Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) is a superlative member of Congress. He’s either the dumbest, the most gullible, or the most cynical. And those just might not be mutually exclusive honors.
He had a long record of being staunchly pro-life in Congress. And when ObamaCare looked like it was going to contain federal funding for abortions, he took a firm, principled stand against it.
And then he changed his mind.
Oh, there are some cynics who say that Stupak was swayed by a combination of bribes and blackmail. But I’m willing to take the man at his word — that it was President Obama’s willingness to issue an Executive Order continuing the ban on federal funding for abortions.
Which is utterly absurd on its face.
First up, executive orders can not be issued to overturn parts of existing laws. That particular exercise is called a “line item veto,” and the Supreme Court ruled those unconstitutional back in 1998.
Second one always has to remember that all Obama promises come with an expiration date. What President Obama can do through an executive order, he can undo.
Third, look at the executive orders Obama’s already issued. Ethics requirements for Executive Branch employees. Closing Guantanamo. How’d those work out?
Fourth, it must be remembered that Obama is the most pro-choice president in history. (This isn’t as bad as it sounds; only Carter and Clinton qualified as pro-choice since Roe v. Wade.) Some of his staunchest supporters were the pro-choice crowd, and they’ve already announced they intend to challenge the executive order in court. How hard to you think the Obama/Holder Justice Department (of the Black Panther and ACORN cases fame) will fight that battle?
No, it’s clear that the executive order that bought Stupak’s vote is utterly hollow and worthless and meaningless. Anyone with a lick of common sense could tell that.
So the only question remaining is, what was Stupak thinking?
I see three possibilities.
The first is that yes, he really is that dumb. He didn’t realize how flagrantly improper and illegal and unconstitutional that order would be.
The second is that yes, he really is that gullble. He sincerely believed that Obama’s order would be issued in good faith, that Obama would fight like hell to keep his word, and it would withstand the inevitable challenges.
The third is that he really is that cynical. He knew that Obama’s promise was utterly worthless, but grabbed on to it as a fig leaf to provide what he hoped would be plausible deniability, and would blow over come November.
The Democrats did a lot of demonizing of Stupak during the buildup to last Sunday’s vote. It would be a crying shame to let all that work and research and whatnot go to waste. I sincerely hope his opponent is keeping copies of all this to use in this fall’s election.