On Bart Stupak’s Chances to Scotch Health Care Reform, Take Two

So the other day, I scoffed at Bart Stupak’s chances for getting 40 Democratic votes to hold up health care reform over the issue of federal money for abortion. I theorized in that post that Stupak and other conservative Dems weren’t so much interested in sticking to a pro-life hard line as scotching reform.

Turns out I may have had the story half right. I still don’t think Stupak can get to forty. But I forgot that in Washington, if you can rally a small band of conservative votes, the Washington Post will declare you the most important voting bloc ever despite the lack of any evidence to corroborate your self-declared strength, President Obama will write you a blank check just to get you out of the way, other Democratic leaders will fall all over themselves to accommodate you, and everyone but everyone will wonder why progressives aren’t happy with the Democratic party.

In short, you don’t have to actually do anything. Just threatening to do it is enough to spook party leadership.

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame likes to talk about getting “more Democrats,” then moving on to “better Democrats.” I hope that my editors here won’t think it too political if I say that I sincerely hope we’re headed into phase two sometime soon.

It’s a damn depressing joke that somebody like Stupak can wield as much power as he does. And honestly, I blame liberal Dems for that just as much as conservatives. The best defense, as they say, is a good offense. With more aggressive leadership, we’d be reading fewer stories about conservative temper tantrums and their successes and more about progressives getting their way. But then, what the hell do I know? I’m just a dirty hippie, not worthy of effective political representation or anything like that.