Programming Note

Expect a mini-wave of ‘no’ announcements from some of Stupak’s people once Democrats are sure they have 216 votes in the House. Give them hell if you live in their district, of course, but don’t mistake their weasely ass-covering for a sign of the apocalypse.

48 replies
  1. 1
    wvng says:

    I can’t envision this as effective political ass-covering. They’ll still get attacked from the right because reform passed (with or without their vote). The Dem base, pretty much anywhere, is going to be unhappy with them and unenthusiastic about them for not supporting the biggest Dem initiative, the Holy Grail of Dem initiatives, in forever. What do they actually gain?

  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    I bet you’re 100%, on-the-nail right.

  3. 3
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:


    They can claim that they held out for the fetuses, and their GE opponents will still be able to claim that their being Democrats makes them soc ialist baby killers anyway. However, they will no longer be harassed by their political consultants that are telling them that making a stand for abortion rights is critical to getting reelected in the fall.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    cintibud says:

    Even if the bill passes without Steve Dreihaus’s vote, he will be toast. Once can’t win in this district without a huge turnout of the African American vote and if they think he tried to kneecap Obama they won’t be terribly motivated come Nov.

    I may have to rethink my pledge to vote for odious Chabot in that case though.

  6. 6
    Mike Kay says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Rahm must of got to him! Bastrd!

  7. 7
    soonergrunt says:

    Look guys, just because we don’t agree with them doesn’t mean that Stupak and whatever cadre he has left aren’t making a stand for a principle they believe is right.
    I don’t think they’ve chosen the right ground to die upon, but to them it has to make sense on some level.
    At some level, this has to be worthy of some respect if we as a society are to get along with each other.

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    What do they actually gain?

    Stop trying to apply logic. There’s no reasoning with a cowering Blue Dog.

  9. 9
    Tim F. says:

    @soonergrunt: Stupak doesn’t deserve one goddamn ounce of respect until he makes a logically or factually coherent argument to defend his vote.

  10. 10
    wvng says:


    If what they were saying was true I might have more respect for them. But it is not. If Stupak were to be consistent, he would have insisted on an amendment to the bill that would eliminate the employer tax subsidy for any insurance plan that includes abortion coverage. He didn’t.

  11. 11
    4tehlulz says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: The power of Rahm’s “finger” is immense.

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    Soonergrunt, Stupak is a particularly egregious example of principle. We all know for a fact that free prenatal care, health insurance for the mother and father, and everything else that this bill is going to guarantee will lower the number of abortions performed in this country because it will decrease the economic pressure on pregnant women and their families. No one who was seriously anti-abortion and not also anti poor people and their families would ever vote against it. Stupak’s arguments, such as they are, have been a tissue of lies from beginning to end and he knows it or, if he doesn’t, he’s too stupid to be ascribed the position “principled” any more than a one celled organism gets called “principled” for continuing to follow its programming and consuming, reproducing, and dying.


  13. 13

    The Rahmattolah got to Michael Moore.

  14. 14
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:


    Would you say the same of Kucinich if he voted against the bill? Politics can be judged only by outcomes, not intentions. Sure, on some level as private citizens I respect their right to be antiabortion. But their “right” to make a quixotic stand for abortion against a bill that would do nothing to change the status quo, especially since most politicians would consider having their name on positive legislation like this a boon?

  15. 15
    Bulworth says:

    Doesn’t seem as if the abortion differences between the House and Senate bills are all that much to shout about.

  16. 16
    ellaesther says:

    I love that this is a “programming note” — like, for reality!

    Please note: The world may soon appear to have shifted off its axis, but do not be alarmed and do not adjust your sets.

  17. 17
    Ash Can says:

    @ellaesther: And whatever you do, don’t panic!

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    Catholic Nuns Hate Stupak:

    Some 60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns Wednesday sent lawmakers a letter urging them to pass the Senate health care bill. It contains restrictions on abortion funding that the bishops say don’t go far enough.__
    The letter says that “despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.” The letter says the legislation also will help support pregnant women and “this is the real pro-life stance.”


  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:


    The Senate restrictions are slightly less odious, which is why Stupak’s People are having a hissy fit. Women might actually be able to use their own money to buy insurance coverage for abortions while getting a reduced rate on their regular insurance! No no no!

    Until the Hyde Amendment is repealed, we’re unfortunately stuck with really idiotic restrictions on abortion.

  20. 20
    Comrade Mary says:

    @aimai: That’s amazing. And vaguely terrifying. (Yes, I was taught by nuns, at least some of the time. You don’t mess with the Brides of Christ.)

