… Stupak himself has declared that if his language doesn’t make it
into the Senate version or is altered in conference committee, “There will be hell to pay.”
Stupak immediately followed the threat by insisting, “I don’t say it
as a threat.” He continued, however, “but if they double-cross us,
there will be 40 people who won’t vote with them the next time they
need us–and that could be the final version of this bill.” Which, of
course, seems like the very definition of a threat. It’s unclear why
altering the language of Stupak’s amendment in conference would be
double-crossing him–Pelosi agreed to an up-or-down vote on his
amendment; she didn’t, and couldn’t, promise that it would end up in
the final version of health reform.
I’m also not sure that Stupak can count on 40 pro-life Democrats to
oppose health reform in the final hour. The best estimates from House
Whip James Clyburn–which match what I’m hearing from calling
around–are that the Stupak amendment moved about ten Democrats who
would otherwise have opposed health reform. Given the very small margin
of victory, the Democratic leadership needed all ten. But it also looks
likely–and I’ll have more on this later–that a compromise short of
the Stupak amendment would have assuaged almost everyone but Stupak.
In other words, this is grandstanding from some asshole, and while I’m happy he’s winning the Suffering Olympics this week, I’m getting kind of sick of this idea that everybody who’s poor ought to die so he doesn’t have to think about some slut having an abortion she didn’t somehow earn by being 12, or raped, or something.
I know talk about framing of the debate bores everybody witless, but this is one of those times when the framing is so pitifully bad for Stupak and his friends that I can’t believe they don’t see it: You shouldn’t get to see a doctor because somebody, somewhere, might see one for some reason you don’t approve of.
We knew this was going to be the argument, way back when, but I honestly thought it would be coming from Republicans. Not Democrats.