Rep. Bart Stupak Won't Seek Re-Election

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) is calling it quits in November. He's had enough of the obscene phone calls from "tea-partiers" over his health care bill shenanigans and won't seek re-election.

Stupak told The Hill newspaper a week before the bill's passage that fighting the measure had been "a living hell" and that obscene calls to his home had forced his wife to unplug the phones.

From the Hill:

“All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats. She won’t watch TV,” Stupak said during the interview. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.” Stupak's wife had reported receiving death threats.

I doubt anyone is sorry to see him go, but it also shouldn't go unnoticed how infantile and crass the anti-choice movement can get. Until they grow up and learn how to behave -- which includes responding with reasoned arguments from their brain instead of taunts and threats from their potty mouths and trigger fingers, no one should be considering them for anything but kindergarten.

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    infantile and crass is a pretty tame way (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by tigercourse on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:13:09 PM EST
    of describing the anti-choice movement. However, I wouldn't make the mistake of saying that they are somehow unsuccessful. Between recently hitting on the strategy of marketing to African Americans, simultanelously casting the health care bill as an abortion loving free for all AND getting the executive order in there, they are making strides. Every other week or so some state issues new abortion restrictions (Oklahome was the most recent I believe) and I remember a Pew poll some months back showing support for choice dropping.

    The anti-choice movement seems to be doing well for itself, and I can see it gaining even more steam, particularly when our next Republican president rolls around.

    Its the ultimate boondoggle (none / 0) (#4)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:27:06 PM EST
    if the right ever overturned Roe it would basically end them as a political part within 5 years- so they talk the talk but intentionally don't even try to walk the walk.

    I don't think they'll overturn it, just make (none / 0) (#6)
    by tigercourse on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:39:35 PM EST
    greater and greater strides against choice. And there will always be a left and right party in this country. No matter how much they damage themselves in one or two election cycles, they will come back at some point.

    I think they could have a real problem (none / 0) (#9)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 01:33:15 PM EST
    if they don't do to the "America First" Tancredo types (who are overrepresented in the Tea Party) what they did to the Birchers in the late 50s early 60s-- demographically the GOP can't remain a competitive party over the next few decades unless they start drawing a higher percentage of the minority vote, appealing to white evangelicals is a suicidal strategy in the long run.

    Like they've done with (none / 0) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 03:38:03 PM EST
    smoking....special sections, then nothing indoors, then 25 feet from the entrance, then public parks, tax them at an unheard of rate...the way most things a loud group opposes is treated: just keep making it more and more difficult and prohibitive.

    And just angering some of us (none / 0) (#17)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 04:50:03 PM EST
    even more about the Puritans -- in any party, but in my state, it happens to be Dems.  And it happens to be one of the ways in which they have so screwed up the state budget, because many of us live very near the borders of this state that taxes cigs more than almost any, so we just cross the border to pay the sales taxes to other states.

    Guess what happened to the Dems' budget projections?


    It surprises me (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Kimberley on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 01:08:37 PM EST
    That in all the talk of Stupak retiring, among Democrats today, I haven't seen people make a bigger point of this:

     President Obama personalized a betrayal of pro-choice Democrats to keep this self-absorbed POS on board with the passage of HIR--and, no doubt, to keep the number of 2010 seats that need full-court defense to a minimum--only to have Stupak tuck tail before forced-birth kooks, of all things, and then deny the Democratic Party the advantage of incumbency in MI anyway.

    I guess this is how "a man of conscience" says thanks for covering my ass Mr. President, in spite of the fact that my histrionics forced your signature legislation to become unnecessarily offensive to a critical block of our base.

    Apart from the death threats, they're both getting what they deserve.

    Infantile and antichoice (none / 0) (#1)
    by cawaltz on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:07:55 PM EST
    You just described Stupak......Here's to hoping that his next choce doesn't have the same bent.

    I'll give him credit for one thing (none / 0) (#3)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:25:32 PM EST
    and only one thing- he made a nice CYA speech when Healthcare passed after he crumpled without getting anything that altered the status quo.

    Seems to be resigning (none / 0) (#5)
    by oldpro on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:35:33 PM EST
    for all the right reasons.  Just saw him interviewed on CNN.  Nice hair.

    I'm hoping he and Justice Stevens (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 12:45:35 PM EST
    resigning at the same time is sheer coincidence.

    Also - nice political investment by the WH, caving to what turns out to be a lame duck.

    See I view it as the opposite (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 01:34:46 PM EST
    Stupak caved to the Administration for what was essentially a face-saving measure.

    Ironic (none / 0) (#11)
    by ZtoA on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 02:30:27 PM EST
    is the word that pops to my mind. Stranger than fiction.

    Re anti-choice: I really don't get what they are about. Do they really want people they don't like procreating? Its usually the same people who do not want sex ed - other than abstinence, who are against birth control, and watch the most porn.

    The pro life movement is pretty simple (none / 0) (#12)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 02:52:40 PM EST
    They believe all life is sacred from conception and abortion is murder of an innocent life.

    Obviously their are nuts as their are in the pro-choice movement and pretending that a few nut jobs represent a whole movement just shows ones partisanship.

    Also Stupak received threats from the pro-choice crowd before he switched his vote.  The pro-life crowd (don't think pro-choice crowd would appreciate the anti-life tag) has a reason to be upset as Stupak caved for some handouts.

    Either way I think both sides in this tired debate have a stick up their you know what and have no room to claim any sort of moral high ground.

    Abortion should be left to each state and we'll never agree whether life should be protected from conception, 2nd trimester or all the way until it comes out of the oven.

    I'll only say that modern science clouds this debate both from the in vitro end to the fact that a baby can live at 27 weeks.

