To stupak

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:

Stupak.

Etymology: Eponym for Rep. Bart Stupak.

Function: verb

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.

via Kathleen Parker – Stupak’s fall from pro-life grace – washingtonpost.com.

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.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Judas, an “Apostle,” Stupaked Jesus.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Judas, an “Apostle,” Stupaked Jesus.

  • http://scottmoonen.com/ Scott Moonen

    Unsurprisingly, there is good reason to believe that the entire thing was a charade, and there is no reason for sympathy or to attribute it to clumsiness. Here is Stupak contemplating this last year: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/299668.php

  • http://scottmoonen.com/ Scott Moonen

    Unsurprisingly, there is good reason to believe that the entire thing was a charade, and there is no reason for sympathy or to attribute it to clumsiness. Here is Stupak contemplating this last year: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/299668.php

  • colliebear56

    1: Stupak – noun Extremely delusional and helpless individual, believing himself to be the fount of all wisdom. Demonstrated by inability to get off the tracks when he sees the freight train coming.

  • colliebear56

    1: Stupak – noun Extremely delusional and helpless individual, believing himself to be the fount of all wisdom. Demonstrated by inability to get off the tracks when he sees the freight train coming.

  • colliebear56

    2: Stupak – verb. Used in reference to over-reaching governmental bodies with temporary custody of the legislature who pass laws that clearly violate the people’s will.

  • colliebear56

    2: Stupak – verb. Used in reference to over-reaching governmental bodies with temporary custody of the legislature who pass laws that clearly violate the people’s will.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s Glenn Foden’s cartoon from March 22.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s Glenn Foden’s cartoon from March 22.

  • Jerry

    Not just Judas, but all the 12 apostles Stupaked Jesus–much as we continue to do today. In a parallel thought, God chose Mary, not because she was deserving, but because she was nothing and had nothing to lose?

  • Jerry

    Not just Judas, but all the 12 apostles Stupaked Jesus–much as we continue to do today. In a parallel thought, God chose Mary, not because she was deserving, but because she was nothing and had nothing to lose?

  • Jonathan

    This ridicule of Stupak shows only what a sanctimonious farce the ‘pro life movement’ – and, apparently, conservative Lutherans – really are.

  • Jonathan

    This ridicule of Stupak shows only what a sanctimonious farce the ‘pro life movement’ – and, apparently, conservative Lutherans – really are.

  • http://www.ifyoucouldreadmymind.wordpress.com Lisa R.

    Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan! Why is it “sanctimonious” to recognize and call out a betrayal when one sees it? The “dropping of the baby” by this man, whether because of political/personal pressure by the Dems or because it was all a ruse (as some have suggested), is literally that: He abandoned future unborn children to state-sanctioned, state-funded abortion. No, he didn’t accomplish this alone, but he will forever be the ONE that people can name because of his supposed pro-life stance. I believe the man has earned his place in infamy.

  • http://www.ifyoucouldreadmymind.wordpress.com Lisa R.

    Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan! Why is it “sanctimonious” to recognize and call out a betrayal when one sees it? The “dropping of the baby” by this man, whether because of political/personal pressure by the Dems or because it was all a ruse (as some have suggested), is literally that: He abandoned future unborn children to state-sanctioned, state-funded abortion. No, he didn’t accomplish this alone, but he will forever be the ONE that people can name because of his supposed pro-life stance. I believe the man has earned his place in infamy.

  • John C

    Apparently, nuns from some Catholic orders defied their Bishops and supported the health bill. But then we all know that Bishops care more about the unborn than nuns.
    ( I apologise for the above comment. I’ve been watching Glen Beck and I just got carried away)

  • John C

    Apparently, nuns from some Catholic orders defied their Bishops and supported the health bill. But then we all know that Bishops care more about the unborn than nuns.
    ( I apologise for the above comment. I’ve been watching Glen Beck and I just got carried away)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Ross Douthat, who is strong pro-life and skeptical of the Obama executive order, is struck by the loneliness of Stupak position in that he has managed to alienate both his labor base and the pro-life advocates.
    He, also, thinks that avid pro-life advocates in severely criticizing Stupak run the risk of isolating themselves. He writes:

