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Stupak's fall from pro-life grace

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By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stupak.

Etymology: Eponym for Rep. Bart Stupak.

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Function: verb

1: In a legislative process, to obstruct passage of a proposed law on the basis of a moral principle (i.e., protecting the unborn), accumulating power in the process, then at a key moment surrendering in exchange for a fig leaf, the size of which varies according to the degree of emasculation of said legislator and/or as a reflection of just how stupid people are presumed to be. (Slang: backstabber.)

Poor Bart Stupak. The man tried to be a hero for the unborn, and then, when all the power of the moment was in his frail human hands, he dropped the baby. He genuflected when he should have dug in his heels and gave it up for a meaningless executive order.

Now, in the wake of his decision to vote for a health-care bill that expands public funding for abortion, he is vilified and will forever be remembered as the guy who Stupaked health-care reform and the pro-life movement.

Of all the disappointed activists, Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org and creator of StandWithStupak.com, was perhaps the most demonstrative in his support of pro-life Democrats. He even created a video with a remake of the final battle scene from "Braveheart."

A helmeted British Barack Obama says, "Our cavalry will ride them down like grass. . . . Full attack!" Whereupon, Stupak, eyeglasses incongruously perched on his blue-painted face, commands his pitchfork army, "Steady. . . . Hold, hold, hold."

Alas, Stupak couldn't hold.

Ultimately, he was weak and overwhelmed by raw political power. History is no stranger to such moments, but this one needs to be understood for what it was. A deception.

The executive order promising that no federal funds will be used for abortion is utterly useless, and everybody knows it. First, the president can revoke it as quickly as he signs it.

Second, an order cannot confer jurisdiction in the courts or establish any grounds for suing anybody in court, according to a former White House counsel. The order is therefore judicially unenforceable.


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