The left has been up in arms, wailing and gnashing their teeth about the betrayal of their interests by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who has been holding out his vote on health care reform because of his beliefs regarding abortion.
Never mind the Democratic leadership could have seen this coming from late spring last year and failed to prevent this impasse by summer, let alone before the House vote in late autumn. Never mind that national organizations including Planned Parenthood and NARAL let themselves be patted on the head and corralled in the veal pen without a peep of advocacy or in protest until the damage was done.
Nope, it’s all Stupak’s fault.
But the painful truth is that Stupak got something right, as The Hill reports today. Stupak is still pressing for an agreement which accommodates his and his bloc’s position; he knows exactly what he’s dealing with:
“So one of the offers is, ‘Why won’t you just drop this for now? We’re going to work on it later. This thing doesn’t kick in till 2018,” Stupak continued. “Well, jeez, after you tell us no to our face — ‘You’re never going to get anything’ — why would I suddenly think you’re going to give me something now? I’m a little slow, but I’m not that slow.”
He’s absolutely right; this is how every single progressive constituency should have responded months and months ago to this White House. We never should have assumed that we’d get jack from a White House with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as gatekeeper. We’ve been stomped on and marginalized on every single platform issue, from FISA to Guantanamo, to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and ENDA, EFCA and immigration reform, and now to the public option and women’s reproductive health. Everything we stand for has been compromised and tossed aside to cater to the right and to the corporations they serve.
We’ve gotten nothing but lip service since day one of this administration. The lesson hurts like hell considering the source, but one guy had it all figured it out. Maybe it’s time we learned something from him.