Because Blaming the Minority Opposition Party is Easier Than Owning Up to Having Aligned Yourself With a Party For Whom Abortion is a Sacrament
Our old friend Tony A (a.k.a. Morning's Minion) just can't help himself when it comes to waving the partisan flag. It seems he wants to pretend that the Republicans are the biggest roadblock to ensuring that the pro-life Stupak Amendment is part of whatever final health care reform package might come out of a House-Senate conference:
... So, where do we go from here? I think the pro-choice groups were in shock after Sunday’s vote, but they are rapidly regrouping. This is not over. There is, however, one way that a bill like this that includes the Stupak amendment can pass – if enough principled Republicans step up to support it. Can it be that Joseph Cao is the only principled Republican on this issue? The pro-life Democrats have proved their mettle. They stood up on principle and faced down the House leadership. Now it is the Republicans’ turn. Can at least some of them stand up for universal healthcare that excludes all abortion funding? Can they not follow the lead of the USCCB? Or will they stick to their meaningless and wholly inaccurate slogans like “socialized” medicine and the “government takeover” of healthcare? ...(emphasis added)
Huh? It was pro-life House Republicans who joined with the pro-life Democrats to ensure passage of the Stupak Amendment in the first place. And they voted for the pro-life language despite the fact that its inclusion made passage of a bill they opposed more likely. They, along with the pro-life House Democrats, have more than proven their pro-life bona fides.
So, no, it is NOT the minority "Republicans' turn" to step up and prove anything. The ball is squarely in the court of Tony's own party, which has a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a significant majority in the House. They now have a pro-life health care bill with which to work. The main objection to the bill from pro-lifers and from the Catholic Bishops has now been removed. Now what will THEY do with it? Will they retain the pro-life language and thus preserve the smoothest route to passage of a health care reform bill? Or will they strip the language out to appease Moloch? If they're serious about getting a health care bill, they'll opt for the former.
There is now absolutely nothing stopping such a bill from moving to passage ... except, that is, for the Democrats' own bloodlust for abortion. You see, it seems that there are a significant number of Congressional Democrats who would rather see health care reform fail altogether than have health care reform that doesn't fund abortion.
Ah, but it's the insignificant minority party who stands in the way of meaningful pro-life health care reform getting done. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Next, Tony does his best Kmiec impersonation and tries to pass President Obama off as some sort of stealth pro-lifer:
And what about Obama? I think Obama should encourage all to maintain the Stupak amendment. After all, it fits with what he has said previously, and this has drawn the ire of the pro-choice groups:"Sloganeering over substance"? This from the guy who just a little later makes this comment about Thomas Peters of American Papist:In 1993, Hillary Clinton explicitly told Congress that she expected pregnancy and abortion to be treated in health reform like any other medical service. This year, though, Obama sent a different message, telling Katie Couric in July, “I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care”.Oh, but isn’t he supposed to be the most pro-abortion president ever….or is that yet again an example of sloganeering over substance?
Peters cannot be taken seriously. His “American Principles Project” is an ugly neocon Palinist outfit.Tony, ever the man of substance, would never dream of resorting to cheap, shorthand sloganeering that merely amounts to "those other guys over there are bad because they're not part of my tribe".
But let's get back to Tony's assertion that the President is stealthily supporting Stupak's efforts. Uh, uh, uh. Not so fast, Tony. In an interview yesterday with ABC, the President indicated that Stupak might have to be scaled back in order to provide more "balance":
TAPPER: Here's a question a lot of Senate Democrats want to know. You said, when you gave your joint address to Congress, that under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions. This amendment passed Saturday night which not only prohibits abortion coverage in the public option, but also prohibits women who receive subsidies from taking out plans that -- that provide abortion coverage. Does that meet the promise that you set out or does it over reach, does it go too far?(emphasis added)
OBAMA: You know, I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. And we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.
And I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test -- that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we're not restricting women's insurance choices, because one of the pledges I made in that same speech was to say that if you're happy and satisfied with the insurance that you have, that it's not going to change.
So, you know, this is going to be a complex set of negotiations. I'm confident that we can actually arrive at this place where neither side feels that it's being betrayed. But it's going to take some time.
TAPPER: Do you think that amendment is status quo or does it lean a little bit in one direction or the other?
OBAMA: I think that there are strong feelings on both sides. And what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we're not changing the status quo. And that's the goal. The goal here is to make sure that people who have health insurance have greater stability and security, people who don't have health insurance get the ability to buy it affordably and that we're driving down costs. And, you know, I think everybody understands that there's going to be work to be done on the Senate side. It's not going to match up perfectly with the House side...
Looks like the Stupak language is in big trouble with the members of Tony's party. So, then, let's get back to Tony's question: What ARE the next steps? Well, the first step is to stop bashing the insignificant minority in opposition and start holding your own party's feet to the fire. For example, what is the price you're willing to make the Democrats pay if they successfully strip Stupak out of the final health care reform package? Not that I actually believed that he would follow through, but Michael Sean Winters had the right idea a few months back when he threatened:
... if the President or my representatives in Congress support federal funding for abortion in any way, shape or form, I will never vote for them again and I might risk my right hand in the next election by voting for their opponent ...Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it. But Winters is on the right track. So, I ask again: Is there going to be a price to be paid by Democrats among their Catholic and pro-life supporters if they successfully strip pro-life language - language that is already currently in the House version of the bill - if they strip that language out to appease the abortion advocates in their party base?
And what of the Catholics in Congress who might vote to strip out the Stupak language? It's one thing to claim to be personally opposed, but ... ; it's quite another thing to vote to remove pro-life language from a bill for the purpose of allowing federal funds - taxpayer dollars - to pay for abortions. At that point, those Catholic politicians will have crossed the line into formal cooperation with an intrinsic evil.
And above and beyond how the "progressive" lay Catholic will react to such a move, how will the Bishops respond to Catholic politicians who vote to strip from the bill the same pro-life language for which the Bishops have so strenuously lobbied? Regardless of how the Bishops respond, it is clear that there are some members of Tony's party who are issuing threats and looking to legally punish the Bishops for their "bullying" tactics and "political interference" in the debate thus far.
In Tony's defense, if these were the people with whom I had politically aligned myself, I suppose I'd be trying to change the subject, too, by continually hammering away at the out-of-power, out-of-favor, and out-of-ideas minority party.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
A Big Pro Ecclesia Thank You ...