I so love to say I told you so.
On Sunday, after recovering from the intial reaction to the House vote, I cautioned that the Stupak Amendment created an impossible situation for Democrats. While Democrats were still drunk with jubilation over the Great Saturday Night Victory, I saw that the Victory was not so Great, although it did take place on a Saturday Night.
Pelosi could not have obtained the votes to pass the bill without including the stringent anti-abortion wording contained in the Stupak Amendment. And if the amendment were stripped out in conference (assuming the Senate passes something), Pelosi would lose these necessary votes. No Stupak Amendment, no passage.
But, the Stupak Amendment was anathema to the liberal base of the Democratic Party, which regards women’s reproductive rights (i.e., access to abortion) as a core principle. Pelosi prevailed on Democrats last Saturday night to swallow that bitter pill in order to pass the bill, through a combination of arm-twisting, and nods and winks that the Amendment would be dropped later.
In order to pass something, so that she and Obama could claim an “historic moment,” Pelosi planted an abortion land mine.
That land mine has exploded. Starting with rumblings from the left-wing blogs, the liberal Democratic base has taken up arms over the Stupak Amendment. Now Democratic House members are in full revolt, with over 40 members signing on to a letter that they would not vote in favor of any post-conference bill which contained the Stupak Amendment language.
Obama, with his usual emotional and political distance, is not taking sides on the Stupak Amendment.
Rather than pass reform in small steps, starting with issues on which there was widespread agreement, Pelosi and Obama have embarked on an “historic” attempt to remake one-sixth of the economy in one fell swoop.
In so doing, Pelosi and Obama have surrounded themselves with themselves again. And it is blowing up in their political faces.
UPDATE: Like I said, Bart Stupak: ‘There Will Be Hell To Pay’ If My Amendment Is Removed