  21. 21
    aimai says:

    I don’t even think that Stupak’s people hate the Senate version because its slightly less odious. I think Stupak himself is totally anti Health Care Reform. He choose abortion language because he actually thought it would be a poison pill in the house, and he’s fighting now against the House accepting the Senate bill not because that’s a logical thing to do to recapture his own language but because he’s fighting to destroy health care and Obama’s presidency. The fact that that asshole was working hand in glove with the rest of the C street faction is enough to tell you that he hates women and their sex lives and democrats and liberals more than he cares about any particular language in any individual bill.

    Can you tell that Jeff Sharlet is speaking at my kid’s school this week? I’m so excited!


  22. 22
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @ellaesther: Yeah, it’s a terrific literary device, eh?

    BTW- I posted a link for the article about the Imam on your blog in the MLK post. I fell asleep and didn’t see the request til this AM.

  23. 23
    El Cid says:

    I for one am tired of people thinking the answer to our problems is more government intervention in the freemarket, when what we need is free insurance companies to act in more efficient, market-driven manners.

    For example:

    Insurer targeted HIV patients to drop coverage

    Murray Waas | Reuters

    In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance…

    …In 2004, a jury in Florence County, South Carolina, ordered Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc, to pay Mitchell $15 million for wrongly revoking his heath insurance policy. In September 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s verdict, although the court reduced the amount to be paid him to $10 million.

    By winning the verdict against Fortis, Mitchell not only obtained a measure of justice for himself; he also helped expose wrongdoing on the part of Fortis that could have repercussions for the entire health insurance industry.

    Previously undisclosed records from Mitchell’s case reveal that Fortis had a company policy of targeting policyholders with HIV. A computer program and algorithm targeted every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke their policy. As was the case with Mitchell, their insurance policies often were canceled on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason at all, according to the court documents and interviews with state and federal investigators.

    …[T]wo orders written by the presiding judge, Michael G. Nettles, a state circuit judge for the 12th Judicial District of South Carolina, of Florence County, describe the case in detail. Judge Nettles wrote the orders in response to motions by Assurant that the jury’s verdict be set aside or reduced.

    In the motions, Nettles not only strongly denied Fortis’ claims but condemned the corporation’s conduct.

    There was evidence that Fortis’ general counsel insisted years ago that members of the rescission committee not record the identity of the persons present and involved in the process of making a decision to rescind a Fortis health insurance policy,” Nettles wrote.

    Elsewhere in his order, Nettles noted that there were no “minutes of actions, votes, or any business conducted during the rescission committee’s meeting.”

    Now, would any of you want big gubmit Obamacare interfering with this attempt by a private corporation to reduce its costs in the name of efficiency?

    Also, shame on you Stalinist liberals for making a good company have to hide all evidence of what it was doing in order to protect it from big gubmit stormtroopers.

  24. 24
    kay says:


    I defended him for a little while, but I was wrong. His position is incoherent, and it changes all the time. First he said he was simply opposed to “taxpayer money funding abortion”. He denied, over and over, that his amendment was intended to reduce access to abortion.

    Here he is insisting his amendment tracks Hyde:

    “While many accusations have been thrown around in recent months, the intent behind our amendment is simple and clear: to continue current law, which says that there should be no federal financing of abortions. Our intent was not to change, add or take anything away from federal law.”

    Then he came out with this:

    What are Democratic leaders saying?“If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,”Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

    Come on. That second statement is indefensible. Not only does it contradict the position he claimed for 3 months, he’s accusing the vast majority of Democrats in Congress of somehow promoting abortion to cut health care costs.

    I mean, really. I feel as if I make an honest effort to be tolerant of religious, but give me a fucking break.

    Those are fighting words, and he went on media outlets to deliver them.

    He blew his own credibility. Democratic leadership didn’t say one word attacking him, and he threw a bomb at all of them. He’s a sleazy and dishonest fighter.

  25. 25
    robertdsc says:

    Speaking of programming notes, the “Consistently Wrong Since 2002” line at the top of the page has changed. LMAO!

  26. 26
    socraticsilence says:

    Yesterday i ran into a new talking point about the bill- its not the most important piece of progressive legislation in 30 years- because see Clinton passed the 1993 Deficit reduction act- which raised Taxes on the higher income brackets. (Yes, this is a real argument; yes, it was a politically courageous thing; no, reducing the deficit and shifting the Tax Burden is not as significant as taking the first steps towards Universal Care).

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    @aimai: I agree. Stupak, for whatever set of reasons, was found to be a good vessel through which HCR blockers thought they could work. Yes, he is an anti-abortion nut, but this just made him more useful. He knew very well he was placed to destroy HCR. And I think that was his goal.

  28. 28
    Ash Can says:

    @robertdsc: OMG! That is too fucking funny! Thanks for pointing that out!

  29. 29
    kay says:


    “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,”Stupak says.

    Sniveling little coward didn’t attach a name to that, did he?

    Who is making this argument, Bart? I think he has a moral duty to reveal which Democrat told him “more children will be born if we pass the Stupak Amendment, and therefore it will cost us millions more”.

