be a man dedicated to truth and faith, I mention a final suggestion directed at you, Dale. Why is it that you chose to ignore my point that pro-lifers behaving badly damage the movement in the perception of the abortion fence-sitters as more significant than Mr Stupak’s “betrayal” to the hard-core movement? This political defeat was hard for the GOP–no doubt about that. But women may well choose not to have abortions, even in the hundreds of thousands in the years ahead, and this would be a victory for the pro-life effort, wouldn’t it?

  • Please point out the other thread. I simply do not remember it–not the weasely “do not recall” but rather complete amnesia–and from what you say, it appears I owe an apology.

    Pro-lifers behaving badly damages the movement–I would be an idiot to argue otherwise. They do it often, and I think the shellacking administered to Stupak by the hotheads was excessive. I think he was [given that his political career is now gliding to its end], in the main, a decent public servant.

    The political defeat was not of the GOP–that happened in 2006 and 2008, for which it paid rightly for its sins.

    Rather, the defeat–the tragedy–is two-fold. First, the pro-life movement in America is now, and entirely for the worse–anchored politically to the Republicans. Stupak’s fold–and that’s what it was, intentions aside–means that the pro-life Democrat is dead and buried at the national level, for at least a generation. Pro-lifers need voices in both parties, and while Stupak and his colleagues held out, we thought we did. Now we don’t. Instead, we have a sorta voice in the GOP and the finger from the majority party.

    Which brings me to the second fold: we can’t celebrate women who choose to do the right thing under the legislation when that same legislation pays them to do the wrong thing. The bottom line is that funds abortions and herds people into exchanges where there may be only one insurer who doesn’t. Stupak understood that, otherwise he wouldn’t have crafted his amendment as he did and decried Casey’s semantic re-write of Capps. The fact he sought out an an executive order to “correct” it speaks volumes about the legistation as passed. [As an aside, I think Bob Casey Jr.’s actions are by far more troubling than Stupak’s.] Our HHS secretary has assured us that it funds abortion, and I have every confidence in her judgment and the impotence of the executive order that it will.

    As I said in another thread that I remember (if having no desire to re-argue), I’m happy with the bits of the legislation that support working mothers and help women and men make the right decision. In a related vein, I’d be altogether delighted with the passage of the Pregnant Women Support Act. But I can’t support expanded abortion. The pro-life parts of the legislation still strike me as equivalent to adding a vitamin supplement to a goblet of hemlock. Yeah, in some sense it’s better but it’s still bad overall.

    Thank you for the courteous response, not so by the way.

  • If I could get my comment out of moderation, I’d appreciate it. I think the software’s glitching.

  • I’m not going to say there weren’t things said in reaction to Stupak’s move that reflected poorly on the pro-life movement, but why do those who feel it important to make the observation not consider that Stupak himself made the pro-life movement look bad?

    Stupak was held out as a staunch defender of the unborn. He was bucking his own party, crafting iron clad legislation, condemning the Senate bill and the sell-outs and unethical political payoffs that came with it, etc. Good stuff. Then, when things came down to the wire, his district was awarded federal funds for airports, he voted against his own legislation, and voted with his party and justified it with the magic beans of the EO.

    Who made the pro-life movement look bad?

  • Well now we know he didn’t do it for political gain. If I were pro-choice and in favor of ObamaCare, I’d send him a letter of gratitude and another letter to Obama urging him to award Stupak a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • I appreciate the reply, Dale. We’ve often butted heads, especially in the early days of the St Blogosphere, but I always respected you–and still do–for piecing together a decent argument. Not to mention being a guy I know I could sit down for a coffee or a beer and have a solid man-to-man chat.

    To answer your question, it was your last post on the Gomez thread referring to my anger and bitterness. If anything, I’m willing to concede that since Nov 2008, I don’t avoid getting under conservative skin here and there. And also willing to concede that I’ve been delivered a pink slip or two in the aftermath of ’08, so I have fewer qualms about sticking a sliver under someone’s philosophical fingernail. All for the cause of keeping the opposition honest, if not above-board.

    And I confess: you and Donald are far more politically aware on this level than I bother to be. Honestly, I have no stomach for national politics. I stopped reading serious history and politics years ago. Local action in fighting arts-and-music cuts and volunteering as an election official–that’s a whole lot more appealing to me. I know I can make a difference there. Fighting Big Oil and DuPont and media empires–not so much.

    Lots of good Catholics knowledgeable about insurance reform and the goings-on in Washington thought Mr Stupak got as much as he could out of this. And more, they convinced me the bill was sound for the pro-life effort. The president was going to the wall for insurance reform, and seemed prepared to make concessions on the abortion front. And quite honestly, given the level of rhetoric on FOCA (I may not know much, but I do know the basics of how legislation happens) if Deal Hudson and a few others try to tell me this is bad, I’m inclined to believe the opposite.

    If you were in Mr Stupak’s shoes, you would have done differently. I can respect that. My problem with your site here is that too many of you bloggers lack basic respect. The photoshopped slogan on the image at the top shows it. Whatever kind of man Bart Stupak is, he doesn’t likely deserve that level of disrespect. But I think it’s pretty clear that on this issue, the blog author hasn’t risen above the sandbox at second grade recess.

  • Todd:

    As God is my witness, I didn’t comment on any of the Gomez threads, nor did I ask anyone to take down a comment on them. Darwin and Don did, and perhaps you confused “D”ale with them, given the alliterative quality of our handles. :) That said, I can’t imagine that I *haven’t* given you ample and rightful reason to feel cheap shot offense in the past, given our clashes, and for that I offer an overdue apology.

    As to Rep. Stupak, I sincerely hope he’s *right* and that his EO prevents abortion funding. I’d note that my archbishop, Allen Vigneron, was careful to hope for the same in a recent speech and avoided condemnation. For my part, I simply can’t see how it will work. I hope and pray to God I am wrong, but I am morally certain I am not.

    Keep fighting the good fight on the arts front. I’m trying to make sure my kids get drenched in the arts, and Detroit area museums are taking it in the shorts in this economy. It’s the first thing that faces the knife, and it shouldn’t be.

  • Dale, I offer my unconditional apology to you. It was Darwin. I need to check my own reading comprehension. Or my glasses.

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