I owe NewsReal’s readers an apology for singing the praises of Bart Stupak: He sold out pro-lifers for a sham “solution” to his supposed reservations on ObamaCare, and in fact never took the sanctity of human life as seriously as he claimed to. Seldom do politicians so quickly turn from revered to reviled.
One of Stupak’s latest critics is Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), who landed himself in hot water for shouting “baby killer!” as Stupak defended himself on the House floor. Neugebauer has since stated that he was referring to the bill as a baby killer, not Stupak personally, and recently sat down with Sean Hannity to discuss the debacle. He apologizes for the misunderstanding, but not the message:
NEUGEBAUER: …and then the final thing that evening was that I realized that in order to close the deal, that we had to jeopardize the lives of unborn children and make some kind of a backroom deal to take that health care bill across the line. It was unacceptable.
HANNITY: Do you think Bart Stupak can claim that he’s pro-life now?
NEUGEBAUER: Well, I’m not gonna speak whether he can claim it or not, but I know that I’m very concerned about the way that this unfolded. Y’know, the language in his amendment I voted for, in the House version, gives a lot of protection, and it was my understanding that he and his colleagues were going to hold out for that language to be included. And unfortunately, we went to this executive order, which, by the way, the president didn’t sign today, and I’m not sure gives the protections for the unborn.
What did Neugebauer really say? Who knows—I can’t tell from the audio, but it could easily have been either. Frankly, I don’t see either scenario as terribly outrageous. “Baby killer,” while harsh, is as good a description as any for a procedure that, um, kills babies, and neither the bill nor its eleventh-hour enabler consider that sort of thing a big deal when weighed against expanding government power over health care.
In fact, if the congressman has erred anywhere, it’s in trying to soften his criticism after the fact. He declines to say whether or not Stupak can claim to be pro-life, and the closest he comes to discussing Stupak’s motives is mentioning the “pressure” he faced from Democratic leadership.
I’m sorry, but no. Pressure or not, we have Stupak on tape essentially admitting that all he really wanted was enough cover to vote for ObamaCare and at least say he’s pro-life, actual impact on the unborn be damned. Simply put, this is neither the conduct of an honest man or a principled pro-lifer.
While the Right has no shortage of fierce voices who tell it like it is, I’ve long believed that rhetorical cowardice is a major shortcoming of the Republican Party. The stakes of today’s political battles are simply too high for us to obsess over arbitrary rules of decorum and needlessly sanitize our assessments of what people do, why they do it, and the effects their actions have. The Left does more than enough lying on its own; why should we do any more on their behalf?