Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Temper, temper!

It has been more than 24 hours since the words “baby killer” were faintly heard in the background on television screens across the nation – and CNN lept with a vengance on trying to crack down on figuring out which member of our Congress spewed the epithet.

You’d think CNN was up for a Peabody by being the first to figure out who would use such a crude term toward Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. – an anti-abortion member of the Democratic caucus who apparently did not hew strictly enough to the party line for those people who seriously see a criminal act when a woman chooses to end a pregnancy.

BUT NOW IN the light of a day later, when calmer heads can prevail, we now know that Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, was the Congressman who let the slur slip through his lips.

Neugebauer went so far as to issue an apology to Stupak, claiming that he was outraged about the health care reform measure that Tuesday will become law and how he thinks it will impact attempts to restrict access to abortion.

He says he was talking about the bill, not the man, when he uttered, “it’s a baby killer.”

It sounds like a stretch to me, but I’m willing to let the issue wither away – even though I know there are many people who will not. Neugebauer and Rep. Addison G. “Joe” Wilson, R-S.C., have the potential to be forevermore remembered for a moment where their tempers got the best of them.

“YOU LIE!” AND “Baby-killer!” What a legacy. I’m not going to claim that all Republicans are this nit-witted. But it does bother me that the modern-day GOP is a party that caters all too much to people who are this nit-witted.

On a more humorous note, Neugebauer has the potential to be the best-known person to come from the Lubbock, Texas-area since Buddy Holly and the rest of the Crickets.

Admittedly, I’m trying to make light of this whole situation. Because if I think about it too much, I become depressed (and because I’m suffering from an illness that has left my throat raw, I can’t exactly climb to the rooftop and shout out my disapproval).

What made the final days of the 13-month-long political process to take a bill on health care reform and turn it into something that President Barack Obama will sign into law was the way it got entangled with abortion.

FOR THE POLITICAL people who seriously want to limit abortion access (and dream of a day when the Supreme Court claims its previous incarnations were wrong in ever claiming that abortion is something that ought to be legal) were more than willing to interfere with something that would make health care more readily available to nearly all – in order to back up their belief that a medical procedure such as ending a pregnancy should be restricted as much as possible.

Some of the more conservative Democrats, including Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., could not be swayed. They were among the few Dems who opposed Obama on this and sided with the Republican minority in the House of Representatives.

But others, such as Stupak, were swayed by promises from Obama that he would sign a separate executive order that would guarantee the federal government would continue to spend no money in ways that would help lower-income women who rely on such help for medical expenses to abort a pregnancy.

That was actually more than what Obama promised the Latino caucus of Congress and other proponents of immigration reform. He merely told them their issue will be considered this year – with nothing in writing or specifically promised as to what was meant by “considered.”

THERE DEFINITELY IS no promise the issue will be approved, but the Democrats who have a problem with the party’s platform because it says access to abortion for women is something the party will fight for are going to get an Executive Order.

That is what caused Stupak to agree to the procedural moves that were required for the health care reform bill as a whole to advance. It also was the act that was determined to be procedurally weak enough that now the anti-abortion types are going to claim that Stupak sold them out.

Seriously, I don’t get it.

Stupak and his allies on this issue forced the president to make a concession that will result in an Executive Order that the bulk of Democrats and Obama’s supporters will find offensive. Let’s be honest. There are some Democrats who would have been totally happy if Obama had told Stupak to stuff it, even if it meant the whole of health care reform would have collapsed.

YOU’D THINK THAT the anti-abortion types would be celebrating Stupak and his allies for getting this big of a concession imposed on what Obama will want to think of as the major initiative of his presidency.

Except that he has that dreaded “D” after his name, which means the knee-jerk reaction kicks in and they feel the need to kick him about. Which is what triggered Neugebauer’s loss of his temper and his moment that he will spend the rest of his political life living down.


EDITOR’S NOTES: He’s sorry. He’s very (http://randy.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=20§iontree=5,20&itemid=824) very sorry. Bart Stupak, meanwhile, is boasting for now (http://www.house.gov/list/speech/mi01_stupak/morenews/20100321healthcare.html) of his vote in favor of heatlh care reform.

It’s a good thing for Dan Lipinski that he doesn’t aspire to become of the political heavyweights on Capitol Hill. Because (http://www.lipinski.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1123:congressman-lipinski-votes-no-on-senate-health-care-bill&catid=46:2010-press-releases&Itemid=44) his vote against health care reform ensures his “back-bencher” status in the ranks of the House of Representatives.

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