Stupak, The Blue Dogs And The Progressive Block

A health bill is gonna pass. It is going to look like the Senate bill. The question now is who is going to vote for it. Bart Stupak says he can't be bought off:

“There cannot be, in any way, public funding for abortion,” says Stupak. “What the Nelson compromise does is recognize abortion for the first time as a benefit in a federal health plan. It mandates that at least one plan has abortion coverage. Those are drastic changes to the current law.”

He sounds like a No. How many will join him? In any event, the Blue Dogs are coming to the rescue:

Centrist, Blue Dog Democrats are likely to favor the Senate's healthcare bill if it comes up for a vote, one of their members said Wednesday. Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a Blue Dog who voted against the House's healthcare bill in November, said that he and many other centrist Democrats would flip their votes to support the Senate bill if it came up for a vote in the House.

[. . .] 39 Democratic lawmakers voted against the House bill, which passed by a relatively narrow 220-215 vote. If Blue Dogs flip to support the latest iteration of the bill, it could pad Democrats' vote totals, especially as leaders wrangle with abortion rights supporters and opponents' dissatisfaction with the Senate bill's language on abortion.

I think instead of padding the totals, it will likely give Progressives the freedom to vote No on the bill. This will be an interesting vote. It could become a Center-Right bill, according to the votes. Which would be a good thing for the chance of future reform.

Speaking for me only

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    Yup, told ya so (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:02:12 AM EST
    As for Altmire, this is him getting all the cover he needs from Bob Casey.

    Seems more to me (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by dk on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:19:51 AM EST
    like it represents what we've known for a while, namely that the Democratic party has moved to the right.  Not sure how that increases chances for reform.

    Argh...the Blue Dogs... (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:27:08 AM EST
    it's like we're hanging by our fingernails from the edge of the cliff, hearing running footsteps and assuming help is on the way, only to look up and see that the only reason the rescuers want to pry our fingers off the edge is so they can hurl us onto the rocks below.

    Nancy Pelosi will be at the bottom, shaking her head and tsk-tsking that it's such a shame that after getting us almost to the top there was really nothing more she could do.  "here, progressives, have a band-aid."

    Barack Obama will be there, too.  He'll be looking over the mangled pile and reminding us that "his" historic and unprecedented reform of the system will guarantee that in 4 years, someone might be by to help, and better, that our sorry physical state won't be considered a pre-existing condition!

    Stupak and Nelson will be there to make sure no fetuses were harmed on the way down.

    It's going to be quite the spectacle.

    Wrong battle (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:50:39 AM EST
    Being from Michigan, I would think Stupak would do better to use his political energy fighting over the "Cadillac policy" provision in this bill. I would think this is a more of an issue with the voters in Michigan than right to life.

    Their economy is in serious trouble as it is without adding to it. Over the last few years, union members have forgone raises in order to maintain their healthcare policies. Now they're going to be penalized for it.

    Is the Democratic Party really willing to walk away from the unions?

    Apparently (none / 0) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 11:15:31 AM EST
    That's been the trend for some time at the very least since Clinton knee-capped labor in his 1st year in office. Obama's nomination sort of sealed it.  I know many of his supporters resent unions and industrial workers in particular.  The Democratic model seems to be that elections can be won with a coalition that excludes labor, sort of a to hell with them coalition.  Extraodinarily stupid both from the standpoint of a winning coalition and most important of all, public policy.

    That coalition won in '08 but labor was in the mix based on blatant lies from a candidate who seems contemptuous.

    So what would happen if labor stayed home.

    In the past, some of the stuff I read on Ruy Teixeira's site, emergingdemocraticmajority.com, seemed hostile, a we don't need them attitude.

    A massive blunder both for the Democratic Party and especially for the nation as a whole.

    There is a proposal of sorts (haven't seen the details) to "revitalize" manufacturing but I'll believe it when I see it.


    On Tuesday, CNN reported that the unions got (none / 0) (#15)
    by suzieg on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 03:05:06 PM EST
    an exemption from the cadillac tax.

    a center-right bill (none / 0) (#5)
    by kempis on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:56:10 AM EST
    but the GOP will surely rail against the commie, "Nanny State," Evil Leftist Democrats forcing people to buy health insurance.

    It's amazing to me how far from reality the rightwing in this country has drifted--and how disturbingly effective their propaganda is. I think it's even worse now than it was in the Clinton years as they've become more and more boxed in by their own extreme rhetoric. Regardless of what the bill is, they will make the bill be what they need it to be to scare (literally) up votes by demonizing the bill and the Dems, as usual.

    Great way to put it (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 09:08:13 AM EST
    Regardless of what the bill is, they will make the bill be what they need it to be to scare (literally) up votes by demonizing the bill and the Dems, as usual.

    Same way they do to candidates, pretending every Dem presidential candidate is the most liberal member of Congress. And it does work.


    Doesn't Team D do the same thing?... (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 09:34:44 AM EST
    regardless of what the bill is, they will tout it as this great progressive achievement.  

    It's all bullsh*t.


    yep pretty much (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by cawaltz on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 09:41:24 AM EST
    and herein lies the dillemna, both parties are full of crap and more interested in posturing then actually passing measures that improve lives.

    which is why it's bogus for the Dems to argue (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by kempis on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:56:09 AM EST
    this is the best they could do.

    If they had really, really wanted to--with the public behind the public option--they could have pressured the Blue Dogs and others into supporting a stronger bill.

    Their fear was not that they'd upset the GOP, not that they'd upset conservatives--those people will be upset regardless--but that they'd upset the insurers and PhRMA.


    Dems enabled the scare tactics on this (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:20:14 AM EST
    by so delaying much of this bill's implementation for years, for one thing, so no one knows the impact on them -- except that the taxes start soon, while the benefits are delayed.  Recipe for disaster at the polls, it would seem to me.

    And for another contributor to the problem, the bill keeps being changed so much that not even Dems can be clear on the benefits -- and there also is the perception that backing away from one after another of the benefits looks like the bill even scares Democrats.  

    Of course, a calm and forceful voice of leadership speaking out throughout would have done much.  But Obama was busy losing the Olympics and winning the war -- and the Peace Prize.  More recipes for Repub fun to come.   A year ago, we could not imagine how bungled all of this would be.


    *ahem* (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by cawaltz on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:27:37 AM EST
    actually about half of us suspected as much and about 20% of that half felt strongly enough not to vote for the Democrat(even though we agree with the Democratic principles espoused on paper.

    Ahem backatcha (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:37:13 AM EST
    because I was one.  My state was so overdosed on kool-aid that I could do so . . . and after being the closest state, it was a relief to not have to listen to the stale argument about the endtimes that would be visited upon us all.

    The Dem Party already had visited the endtimes upon itself, anyway.  We saw that.  Others are just beginning to see it.  Some never will.  Their problem, but not mine anymore.


    Ditto (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 11:02:14 AM EST
    Stupak's Wrong though (none / 0) (#16)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 07:20:08 PM EST
    from 1993 until a ban in 1995- FEHB options included plans which provided abortion coverage.

    it's a pity (none / 0) (#17)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 02:37:08 AM EST
    mr. stupak can't get pregnant. in a just world, he'd be raped and impregnated by his brother, and banished from the household, with nothing but the clothes on his back.

    i'd pay good money to watch that movie.