To no one’s great surprise, Bart Stupak has found the limelight he so assiduously courted from both sides of the ObamaCare debate a little too hot for his taste. CNN reports this morning that the Congressman from Michigan won’t run for another term, leaving another open seat for Democrats to defend:
Nine-term Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, will reveal Friday he is retiring from Congress, several Democratic sources close to Stupak tell CNN.
The anti-abortion Democrat has been facing opposition from both the right and the left for his 11th hour deal with the White House that he says bans federal funding for abortion. The deal ultimately led to his decisive vote in favor of the health care bill. …
Democratic sources in Washington and Michigan say they fear losing Stupak, a historically popular Democrat in a sprawling conservative district, will mean likely losing his seat to the Republicans.
They fear losing the seat because of Stupak’s high-profile betrayal of his allies in the pro-life movement. If Democrats were really concerned about Stupak keeping his seat, they would have insisted on restoring Stupak’s language in the final reconciliation bill on banning federal funding for abortion. Instead, they gave Stupak a meaningless executive order to cover his (back)tracks — and it didn’t work.
The Upper Peninsula district that Stupak represents normally wouldn’t be entirely hostile to a Democrat. They tend to be working-class, pro-life but not necessarily deeply conservative. Stupak offered them a kind of middle-road populism with a pro-life core that suited his constituents.
After Stupak’s reversal, Democrats won’t get that chance. His populist-lite patter merely enabled the radicals in the Democratic Party to seize control of Congress, and Stupak in the end refused to stand against it. In this district, expect to see a referendum on Nancy Pelosi, and don’t expect the constituents to get enthusiastic about sending another Democrat to Washington to enable her and her radical agenda.