THE BLOG
05/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What is the Stupak Hole? What is an LWG?

If you could translate "Dancing with the Stars" to Congress, then I would translate Representative Bart Stupak to Emmitt Smith.

I don't agree with the Congressman's position on abortion. I have real respect for the fact that he stood up, and more importantly, the way he stood up.

Ben Nelson could be bought off with a fistful of dollars, so could Mary Landrieu. Not Representative Stupak; he gets that there is a difference between the value of something and the price of it. Throwing money at a problem without values does nothing.

When Representative Stupak formed his coalition of the hidden, it was brilliant. Whether or not he was alone or had 30 or 10 or 5 members with him, he successfully created an environment where he could negotiate. He did hold up health care for a period of time at least attempting to enact language more in line with what he, and his district is about. So what?

He got an executive order stating the Hyde Amendment would remain the law of the land with respect to the health care overhaul.

Watching Rachel Maddow, she stated that Representative Stupak got nothing. I disagree.

At the end of the day, he turned out to be the ultimate ballroom dancer and team player. We got health care in part, because of this Tango.

First, he dispelled the Abortion Issue as one to eliminate the health care reform. The gossip mills run by the GOP were using the Abortion Issue as a standard wedge issue. Representative Stupak's stand put that to rest in a big way. As the GOP called him a baby-killer, that is a warped bonus that further underlines what Representative Stupak did. The GOP takes another hit to their credibility.

Second, he created the Stupak Hole. This hole is the size of a Mack Truck in the GOP wall. How much money has the GOP raised over the last 3 decades to fight their war against the Pro-Choice Movement? How many really good public servants were cast out of the public discourse because they failed of the litmus test of Pro-Life? (Hey, DNC do you think contacting some of these folks to act as spokespeople would be helpful in future elections?)

Keep in mind that when the GOP did get full power; The House, The Senate, The White House, The Supreme Court - they did not overturn Roe. As it turns out, this was the ultimate cynical power grab.
Representative Stupak did more for the pro-life movement in 3 months than the GOP did in 2 decades.

The question is how does the Democratic establishment start moving people through the Stupak Hole?

Third, he is shining a light on an anomaly in the Democratic Party. Representative Stupak is a Legislator With Guts (LWG). No Catholic Democratic Politician can be defined any other way. (There are other definitions of LWG not related to being Catholic...)

If you are a pro-life candidate -- you will need to stand up to those in the party on your left who demand total allegiance to Roe. If you are a pro-choice candidate -- you need to stand up against your Church. You will need to stand tall as the pulpit chastises and the cars are leafleted. You can't be thrown off when you are called "Baby Killer".

An LWG is a politician with a hard three-way choice, leave group that has an internal core value to them (like the Church), leave the party, or have the stones to stand in both areas. Representative Stupak joins, in my mind, others like Senator Bob Casey who also walks this path. JFK was a LWG when he went to Texas in 1960 and stated he was not taking orders from Rome. The more LWG that the Democrats get, the easier it will be to tear down the GOP Wall. We are now talking about developing politicians with credibility.

I hope his district in Michigan will see the service Representative Stupak has done for the country and allow him to waltz in November.

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