Associated Press writer John Flesher seems to be one bitter guy.
Flesher, along with whoever (possibly Flesher himself) came up with the headline for his Saturday report on Bart Stupak's decision not to run for re-election in Michigan's 1st Congressional District, tells readers that:
Tea Partiers are poor winners.
The residents of Stupak's district are federal money-grubbers who can be fooled by candidates holding the right position on "hot-button issues."
Based on a poli sci prof's contention, Stupak (pictured at top right with his wife in an AP photo) would "absolutely" have won as all the evidence he needed to "prove" the nine-term congressman's re-electability.
Here are the opening paragraphs from the flailing Flesher:
This item may not surprise those of us who have watched politicians take the safe way out at any opportunity, but it will give any voters who come across it reason to doubt any Democratic congressman who says that he or she voted no on principle against Obamacare on Sunday, March 21.
This explains why it hasn't been covered much -- and maybe not at all -- in any establishment media outlet.
On March 26, the Catholic News Agency had an exclusive interview with Michigan congressman Bart Stupak. Wait until you see some of the things he admitted to CNA (bolds are mine):
Rep. Stupak: Speaker Pelosi had extra health care votes 'in her pocket'
The health care reform bill would have passed the House without the votes of Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life Democrats because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “always carries a number of votes in her pocket,” Stupak told CNA in a Thursday phone interview.
Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas on Thursday played up the threats and intimidation that Bart Stupak has suffered since he voted for the health care bill. However, last week, the same program ignored the "living hell" the Congressman dealt with as he claimed to oppose the legislation.
Thomas played a voice mail released by Stupak where an anonymous caller attacked, "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die." However, when George Stephanopoulos talked to Stupak on March 19, he skipped the Representative's complaints to The Hill that "All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats."
Are threats only notable when they can potentially be linked to those on the right? Before the vote, Stupak repeatedly stated he was leaning towards voting against the legislation. But, Stephanopoulos' questions all revolved around what it would take to get the Representative to vote yes. There were no questions about possible violence.
As the repeaters (not reporters) pass along Democratic claims of violence and harassment, will they recall when the shoe was on the other foot? Take this report from the CBS News blog Political Hotsheet from just last week:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the legislator who has led a group of House Democrats who oppose the Senate health care bill because of its abortion language, says his life has become a "living hell" because of the debate.
"All the phones are unplugged at our house -- tired of the obscene calls and threats," Stupak said in an interview with the Hill. His wife no longer watches television, he said, because of "people saying they're going to spit on you and all this. That's just not fun."
...."My staff is overwhelmed and we're accosted basically wherever we go by people who disagree," Stupak said in an interview on MSNBC. "We should have disagreements in this country. I for one am standing on a principle most Americans agree with."
On Thursday’s Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News, as host Joy Behar discussed the ObamaCare debate during a segment that included Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson – formerly of Time magazine and CNN’s Capital Gang – the two took jabs at the "conscience" of Catholic bishops as Carlson argued that the group of nuns who recently endorsed ObamaCare are the "real conscience of the Catholic Church," and dismissed the opinions of bishops. Carlson: "[President Obama is] not going to get the Catholic bishops, they`re too busy denying Senators and Congressmen who are pro-choice, too busy denying them communion. They`re never coming over, so forget them."
As the two ignored the apparent left-leaning nature of the nuns group – the Catholic Health Association – Behar agreed with Carlson’s characterization of nuns as the "conscience" of the Church: "Exactly. You`re not kidding, especially these days."
Behar soon declared herself to feel "sappy" toward President Obama: "I`m sappy for Obama. I`m not sappy generally, but I just believe in the guy. I think he`s a gentleman, and I think he gives a damn."
Below is a complete transcript of the segment with guests Margaret Carlson and Ari Melber of the liberal The Nation magazine, with critical portions in bold, from the Thursday, March 18, Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News:
Adopting the tone of an anxious car salesman, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday yet again pressed pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak on what it would take to get him to vote yes on health care. Over the course of two interviews, Stephanopoulos has offered eight questions designed to figure out what the Representative needs to support the legislation.
Speaking of a brief chat between Stupak and Barack Obama, Stephanopoulos wondered, "Did he say anything to change your mind that could move you from no to yes?" The host later implored, "What more do you need?" At various points, the two seemed to be having separate conversations.
At one point, the former Democratic operative turned journalist hopefully opined, "Congressman, I have to say, this is more openness to working this out than I've seen from you in weeks. What's changing here?" But, Stupak shot back: "Nothing, George. If they had the vote today, I'm still a no vote."