    That’s a really over the top charge. Which Democrat made that argument?

  30. 30
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Hell, at this point *I’d* vote for this health insurance bill. But only because I’m interested in moving on to the next big legislative challenge and finding out which of my constitutional rights next need to be abbrogated for the greater good.

  31. 31
    KCinDC says:

    Only 3 percent of liberals are opposed to passing the bill. At this point Sirota and Hamsher should be ignored, but like the PUMAs they’ll continue to get media attention far out of proportion to their actual support because the media *love* to talk about divisions on the left.

  32. 32
    jibeaux says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You know, not to be a spelling Nazi, but it’s “abrogated.” It’s only significant because you wouldn’t want to look like one of those teabaggers talking about how we need a Constitutional “ammendment” or how the Constitution requires 60 votes in the Senate, now would we? Kind of want to look like we’ve read the thing, and some things about the thing.

  33. 33
    Houstonian says:

    Just called my Rep’s office again (Sheila Jackson Lee – D-TX-18). For the first time ever I got a busy signal. It probably took me five minutes of consistent redialing to get through.

    The staffer was very nice and said they’d been getting inundated with “vote no” calls – mostly from out of state – and that the callers were doing a lot of screaming. She said it was really nice to get a “vote yes” call for a change. We chatted about the busy signals and she said the phone calls are just nuts right now.

    So if you’ve got a Congressperson out there who is supporting the bill, it’s not a bad idea to phone and let them know you support their “yes vote.” The staffers are happy to have a break from being yelled at by irate teabagger types. And it’s a good idea to let them know the supporters are here too.

  34. 34
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @jibeaux: Yeah, I realized I’d put in an extra B after I posted but I didn’t get an edit option. Edit is hit and miss these days.

    Oh yeah, and fuck you.

  35. 35
    Just Some Fuckhead says:


    At this point Sirota and Hamsher should be ignored, but like the PUMAs they’ll continue to get media attention far out of proportion to their actual support because the media love to talk about divisions on the left.

    Oddly, they get near universal attention here. Must be a weird media time warp confluence thing.

  36. 36
    snarkout says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    You certainly do mess with the Brides of Christ, if you are both the Pope and a right-wing creep: Areas of concern are … views on homosexuality, the ordination of women, and the Vatican declaration Dominus Iesus, which asserts that Jesus is the unique and only road to salvation.

  37. 37
    minachica says:

    @aimai: This.

    I actually believe that Stupak is a stealth candidate for the dominionist fundies, an attempt to steeplejack the Democratic party. It makes me imagine a tin-foil hat on my head when I say it, but I really think it’s likely.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I has a confused. You have a uterus? Or are you saying you want us to call you Loretta?

  39. 39
    soonergrunt says:

    I’m not saying their tactics are laudable or that we should just forgive them their trespasses either. I’m pretty sure that I would never agree with most of what he believes.
    I’m saying that we have to recognise the fervor with which they hold their positions, and that is worthy of respect to some extent. It doesn’t make them right by any means, but I guarantee you all that the kind of things that we are saying here are repeatedly said about us by people who do not respect us or our beliefs.

  40. 40
    Tax Analyst says:


    Please note: The world may soon appear to have shifted off its axis, but do not be alarmed and do not adjust your sets.

    Kind of reminds me of the opening of the old TV show, “The Outer Limits”.

  41. 41
    Tax Analyst says:


    Speaking of programming notes, the “Consistently Wrong Since 2002” line at the top of the page has changed. LMAO!

    I noticed that, too. It was worth at least a couple giggles when I was not in a particularly giggly mood.

  42. 42
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Tax Analyst Quoting robertdsc:

    Speaking of programming notes, the “Consistently Wrong Since 2002” line at the top of the page has changed. LMAO!

    That might be funny on a site like FDL. Here, it oughta say:

    “Have You Accepted President Obama as Your Personal Savior? Ask Us How.”

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:


    I has a confused. You have a uterus?

    This is interesting. Are you saying women should have an issue with their equality rights being damaged by this bill?

  44. 44
    Mike Kay says:


    Sirota is still alive? I haven’t heard of him in ages. I thought he ended it all, after Edwards dropped out.

  45. 45
    jayackroyd says:

    It’s gonna be a one vote margin. Get over it. The marguin doesn’t matter.

    But fucking do all you can to get Stupak out of there.

    Defying the caucus and core principles should have consequences. Not to mention the lying thing.

  46. 46
    jayackroyd says:


    Then do NOT read Jeff Sharlet’s book about the C Street family, who have been subsidizing Stupak’s rent. You will see black helicopters in your dreams.

  47. 47

    […] might be part of the expected ass-covering that I predicted earlier, in which case it could actually be good news, but I wouldn’t count on […]

  48. 48

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