Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Bart Stupak to leave Congress, but script likely remains the same

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The difficult thing about casual followers of politics is that you learn a new name, someone who has been in Congress for, let’s say, about 18 years in office. But you only learn about them, say, last summer. And the first you hear of this person isn’t flattering.

Bart Stupak (D-MI) is retiring from Congress. Quietly serving the Upper Peninsula in Washington, Stupak has been a conservative Democrat. No doubt about it.

Voted against an assault weapons ban in the 1990s. Probably cited the hunters in his district in upper Michigan, but then again, real hunters don’t need assault weapons to kill deer and other animals. Like or hate fellow Michigander Ted Nugent, he does hunt with a bow and arrow.

But you most likely heard of Stupak this summer when he successfully squeezed in legislation into the health care reform bill that was much harsher on abortion than current law. All of this rather amazing given that abortion is actually legal in the United States.

Ironically, and this issues screams irony, Stupak — with whom he has a lot in common with the teabaggers — is a major target by the teabaggers. This because Stupak actually wanted health care reform, despite the stick he threw into the gears of the health care reform bill.

The district will likely either end up with a non-liberal from the Democratic Party or a conservative Republican. And that person will be brand new to the process in 2011. Another new name to learn, even if the script might be very similar.

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