    Given this isolation, I’m inclined to feel a certain sympathy for Stupak, rather than outrage at his perfidy. …Without the existence of the Stupak bloc, the legislation could have turned out much worse for abortion opponents.) There’s been a lot of talk on the right about how his eleventh-hour surrender marks “the death of the pro-life Democrat.” But that possibility should be the occasion for serious soul-searching among conservative pro-lifers, rather than just satisfaction about having been right about the Democratic Party all along. After all, there are still pro-life Democrats for a reason: Because many abortion opponents can’t reconcile their views on social justice with the harder-edged, “any redistribution equals socialism” tendencies in the Republican Party. Some of these pro-lifers are older Catholic Democrats like Stupak; some of them are younger Americans who are hostile to abortion but don’t vote on the issue because they can’t imagine themselves being represented by the party of Limbaugh and Beck. A successful pro-life politics desperately needs these constituencies to find representation — and if there’s no place for anti-abortion sentiment among the Democrats, then pro-lifers need the Republican Party to feel hospitable to voters whose impulses on social policy tend in a more communitarian direction.

    Douthat is a bright, young, house-conservative writer for the New York Times. I often disagree with him but pay close attention to him. He is a conservative who makes a serious attempt to find some sort of common ground with centrist liberals, much like Dr. Veith.

    Frankly, having thought about it, I regret the harsh post at 1.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Ross Douthat, who is strong pro-life and skeptical of the Obama executive order, is struck by the loneliness of Stupak position in that he has managed to alienate both his labor base and the pro-life advocates.
    He, also, thinks that avid pro-life advocates in severely criticizing Stupak run the risk of isolating themselves. He writes:

    Given this isolation, I’m inclined to feel a certain sympathy for Stupak, rather than outrage at his perfidy. …Without the existence of the Stupak bloc, the legislation could have turned out much worse for abortion opponents.) There’s been a lot of talk on the right about how his eleventh-hour surrender marks “the death of the pro-life Democrat.” But that possibility should be the occasion for serious soul-searching among conservative pro-lifers, rather than just satisfaction about having been right about the Democratic Party all along. After all, there are still pro-life Democrats for a reason: Because many abortion opponents can’t reconcile their views on social justice with the harder-edged, “any redistribution equals socialism” tendencies in the Republican Party. Some of these pro-lifers are older Catholic Democrats like Stupak; some of them are younger Americans who are hostile to abortion but don’t vote on the issue because they can’t imagine themselves being represented by the party of Limbaugh and Beck. A successful pro-life politics desperately needs these constituencies to find representation — and if there’s no place for anti-abortion sentiment among the Democrats, then pro-lifers need the Republican Party to feel hospitable to voters whose impulses on social policy tend in a more communitarian direction.

    Douthat is a bright, young, house-conservative writer for the New York Times. I often disagree with him but pay close attention to him. He is a conservative who makes a serious attempt to find some sort of common ground with centrist liberals, much like Dr. Veith.

    Frankly, having thought about it, I regret the harsh post at 1.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jerry, good point.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jerry, good point.

  • Andy

    I marvel at Parker’s inept attempt to conjure Judas by noting that Rep. Weiner “planted a big kiss on Stupak’s cheek.” For those who don’t know, Judas betrayed Christ to the ‘religious right’ of his day with a kiss. So she makes Weiner (a Jewish man) Judas and Stupak (a Catholic) Christ. Brilliant.

    By the way, here’s the portion of the bill dealing with abortion funding.

    “SEC. 265. LIMITATION ON ABORTION FUNDING.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act)may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”

  • Andy

    I marvel at Parker’s inept attempt to conjure Judas by noting that Rep. Weiner “planted a big kiss on Stupak’s cheek.” For those who don’t know, Judas betrayed Christ to the ‘religious right’ of his day with a kiss. So she makes Weiner (a Jewish man) Judas and Stupak (a Catholic) Christ. Brilliant.

    By the way, here’s the portion of the bill dealing with abortion funding.

    “SEC. 265. LIMITATION ON ABORTION FUNDING.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act)may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”

  • Andy

    So, Judas kissed Christ, a sign of betrayal. And Parker says that Weiner (a Jew) kissed Stupak (a Catholic). I don’t think she got the analogy right.

