A Tale of Two Votes

In my law practice, when my clients come to me for some legal help regarding some disaster that has occurred in their life, I often will tell them that no experience is wasted if a person learns from it.  What did we learn last night from the greatest defeated suffered by the pro-life cause since Roe v. Wade?  I think that can be summed up in two votes, both involving the Stupak amendment.

On November 7, 2009,  all but one Republican in the House voted for the Stupak amendment, realizing that by doing so they were probably ensuring that ObamaCare passed in the House.  I wrote about this vote here.  The Republicans voted for the Stupak language because Republicans are an overwhelmingly pro-life party, even though they were criticized by some on the right for paving the way for the passage of ObamaCare in the House.  They were joined by 68 Democrats.

Last night the Republicans voted to recommit the ObamaCare bill with the Stupak language.  They were defeated in that effort, with every Republican voting for it, but only 21 Democrats this time joining them.  Stupak, the author of the original amendment, voted against it and spoke against it, satisfied with the worthless executive order figleaf he was granted by Obama.

What all of this means is that for now the pro-life effort in the Democrat party has failed.  Congressmen and women who are Democrats and called themselves pro-life have been mostly revealed to be completely unreliable when their votes mattered.  I say this not to attack rank and file pro-lifers who have been involved in an uphill effort to keep the pro-life cause alive in the Democrat party, but merely to admit the obvious.  I have written quite a bit on this blog in praise of Bart Stupak and I now regret every word.  Whatever is in his heart, when it truly mattered he was a profile in political expediency.  The same can be said for most of the other Democrats in Congress who call themselves pro-life.  They proved themselves very weak reeds indeed.  For pro-lifers the Republican party is the only game in town for meaningful pro-life legislation.  This will be distasteful for pro-lifers who hate the Republican party only a little less than they love the unborn, but that is the simple truth.  For people who wish to continue the effort to spread the pro-life message in the Democrat party, may you have success.  I expect that you will fail, and in future I will assume that all elected pro-life Democrats are being mendacious until they prove otherwise by hard votes.  Learning is sometimes a tough experience, but it is usually also a beneficial one, and that is what I learned from last night.

13 Responses to A Tale of Two Votes

  1. Joe Hargrave says:

    ” I have written quite a bit on this blog in praise of Bart Stupak and I now regret every word.”


  2. daledog says:

    To mitigate the distaste – the Rs are the only game in town not beholden to teachers unions. This means school vouchers. This means giving inner city kids a chance to improve upon their circumstances, not to mention just being in a safe school. This means some kids get exposed to a good Catholic education (the horror, I know).

    Keeping kids alive and allowing them a good education – pretty much the foundation for building a better country and a better world.

  3. Tito Edwards says:

    I expect that you (pro-life Democrats) will fail, and in future I will assume that all elected pro-life Democrats are being mendacious until they prove otherwise by hard votes.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    The USCCB spoke out firm against the GOP to vote for the amendment.

    I share the same doubts about the USCCB.

    Until they show the same resolve in fighting abortion as they did to get “health care” passed, I doubt every single word that comes from that decrepit organization.

  4. Jay Anderson says:

    Any notion that there is a REAL pro-life presence in the Democrat Party ought to officially be laid to rest at this point.

  5. Joseph says:

    Another lesson is, as Spiderman put it, with great power comes great responsibility. I’m referring to the power that is invested in each of us when we enter the voting booth (or mail in our ballots). Some people act as though they’re voting for American Idol. In ’08, the election was between style and substance, and style won. As John McCain himself said some years ago, elections have consequences. Our votes have consequences. Now we, all of us, must live with those consequences.

  6. daledog says:

    Another lesson: voting ain’t enough. We are going to have to open our wallets to help the right people win. We are going to have to open our mouths and try to convince our neighbors and family to join the fight. I’m from Illinois. You can bet I’ll be sending Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan some cash this fall. He has proven himself to be a great fighter. I’m going to forego many little things to raise money for good people.

  7. Tito Edwards says:


    It actually comes from the Bible.

    It’s that Mr. Stan Lee rewrote the original into something more dramatic, for effect of course.

    Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required;

    –Holy Gospel of Saint Luke 12:48 cf.

    As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

    –First Letter of Saint Peter 4:10

    Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:

    –Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 12:6 cf.

  8. KJJ says:

    I repeat my view that Stupak’s position is being misunderstood. He lost in the Senate. His problem was that he was only one man and didn’t have fifteen other Stupaks in the Senate.

    Contrast this with culture warrior Pat Buchanan, who said on MSNBC that the executive order looks like “a tremendous victory” for Stupak and other pro-life leaders.