Given recent liberal statements disparaging having children, it's easier to understand left-wing opposition to a pro-life amendment to the health care reform bill. Just one day after Rosie O'Donnell essentially stated that public funding of abortion would solve the problem of paying for "all of the unwanted kids and the half-million of them in foster care," she disparaged the QuiverFull movement as "even scarier" when she found it was made up of conservative evangelical Christians.
QuiverFull became a topic of discussion on O'Donnell's March 16 Sirius XM "Rosie Radio" after she mentioned that her new girlfriend enjoyed watching the TLC program "19 and Counting," about the Duggar family. [Audio available here .]
The Duggars have 19 children and are part of the movement, in which married couples forgo birth control to give God complete control over how many children they will have.
"That's their religion. It's a movement among [stated in a fake-Southern accent] conservative evangelical Christians," explained Pete Mele, a staff member.
"Oh. Uh-huh. Even scarier," O'Donnell interrupted.
"Hot on the heels of Kucinich's declaration of support for health-care reform, the Associated Press is reporting that Catholic nuns are urging Democratic lawmakers to support health-care reform," Newsweek's Katie Connolly informed readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog this morning.
"This is a major break with the church's bishops, who have strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that some federal subsidies may end up funding abortions," Connolly gushed, later closing her blog post with the conclusion that "[a]t the very least, the letter damages the validity of [pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart] Stupak's argument."
Both Connolly's post and the underlying AP story failed to delve into this, but the letter in question was not simply cobbled together by apolitical nuns. It was pushed out to the media by a group with a left-wing agenda, reports CatholicCulture.org:
As the House gears up for a final move on ObamaCare, the media are doing everything they can to pressure pro-lifers to accept federal funding for abortion while helping the Obama administration downplay what that means.
Instead of respecting the conscience of a pro-life politician, news outlets have launched an all-out campaign to blame House Democrat Bart Stupak for thwarting ObamaCare. Of course he's not pro-life, he's "anti-abortion," and he's willing to let millions of helpless Americans go without healthcare to satisfy some personal agenda.
The AP's Liz Sidoti set the tone on Saturday with a snarky, pouty article about Democrats who don't go along with what Obama wants. Gone were the days of patriotic dissent as Sidoti blamed obstructionists for trying to kill ObamaCare (h/t LiveAction):
Rachel Maddow has to get it right eventually, what with the law of averages and all. We'll just have to remain patient.
Latest targest of her self-righteous wrath? Congressman Bart Stupak, apostate Democrat of Michigan, for his opposition to taxpayer-funded abortion.
Here's Maddow from her MSNBC show on Wednesday, alleging deceit by Stupak while engaging in it herself twice over --
MADDOW: One of the things that folks have not paid much attention to as they've been putting Bart Stupak on TV and giving him more attention than he's ever had in his life is that Bart Stupak never seems to name this bloc of people who he supposedly represents, this bloc of Stupac-following members of Congress who he supposedly speaks for. Well, last month Congressman Stupak said it was 15 to 20 unnamed members of the House who he said had major concerns about the bill.
What's a principled stance on the life of an unborn fetus if it means achieving the be-all and end-all victory for liberal ideologues - a government intrusion into health care? According to The Nation's Chris Hayes, it's just "one giant obstacle."
Hayes, filling in for Rachel Maddow on MSNBC's March 9 broadcast of "The Rachel Maddow Show," didn't seem impressed with Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. Stupak, who has a documented history of having a pro-life position on abortion long before so-called health care reform was even a possibility, has been taking heat from left-wingers in this political battle. But according to MSNBC, it's just his "15 minutes of fame."
"If health reform is finally going to happen this year, Democrats have one giant obstacle standing in their way, his name is Bart Stupak," Hayes said. "Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan has threatened for the last week to pretty much anyone who will listen, to bring down the health reform bill if the anti-abortion language he prefers is not in it. And Bart Stupak says he's not just speaking for Bart Stupak. He is speaking for the Stupak dozen."
Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.
Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday put the responsibility for passing health care on the shoulders of the pro-life Bart Stupak, worrying that the Congressman is "now threatening a mutiny over the issue of abortion." The GMA host interviewed Stupak and pressed him three times on voting for the legislation. [Audio available here.]
At one point, he solemnly queried, "If the President doesn't change the language, if your language is not accepted, you and your 11 colleagues who voted yes the last time will vote no this time. Does that mean you're prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"
Notice that Stephanopoulos placed the obligation on Stupak and not on pro-abortion Democrats who, one could argue, are more concerned with that issue than with passing health care. Earlier in the segment, the ABC journalist grilled, "So, if the President doesn't change the Senate bill, you can't vote for it?"