    Here’s what the bill says about….
    SEC. 265. LIMITATION ON ABORTION FUNDING.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act)may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”

  • Andy

    So, Judas kissed Christ, a sign of betrayal. And Parker says that Weiner (a Jew) kissed Stupak (a Catholic). I don’t think she got the analogy right.

    Here’s what the bill says about….
    SEC. 265. LIMITATION ON ABORTION FUNDING.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act)may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”

  • Andy

    I apologize for the double posts @12, 13. When @12 didn’t post, I figured it had disappeared. So I rewrote it, then pasted again the abortion funding language from the bill.

  • Andy

    I apologize for the double posts @12, 13. When @12 didn’t post, I figured it had disappeared. So I rewrote it, then pasted again the abortion funding language from the bill.

  • wayne .pelling

    Politicians are bananas whatever country they are in. They enter parliament/congress green and then turn yellow

  • wayne .pelling

    Politicians are bananas whatever country they are in. They enter parliament/congress green and then turn yellow

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I find myself unable to determine with any certainty what this bill will do for abortion funding, because I can find any number of well-reasoned arguments either way.

    So I must resort to making these observations instead. There is not an obvious correlation between people who are pro-life and people who now dislike Stupak. Some pro-life people think he did some good, that the executive order or the bill itself do, in fact, prevent abortion funding. Others disagree.

    There is, however, an apparently strong correlation between people who once praised Stupak (and now condemn him) and people who never liked the bill in the first place, for many more reasons than anything to do with abortion funding.

    Which makes me wonder: How much of all this is about Stupak and abortion funding, and how much of it is just about the health care bill itself?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I find myself unable to determine with any certainty what this bill will do for abortion funding, because I can find any number of well-reasoned arguments either way.

    So I must resort to making these observations instead. There is not an obvious correlation between people who are pro-life and people who now dislike Stupak. Some pro-life people think he did some good, that the executive order or the bill itself do, in fact, prevent abortion funding. Others disagree.

    There is, however, an apparently strong correlation between people who once praised Stupak (and now condemn him) and people who never liked the bill in the first place, for many more reasons than anything to do with abortion funding.

    Which makes me wonder: How much of all this is about Stupak and abortion funding, and how much of it is just about the health care bill itself?

  • moallen

    Looking around it is apparent that National Right to Life knows the new bill will fund abortion and the Presidential Executive Order is meaningless. Likewise abortion proponents. This is one thing on which both those who oppose abortion and those who support abortion agree: this bill will fund abortion and the Executive Order is meaningless. Stupak, being a lawyer, knows this too.

  • moallen

    Looking around it is apparent that National Right to Life knows the new bill will fund abortion and the Presidential Executive Order is meaningless. Likewise abortion proponents. This is one thing on which both those who oppose abortion and those who support abortion agree: this bill will fund abortion and the Executive Order is meaningless. Stupak, being a lawyer, knows this too.

  • Carl Vehse

    Surprise, surprise. Here’s some of what the article, “After health care vote, Stupak 11 request billions in earmarks,” has to say:

    “A day after Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and ten other House members compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass health care reform, the “Stupak 11″ released their fiscal year 2011 earmark requests, which total more than $4.7 billion–an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each lawmaker.”

    “Stupak requested more than $578 million in earmarks, including $125 million for a replacement lock on the Sault Ste. Marie, $25.6 million to build a federal courthouse in Marquette, Mich., $15 million to repaint the Mackinac Bridge and $800,000 to preserve the Quincy Mining Company smelter near Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

    “Stupak requested a $4 million earmark for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that researches and develops new strains of seeds–including through genetic engineering–to aid U.S. agriculture.”

    This brings back the old punchline, “We know what you are; we’re just haggling over the price.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Surprise, surprise. Here’s some of what the article, “After health care vote, Stupak 11 request billions in earmarks,” has to say:

    “A day after Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and ten other House members compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass health care reform, the “Stupak 11″ released their fiscal year 2011 earmark requests, which total more than $4.7 billion–an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each lawmaker.”

