Bart Stupak, the pro-life Democratic congressman from Michigan, went from a hero to a goat in a single moment. With his blocking of the health care reform bill unless it included anti-abortion provisions, pro-lifers were thinking they too might be able to become Democrats after all. But then came his press conference in which he agreed to accept the bill on the basis of a presidential executive order saying tax money will not be used to pay for abortions, something that can’t be enforced in the courts, can be changed at will, and doesn’t matter anyway since segregating money means as little as putting it in your right pocket rather than your left. So now BOTH pro-lifers AND pro-abortioners are mad at him. The whole performance inspired Kathleen Parker, who is no right-winger, to coin a new word:
Etymology: Eponym for Rep. Bart Stupak.
1: In a legislative process, to obstruct passage of a proposed law on the basis of a moral principle (i.e., protecting the unborn), accumulating power in the process, then at a key moment surrendering in exchange for a fig leaf, the size of which varies according to the degree of emasculation of said legislator and/or as a reflection of just how stupid people are presumed to be. (Slang: backstabber.)
Poor Bart Stupak. The man tried to be a hero for the unborn, and then, when all the power of the moment was in his frail human hands, he dropped the baby. He genuflected when he should have dug in his heels and gave it up for a meaningless executive order.
Now, in the wake of his decision to vote for a health-care bill that expands public funding for abortion, he is vilified and will forever be remembered as the guy who Stupaked health-care reform and the pro-life movement. . . .
Stupak’s clumsy fall from grace is a lesson in human frailty. In a matter of hours, he went from representing the majority of Americans who don’t want public money spent on abortion to leading the army on the other side.
Something must have gone bump in the night.
Whatever it was, demonizing Stupak seems excessive and redundant given punishments to come. Already he has lost a speaking invitation to the Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast next month. His political future, otherwise, may have been foretold by a late-night anecdote.
After the Sunday vote, a group of Democrats, including Stupak, gathered in a pub to celebrate. In a biblical moment, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner was spotted planting a big kiss on Stupak’s cheek.
To a Catholic man well versed in the Gospel, this is not a comforting gesture.
Use the verb “stupak” in a sentence to bring up other examples of people standing up for principle only to cave when it mattered most.