Stupak: Sandals and Dust on the Edge of Town

It seems to be true, but the announcement is forthcoming later today, as of this writing. One blogger gets it way wrong:

Stupak’s fall reminds me of something out of a Greek tragedy. It’s a shame–I’m reasonably convinced he thought he was doing the best he could, but his collapse at the last minute has the potential to damage the country and the pro-life cause for decades.

Greek tragedy? A less pagan and more accurate parallel is here. This is Rep. Stupak’s sandal and dust moment at the edge of town. Who among us, faced with abuse rendered to people we love, would not consider making personal sacrifices?

Another feather in the cap for political pro-lifers and their drive for uniform autocratic purity in the movement. Nice going, people, and by the way, how many babies did this strategy save?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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11 Responses to Stupak: Sandals and Dust on the Edge of Town

  1. It’s not that one has to be pro-life, but one must follow the prudential decisions of pro-life leaders (even if those decisions are a failure and include promoting pro-choice candidates as a means of rejecting health care reform instead of working for Republicans to work with pro-life Democrats to make the reform as pro-life as possible). The fact is, Stupak got more done than the pro-life leaders, and I think that is why they have attacked him so.

  2. Daniel Kane says:

    Revelation 3:16 comes to mind as more appropriate scriptural context. St. Thomas More’s family suffered more than some crank calls – which are illegal.

    He is just another Democrat on a BHO suicide mission – Rep. Pat Kennedy, (the seat of) Ed Kennedy, Senators Dodd and Reid, Rep. Massa, Stupak…

    We elect as C.S. Lewis wrote, “men without chests” and this is the expected result.

  3. Todd says:

    And yet the man is pro-life, Daniel. At worst he was prudentially mistaken about the insurance legislation or the promises he extracted for his vote. Does that merit his being cast into the moral outer darkness by pro-lifers? At the very worst, is he entitled to make an error? And if so, do pro-lifers hold themselves similarly accountable when they err?

  4. Daniel Kane says:

    I can not judge if one is pro-life or not except to how such a position is confirmed or denied with external action(s). In his personal example and with his personal action he voted for an “insurance legislation” that he must have been prudently advised provided no protection for the unborn and in fact, funds abortion.

    Minimally he must have been mindful that his prior amendment protecting the unborn was removed by the Senate. Yet he voted for it anyway with the cheap veneer of a meaningless, toothless, E.O.

    He is not cast into the darkness by me, he entered the darkness by his own volition, and lacks the fortitude to defend his position – it is just easier to slink away. That both the left and right reject him is illustrative of his lukewarmness and lack of spine.

    As a Catholic, he should also have been aware that this violated principals of solidarity, common good and subsidiarity. But those sophisticated points of doctrine I can give him a pass on.

    That he was for something that he was once against I can not. But a video of him on You-Tube dated 10/2008 suggested that abortion was not a deal breaker for him on this bill anyway so in reality he voted in character.

    “Rep. Bart Stupak speaking in Cheboygan, MI”

  5. Bill Kurtz says:

    To Daniel Kane, I would quote from Angelo Matera in the National Catholic Register following the 2008 election:
    “Let’s face it. A one-party strategy hasn’t worked. It leaves the pro-life movement in the political wilderness when Republicans are out of favor,” for whatever reason. “It’s also unjust. Democratic-leaning Catholics shouldn’t be forced to choose between their pro-life and social justice convictions.”
    As he made clear, Bart Stupak wanted health care reform, and was not (like, apparently, professional pro-lifers) looking to use abortion as an excuse to defeat something they didn’t really want anyway.
    And as Ross Douthat has pointed out, “many abortion opponents can’t reconcile their views on social justice with the harder-edged ‘any redistribution equals socialism’ tendencies in the Republican Party.”

    • Dan says:

      The Pope has reminded us that at the heart of social justice is personal loving care for each and every human person. As such, we will never have “social justice” as long as abortion is legal for it is a primary violation of justice for unborn children.

  6. smf says:

    Hold it, may I suggest looking at Stupak’s own statements regarding his retirment. Yes, there is the usual bit about family time, ect. that is all well and good.

    The heart of the matter can be found in his explanations of his retirement.

    He says he accomplished is own number one goal. (Mission Accomplished anyone?)

    What is that goal?

    Health insurance reform.

    That was his primary, underlying and overriding motivation at all times.

    Thus we can fairly say Stupak was a health care reformer with some degree of pro-life leanings.

    Stupak is proud of this, and I think we should take him at his word. It was never his primary purpose to help the unborn, or end world hunger, or create world peace or anything else other than: health insurance reform. So says the man himself. He says the purpose of his political career is accomplished, he can now ride into the sunset as victorious hero.

    He did what he had to do to get health insurance reform of the sort he wanted. In this case it meant he had to compromise on his pro-life inclinations. At least the party leadership was nice enough to give him the face saving measure of that meaningless executive order.

  7. Harry says:

    “In this case it meant he had to compromise on his pro-life inclinations.”

    And I’m certain that Stupak sees it differently. Which, of course, nobody is ever allowed to do.

  8. smf says:

    Unless Stupak is self deluded, I can not see how that is possible. He made a stand on one set of pro-life proposals. When it became clear that he would have to choose between the pro-life measures he wanted and the health insurance reform measures he wanted, he ultimately comprised the pro-life part, not the insurance part. He is a person of at least reasonable intelligence, and thus must be aware of that. That does not necessarily mean he betrayed the pro-life cause (some say he did) or is pro-choice (a very small number have tried to claim that), it does however mean he was willing to compromise the pro-life measures he originally insisted on.

  9. Jim McK says:

    Maybe someone convinced him that his pro-life principles were in the bill he voted for. Aren’t people allowed to grow in wisdom and understanding?

  10. smf says:

    That would be an reasonable theory, since yes people are allowed to become better informed and wiser, if it were not for sone small facts. The insistence on having the presidential executive order makes it clear that the bill itself was unsatisfactory. Further, the 11th hour and 59th minute nature of this change of heart indicates it was born more of necessity than virtue.

    I am not arguing Stupak is either a demon or a saint, but rather that we should be honest about his politics. Some tried to pin all the pro-life hopes on him and what he represented. Now that he has done something other than what some had hoped, this forces the former enthusiasts to come to one of two conclusions. The conclusion of the now former enthusiasts is that he is a no good, two-timing, sell-out who talked one game and voted another while selling the unborn down the river. The conclusion of the other enthusiasts is that since St. Stupak voted for it, it must be the very ideal of pro-life. Neither of those positions makes any sense, but those are the instinctive reactions of many partisans.

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