Eric is a little understandably frustrated the GOP could have had Pelosi’s health care bill dead as a doornail if they had just not floated the Stupak Amendment to restrict abortion coverage in the bill. By voting for Stupak, the GOP allowed the Dems to pick up a number of key votes they needed in order to pass. I also wonder whether Stupak was strategically smart for the purpose of stopping Pelosicare, but I’m also aware that it’s not a guarantee the bill would have been stopped, and that the GOP has to consider what pro-life voters are going to think.
It’s a tough position for the GOP to be in. Imagine if there had been an assault weapons ban attached to the health care bill? Would we have forgiven the GOP for just letting it happen? Probably not. The GOP did what it had to do to placate an important constituency that votes in large numbers. I’m sympathetic to arguments that they could have used the abortion issue to kill health care entirely, possibly by voting “present” on the bill. But can you imagine the backlash if that had happened, and Pelosi managed to pick up the votes for passage anyway? Pelosi barely passed this bill, but I wouldn’t make the mistake of believing she didn’t have several other Blue Dog Dems who were willing to switch their votes to yes if needed. She got as many votes as she needed to pass, and then let the other Blue Dogs save their seats by voting no.
I am with Eric on the abortion issue, as it does not rank that high on my list of issues, and I don’t advocate it being illegal. But I’m also aware it’s a powerful issue for driving votes. While neither Bitter nor I are anti-abortion activists, my anti-gun Congressman, Patrick Murphy, voted in favor of Pelosicare and against the Stupak Amendment, while claiming to be a good Catholic. Come election time, I will have no compunction about going around to the catholic churches in the neighborhoods during mass, and doing lit drops to let people know how Murphy voted.Â Any chair in a bar fight.