    Bottom line is Stupak voted against his constituents and his previous statements.  That he'd rather retire then face the inevitable loss in the election is just proof of it.

    He's using the calls as an excuse.


    "caved" (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by christinep on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 03:30:03 PM EST
    One of the more interesting words used in connection with Congressman Stupak is that he "caved." Interesting...the claim of caving has come from both sides. Witness: Caving for nothing and/or caving for handouts. I don't pretend to know his thought patterns or, for that matter, the workings of the negotiations for votes. The only thing that I see in terms of healthcare votes is that it does appear that his ultimate posture may well have secured the necessary 5 to 6 votes needed at the time for passage.  I do agree with you, Slado, that the argument (and continual money-raising campaign from both sides) gets a bit tiresome in a circling intensity that feeds on itself. Scientific advancement, as you suggest, may actually expand areas of agreement.

    I think they think all life is sacred (none / 0) (#15)
    by ZtoA on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 04:09:23 PM EST
    from sperm to death. Otherwise, why be against birth control?

    I wonder what anti-choice folks would do if there was an automatic mandatory paternity test on every embryo and a contract drawn up between both parents equally dividing all care, physical and financial from then till the embryo reaches 18years old. If one party cannot provide physical support then they may pay extra financial support to make up for it. Pregnancy would be expensive for those who do or can not be the incubator. Perhaps the 'sacred' glow might dim.

    Yes, ironic. Stupak himself made this a huge issue, of course he was not the only one, but he came to symbolize it. He went against party platform, to appease his anti-choice constituents and self. Then when he voted party line he POed the rest of everyone off.


    I seriously think most pro-life (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Slado on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 08:19:23 PM EST
    people do not consider sperm sacred.

    At least the ones I know don't.

    They do think a fertalized egg is sacred and I can understand that point of view.  I simply do not share it.

    As a somewhat religios person and the father of three children at some point between conception and 30weeks that fertilized egg becomes a child.   When?  Modern science tells us it's when the brain sarts to function.   Common sense tells a new dad that when it starts to kick it stoped being an idea and became a person.

    As the son of a doctor I also know that being absolutely on the side of the child in all cricumstances is a ridiculous postion as well.

    The fact that both sides camp out in such unbelivably ridiculous positions makes this debate tiresome and frankly something the federal government should stay out of as it poisons all sensible debate.


    If Democrats would simply stand by (none / 0) (#16)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 04:23:56 PM EST
    our Party's platform, we wouldn't have these kinds of problems. Who knows, maybe Stupak was an 11th dimensional chess move to keep HIR from being criticized for paying for abortions.

    Anyhow, the whole "sperm is sacred" idea probably reflects the basic concern by many men that they may soon be somewhat irrelevant to the creation of new life.


    Hey, I like that idea! (none / 0) (#18)
    by observed on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 06:59:56 PM EST
    I read a few years ago that the actual percentage of children sired by a different father than the husband , as shown by DNA testing, is quite astounding.

    Not all life is sacred to the anti-choicers (none / 0) (#20)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 08:27:37 PM EST
    Way too many who oppose abortion are avid supporters of the death penalty (NTM the ones who are more likely innocent than guilty), and sending our sons, fathers, mothers, brothers, cousins, friends in military uniform off to battles we have no business fighting. They shrug off the collateral damage even when it is a wedding party, or a classroom full of children.

    They don't hold life sacred; they hold the beliefs they've been brainwashed into having sacred.


    FYI Stupak (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 12:21:35 AM EST
    Stupak was staunchly anti Iraq war, voted against it and spoke out against it, no doubt to the consternation of his constituents.

    Please (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 12:18:28 AM EST
    You're making the man into a caricature.  As it happens, Stupak is fully in favor of birth control.  What he's not in favor of is giving bc to underage kids without parental consent.

    I disagree with that, but it's an honorable position, and one I rather suspect the vast majority of Americans of all political stripes hold.

    Stupak is probably more "pro-life" than his constituents.  From what I've seen of him, this was a fully principled stand on his part.  I vehemently disagree with him, but I can't fault him as a hypocrite or a pol.  He did what a lot of us think is the right thing, voted his conscience not his polls.

    If he'd run again, I absolutely would have followed through on my emailed promise to him to support not just his primary opponent but even a GOP opponent who was worse than him.  But I have come to respect him as a genuine article.


    They get called anti choice (none / 0) (#21)
    by cawaltz on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 09:27:00 PM EST
    because all life isn't equally sacred or they would accept the inherant risks involved with carrying a life to term and accept that the "sacred" life form that has the risk and responsibility involved in carrying a pregnancy to term deserves the right to determine whether to accept that risk on behalf of their own sacred life.

    You don't get to be called pro life when you have organizations who make it a habit of harassing young women, bombing clinics, shooting physicians(or help payfor the defense ofsomeone who did so)or sit silently and allow a twelve year old girl in Brazil to die because she is physically uncapable of giving birth to the fetus growing inside her.

    It's not a bit partisan to call someone what they are.  If you prefer the term "pro fetus" I'd go with that but calling people like those Bishops "pro-life" is a crock.


    Correction, please (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 12:13:39 AM EST
    Stupak did not, did not, "use the calls as an excuse."  Pundits are making that excuse. Stupak himself, while admitting they've been distressing, denies they had any significant role in his decision.

    What if Stupak blocked the bill? (none / 0) (#25)
    by diogenes on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:25:30 PM EST
    "I doubt anyone is sorry to see him go, but it also shouldn't go unnoticed how infantile and crass the anti-choice movement can get."
    You don't think that the PRO-CHOICE movement and the left in general would have been just as bad if Stupak had decided to block the Obama health bill?  You guys here heaped much crass scorn on Stupak for sure.