    “Stupak requested more than $578 million in earmarks, including $125 million for a replacement lock on the Sault Ste. Marie, $25.6 million to build a federal courthouse in Marquette, Mich., $15 million to repaint the Mackinac Bridge and $800,000 to preserve the Quincy Mining Company smelter near Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

    “Stupak requested a $4 million earmark for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that researches and develops new strains of seeds–including through genetic engineering–to aid U.S. agriculture.”

    This brings back the old punchline, “We know what you are; we’re just haggling over the price.”

  • colliebear56

    I think people are upset mainly because Rep Stupak said one thing i.e., “we’re not going to have public funding for abortions”, see approx 2:30 min mark at link:

    Frank Beckmann’s show: 3/21/10 http://tinyurl.com/ygh4k5s

    and then settled for the executive order, something relatively toothless and subject to be overturned at whim by the President. It doesn’t come near to the effectiveness of the amendment he offered to the House healthcare bill 3200.

    Today, there’s an interview with Rep Patrick Kennedy at CNS news.com:

    CNSNews.com: The (Stupak)-Pitts amendment said that no federal funds can go to “cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” And President Obama’s executive order only says that the money a health plan uses to pay for abortions must be, ”segregated” from the federal funds it receives. So, since Obama’s order allows federal funds to pay for some parts of health plans that cover abortion, doesn’t Obama’s order violate the plain language of the Stupak amendment?

    Rep Kennedy: “Yeah, obviously there’s going to be some legal decisions that are going to be coming forward, I’m sure that are going to adjudicate this.”
    Interview with Rep Patrick Kennedy: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/63365

    Are we supposed to believe that Rep Stupak was not aware that the executive order was going to take a trip through the legal system, where it will be invalidated?

    I realize that all politicians, of all stripes, and both major parties seem to be quite skilled at prevarication, but in this case, with this emotional issue, it’s extremely disheartening to hear a congressman promote one side so passionately and then cave at the very last moment when it mattered most.

    We live in SE Michigan, not the North part where Rep Stupak’s district is, but I’m ashamed for our State. Another negative for Michigan.

    How do voters make decisions come time to vote? If you can’t even stand on principle on this issue, and Bart Stupak made an enormous big deal out of it, for months, what can you trust him on? I, personally, resent the ride he took us on. Sorry for the blather, but I’m angry. Politicians must come in better qualities than this.

  • colliebear56

    I think people are upset mainly because Rep Stupak said one thing i.e., “we’re not going to have public funding for abortions”, see approx 2:30 min mark at link:

    Frank Beckmann’s show: 3/21/10 http://tinyurl.com/ygh4k5s

    and then settled for the executive order, something relatively toothless and subject to be overturned at whim by the President. It doesn’t come near to the effectiveness of the amendment he offered to the House healthcare bill 3200.

    Today, there’s an interview with Rep Patrick Kennedy at CNS news.com:

    CNSNews.com: The (Stupak)-Pitts amendment said that no federal funds can go to “cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” And President Obama’s executive order only says that the money a health plan uses to pay for abortions must be, ”segregated” from the federal funds it receives. So, since Obama’s order allows federal funds to pay for some parts of health plans that cover abortion, doesn’t Obama’s order violate the plain language of the Stupak amendment?

    Rep Kennedy: “Yeah, obviously there’s going to be some legal decisions that are going to be coming forward, I’m sure that are going to adjudicate this.”
    Interview with Rep Patrick Kennedy: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/63365

    Are we supposed to believe that Rep Stupak was not aware that the executive order was going to take a trip through the legal system, where it will be invalidated?

    I realize that all politicians, of all stripes, and both major parties seem to be quite skilled at prevarication, but in this case, with this emotional issue, it’s extremely disheartening to hear a congressman promote one side so passionately and then cave at the very last moment when it mattered most.

    We live in SE Michigan, not the North part where Rep Stupak’s district is, but I’m ashamed for our State. Another negative for Michigan.

    How do voters make decisions come time to vote? If you can’t even stand on principle on this issue, and Bart Stupak made an enormous big deal out of it, for months, what can you trust him on? I, personally, resent the ride he took us on. Sorry for the blather, but I’m angry. Politicians must come in better qualities than this.


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