One of the few bright spots of the health care debate is the way Right Democrats have used their numbers in the House to basically incorporate the Hyde Amendment, which bans Federal funding for abortion (which was passed by a Democrat Congress in the late 1970s and signed by then President Jimmy Carter I do believe) into both the House and Senate bills. Instead of celebrating the triumphant march towards fully socialized medicine, the Left is instead wailing and gnashing their teeth at this provision and hurling abuse at Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the Democrat who put it in the House bill.
Stupak represents a district that covers all of northern Michigan and the UP, one of those classic Reagan Democrat districts, economically liberal and culturally conservative. Like most Right Democrats, Stupak isn’t opposed in principal to universal health care. What he is opposed to having his constituents tax money paying something they feel is morally repugnant which most citizens agree they should not be forced to do.
Peter Bienart says in this interesting article in Daily Beast that the Cultural Marxists ought to get used to it. The desire on many on the Left to revamp the welfare state (when did it ever go away?) runs smack into the desires of Cultural Marxists to use the such a welfare state for their own agenda. Stupak stood in the way of this and Nancy Pelosi smartly sided with him to make sure the bill got through the House.
The Democrats majority in Congress rest upon members and places that may to wish to share in the new welfare state but not at the price of the Cultural Marxists’ wish list. Being a dominant political party requires like it or not. Rarely are such big parties ideologically pure parties as Beinart correctly points out and include elements that seem to be completley incompatiable from the other.
“Yet it was that big, ugly Democratic Party that from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson pushed through Social Security, the Wagner Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Food Stamps, Head Start, Medicare and Medicaid (with occasional help from the then-extant progressive wing of the GOP).
This was the devil’s pact that defined the Democratic Party for more than three decades, until the civil rights and women’s movement forced party leaders to choose. They reluctantly chose racial and gender equality. The Democratic Party became culturally liberal: pro-affirmative action, pro-choice, and smaller, since the old racists and sexists, now repackaged as racial and sexual conservatives, flocked to the GOP. Starting in 1968, Democrats began consistently losing the presidency. And in 1994, the realignment finally trickled down to the House of Representatives, and the Democrats lost that, too.
I feel it was inevitable this was going to happen. This is what the year 1968 all about and all the fallout from it, the welfare state’s incompatability to deal with the Culture Wars (along with its incompetence with a real shooting war) and the opportunities it provided the conservative movement to finally gain power for itself. The left has hope the Culture Wars either go away or become a decisive victory on their part in order to revamp the welfare state or such splits will wreck their dreams once again.
It may seem like a rear-guard action and maybe it is, but the more we can encourage Democrats like Stupak to hold their ground nationally on issues like abortion or the 2nd Amendment, the more the Cultural Marxists are turned back and the less radical the Democrats are prevented in becoming. You may very well get something like nationalized health care, which is a seperate issue entirely, but at least for the time being you won’t get it with Catholic or Baptist hospitals being forced to provide abortions.