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe claimed in her latest blog post that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which bans federal funding of elective abortion in the recently passed House health care reform bill, is "a privacy invasion of massive proportions" because it "would allow government policy to intervene in the most private of medical decisions made by women and their private insurance companies."
Apparently Erbe is not concerned that federal funding of elective abortions would also prove to be a "privacy invasion of massive proportions" for people who do not want to pay for the taking of innocent human life.
CNN released a poll yesterday that found 61 percent of Americans do not want their tax dollars used to pay for the abortions of women who otherwise could not afford to pay for them. Over half, 51 percent, believe women who have abortions should pay for the procedure out of their own pockets, even if they have private health insurance.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin fretted in a column in the November 23, 2009 edition of The New Yorker that “abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized,” and even turned his ire on some in his left-wing camp, including President Obama. He accused “many modern pro-choice Democrats,” including the President, of ceding “the moral high ground” to pro-lifers.
Toobin began his “Not Covered” column by outlining the history of abortion, particularly in the U.S.: “Abortion is almost as old as childbirth. There has always been a need for some women to end their pregnancies. In modern times, the law’s attitude toward that need has varied....Throughout this long legal history, the one constant has been that women have continued to have abortions.” The analyst continued with his lament that the legalized murder of an unborn child isn’t more accepted, given the “constant” he had outlined: “It might be assumed that such a common procedure would be included in a nation’s plan to protect the health of its citizens. In fact, the story of abortion during the past decade has been its separation from other medical services available to women. Abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized.”
After airing what she described as a "hard-hitting" ad by the Center for Reproductive Rights which ominously warned, "Don't let Congress ban abortion coverage millions of women already have," MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman today lamented to Politico's Jeanne Cummings that with Sen. Ted Kennedy gone, Democrats lack a unifying figure who could defuse an abortion battle that could mar Democratic unity on health care reform.
Snyderman praised the late pro-choice politician as a "man of his church and of his faith" (MP3 audio here):
Well, now the Catholic Church is lobbying hard to get House language into the Senate bill and then hopefully get it passed. Politico's assistant managing editor Jeanne Cummings wrote about this. And she joins me now.
The pesky thing about abortion for pro-choice stalwarts is that when it comes to the will of the people through their legislatures, they often lose more battles than when the voters in question are black-robed judges in a courtroom.
Just ask Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, who is bummed about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and its effect on the Democrats' hopes for a health care reform bill that puts in place a government-run health care "option" (emphasis mine):
When health-care reform passed the House by just two votes late Saturday night, I assumed Speaker Nancy Pelosi had several more votes in her pocket from Blue Dogs who would be there if she needed them. After all, that's how Washington works. I also figured I shouldn't get too worked up about the restrictive amendment on abortion that was added at the last minute because it would be stripped from the legislation when it went to conference and was merged with the Senate bill.
It took just a little reporting for me to discover how wrong my initial assessments were.... [D]itching the amendment advanced by pro-life Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak is unlikely.
On Thursday’s Countdown show, as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann hosted fellow host Rachel Maddow to plug a segment on her show about pro-life Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak’s push to block any ObamaCare proposal that involves taxpayer funding of abortion, Maddow charged that Stupak was being "cowardly" in focusing his pro-life attention "targeting" poor women who "won’t fight back or can’t fight back because they don’t have the resources."
Maddow’s contention came as Olbermann – ignoring the political reality that not only does an individual Congressman have little if any influence in a President’s choice of Supreme Court nominees, but that even mustering a two-thirds vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade by constitutional amendment would be nearly impossible in any Congress, let alone an overwhelmingly Democratic one – tried to undermine Stupak’s moral authority on abortion by suggesting the Michigan Democrat was not willing to "fight that fight in the open."
Insisting that her opinion was not influenced by her views on abortion, MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman went on a tear shortly after 12:30 p.m. EST on her November 9 "Dr. Nancy" program, denouncing the "infuriating" Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care bill passed on Saturday.
As a consequence, women seeking to have insurance pay for abortion procedures under the would need to pay out-of-pocket for additional coverage for abortion procedures.
Snyderman hinted that she was annoyed that pro-life Democrats even thought it necessary to press for the Stupak Amendment in the first place. After all, Snyderman complained to MSNBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, she and her colleagues at MSNBC had done their level best for months to calm fears of pro-lifers about ObamaCare: