Stupak gets his vote

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The decision of the House leadership to allow a vote on Rep. Bart Stupak’s robust pro-life amendment is, of course, bad news for pro-choicers, and a big win for the Catholic bishops, who played hardball and are now on top. But it confronts House Republicans with an interesting dilemma. They can vote en masse for the amendment, get it in the bill they hate, and thereby improve the bill’s chances of passage by depriving themselves of a critical talking point and bringing on board the USCCB and some staunch pro-life Blue Dogs.

Under the circumstances, you wonder whether the GOP leadership will contrive some way of preventing passage–such as by arranging for some members not to vote, or sending signals that such pro-choice members as there may be should vote their consciences. Perhaps it’s no accident that, as Gilgoff notes, the Family Research Council has not used abortion as the basis for its opposition to health care reform. Maybe they know something.

  • Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    “Pro-choice Republicans?” WHAT pro-choice Republicans? There ‘ain’t no such animule.’ (If there are any, they are being very, very quiet for fear of being Scozzafevaed, but in fact, I know of none in Congress, except for the ‘lasdies from Maine,’ maybe.)
    What happened was the opposite of what you predicted. Joseph Cao voted for the Amendment and for the bill. Every other Republican and 26 Democrats voted for the Amendment and against the bill.
    And the actions of the Republicans during the debate showed that some of them seem confused on another matter. Hey, guys, they actually passed that Amendment giving women the vote, it isn’t still pending.
    Seriously, political commenters and bloggers continue to discuss what is going on in terms of ‘politics as usual’ but, as Paul Krugman put it (h/t Steve Benen):

    [S]omething snapped last year. Conservatives had long believed that history was on their side, so the G.O.P. establishment could, in effect, urge hard-right activists to wait just a little longer: once the party consolidated its hold on power, they’d get what they wanted.

    [Now] Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren’t interested in actually governing, they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone.

    The only comparison to the current Republican obstructionist tactics — for this between-the-wars History buff — was the actions of the Croatian Peasant Party in the 20s, trying to make the country and Parliament unworkable — which forced the king to take dictatorial powers to get anything done.
    We don’t have — or need — that option, but hopefully we can make the Republicans remember their actions as they pack up and close their offices in December 2010.