    “For Democrats to have a strong pro-life contingent, which fights inside that party, and then comes out with a victory, I think helps the party because Democrats are known as a pro-choice party,” he explained according to the CNA article “Pro-abortion lobbies ‘incensed’ at Stupak deal to pass health care”

    Buchanan sees that a long-term pro-life victory needs bipartisan support. Stupak’s coalition is by no means perfect, but it has prospects for growth. It’s shown itself to be capable of cooperating with the party and if its leaders can now more easily advance within the party without jettisoning their pro-life views this is better for America as a whole.

    Stupak extracted a concession from Obama. The EO is worthless as a legal tool, but it is a political tool to hold over the President.

    That tool is only useful if Stupak is not tarred and feathered for cutting his losses and serving his party bosses on a major issue. He’ll fight another day, but only if pro-lifers thank him for the hard work he put in against the odds and try to hold him accountable in a productive, not a punitive way.

  9. Donald R. McClarey says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong. The Executive Order is a useless figleaf. The legislation just passed requires public funding of abortion. As any judge could tell you, a law will trump any Executive Order every time, because the Executive Order is not a law. As for a political tool, that is simple nonsense. Obama got what he wants. He has absolutely no interest in placating the small number of pro-life Democrats who have strikingly demonstrated their political unreliability to the pro-life cause and their legislative impotence. Stupak has demonstrated that pro-life Democrats will cave every time, and will always choose loyalty to party over loyalty to the pro-life cause, with only a very few honorable exceptions.

  10. Elaine Krewer says:

    KJJ, are you kidding? Pat Buchanan, of all people, called the executive order a “tremendous victory”? Has he lost it too? Come to think of it, he probably has, considering that he’s written an entire book devoted to the notion that World War II was unnecessary.

    Maybe my perspective is skewed because I’ve been reading nothing but rightie and Catholic traddie blogs for the past several weeks; but it seems to me like this whole healthcare thing is making a lot of people just lose it — open talk of civil war, the end of the Republic, tax revolts, cutting off all friendships and social contacts with liberals, etc.

    I actually saw someone on a conservative blog today SERIOUSLY argue that not only should conservatives refuse to vote for any Democrat (I’m OK with that idea) and not patronize companies known for their support of liberal causes like Ben and Jerry’s, Geico Insurance, etc. (no problem with that idea either), conservatives should also, immediately, end all relationships of any kind with liberals — all friendships, all business dealings, all social contact — and treat them with the contempt they “deserve”, and stop giving to charity because, after all, charities are all run by bleeding heart liberals. Well, that’s where I got off that train.

    When I attempted to demonstrate how ridiculous this argument was if you took it to an extreme (should we divorce our spouses or disown our children if they vote Democrat?) I was told I was obviously a freeloading Obamaist sympathiser. Bear in mind, I HAD explained that I was totally against Obamacare and agreed wholeheartedly that, especially after the Stupak debacle, no Democrat should be elected to any office from Congress to dogcatcher.

    To tell you the truth, the level of despair and hatred I’m seeing on these blogs is starting to scare me as much or more as the healthcare plan they are so upset about! If things really are that bad, the “cure” some of these people propose for Obamacare — ripping apart families, communities and society in order to “save” them from the “cancer” of liberalism — could end up being worse than the disease.

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Some people are too overwrought Elaine. When I began dating my wife she had never really known a pro-lifer and disagreed with me on the issue. Now her committment to the pro-life cause exceeds my own. Some people when they gaze across the gulf that separates pro-life from pro-abortion sees only enemies. I always see potential converts. Don’t let the sturm und drang of these days get you down.

  12. Elaine Krewer says:

    “When I began dating my wife she had never really known a pro-lifer and disagreed with me on the issue. Now her committment to the pro-life cause exceeds my own.”

    That’s good to hear. According to this blogger, however, you would have done better to kick her out of your life and refuse to speak to her ever again the minute you found it she wasn’t 100 percent pro-life, because liberals only respond to feelings and the only way to get them to think is to hurt their feelings. Yes, that is what he said. Sounds like a really excellent strategy for winning elections, doesn’t it? By his logic, the Westboro Baptist Church ought to be packed to the rafters with ex-gay converts because contempt and discourtesy are such effective tools for converting people!

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Many people simply use blogs to vent. When someone is obviously just venting I usually find that it is a waste of time debating with them. I actually have found that liberals are often surprised when a reasoned case can be put forward for a conservative position. With the mainstream media tilting left, and with academia also left in its orientation, many liberals are often unfamiliar with the arguments that conservatives actually make rather than the caricature of those arguments that they have been exposed to.

%d bloggers like this: