Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who had a central role in the health reform fight as the leader of anti-abortion Democrats, plans to announce Friday that he will not run for reelection, a Democratic official said. Without Stupak on the ballot, the seat becomes an immediate pickup opportunity for Republicans.
“Now with health care done, he’s retiring,” a friend said. “He has thought about retiring for the last three cycles, but was always talked into staying: to elect John Kerry to help end the war, to elect a Democratic majority to get health care done.”
Republicans immediately attributed Stupak’s decision to step down as a direct consequence of his health care vote.
“After selling his soul to Nancy Pelosi, it appears that Bart Stupak finally found the courage to tell her no,” said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Ken Spain. “The political fallout over the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare has put the political careers of many Democrats in jeopardy thanks in-part to Stupak’s decision to abandon his alleged pro-life principles.”
Did you get that? He’s not retiring because Americans are angered by he sold-out on his alleged principles and stated positions, but because he’s done everything he wanted to do.
Friends said Stupak was not leaving because of the health fight but because of the exertion that would be required to hold his sprawling Upper Peninsula District.
Wait — if he’s such a grand success, why would it be an exertion to hold on to his district? If Obamacare is so popular, and he’s so great at doing what he promises to do, then he shouldn’t have any trouble at all holding on to his seat, now should he?
Had Stupak sought re-election, he would have faced challengers from both the left and the right backed by interest groups angered by Stupak’s health care vote.
Stupak negotiated with Democratic leaders down to the eleventh hour for stricter abortion language in the health care bill, but he ultimately voted for it after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order assuring the new laws will keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
Well, he ultimately voted for it when he was promised that airports would be named after him, at least.
Like many other congressmen, Stupak received violent threats from citizens after his health care vote. However, the Michigan Democrat came under particularly intense scrutiny because of his role in the abortion debate.
Is it negligent of CBS to mention the threats Stupak received after he voted for Obamacare, but not the ones he received when it looked like he wasn’t going to vote for it?
So… Stupak betrays the pro-life movement and his district, then quits rather than face the wrath of either. And don’t weep for him: he’ll segue right into the comfortable life of a DC lobbyist, which means that he’ll probably get a pay raise and will certainly enjoy the remainder of his term, free from the nagging terror beginning to fill the lives of his Democratic colleagues. Because you cannot trust a ‘conservative’ Democrat.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air also comments:
If Democrats were really concerned about Stupak keeping his seat, they would have insisted on restoring Stupak’s language in the final reconciliation bill on banning federal funding for abortion. Instead, they gave Stupak a meaningless executive order to cover his (back)tracks — and it didn’t work.
The Upper Peninsula district that Stupak represents normally wouldn’t be entirely hostile to a Democrat. They tend to be working-class, pro-life but not necessarily deeply conservative. Stupak offered them a kind of middle-road populism with a pro-life core that suited his constituents.
After Stupak’s reversal, Democrats won’t get that chance …
I don’t think that Democrats are concerned about Stupak maintaining his seat. His pro-life stance was a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party, and he garnered much ire from the left. They’re probably looking forward to replacing him with a good, obedient progressive. Given the popularity of the DNC these days, that might prove tough, but it has a higher chance of Stupak getting re-elected now that he’s demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt his willingness to sell out.