Judas got 30 pieces of silver. All Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) got was a worthless piece of paper… and $726,409 in additional funding for three airports in his district.
Mr. Stupak and his small band of nominally pro-life Democrats were the key to the 219-212 vote by which Obamacare passed the House of Representatives Sunday. Had Stupak et. al. remained firm in their stated determination to oppose a health care bill that permitted federal funding for abortions, the measure would have failed.
But Mr. Stupak accepted an executive order from the president restating the pallid language of the Senate bill on abortion which he had heretofore found inadequate as a reason for voting yes. But Mr. Stupak knows full well that executive orders apply only within the Executive Branch, and only to the extent to which they do not conflict with legislation. If the Senate bill permits federal funding of abortion as both pro-life and pro-choice groups say it does the executive order will do nothing to change that.
So it may be the real reason for Rep. Stupak's change of heart was FAA grants announced Friday for airports in Alpena, Delta and Chippewa counties in his northern Michigan district.
There was a lot of that going around. When in her victory speech House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) said "no money changed hands, of course," there was laughter.
Mr. Stupak is a liberal Democrat who wanted to support Obamacare. But he is also a Catholic who regularly attends mass. But in the end, when he had to choose between allegiance to his party and allegiance to his faith, his party won out.
It's clear now the genuinely pro-life Democrats in Congress could caucus in a broom closet. And there are far fewer "moderate" Democrats than the news media would have us believe. The Democratic Party has become a far left, big government party. That might not work out so well for them in elections to come.
Many Democrats think Sunday's vote puts the health care issue behind them. The sudden popularity of Dan Benishek suggests otherwise. Dr. Benishek is a surgeon who on March 15 announced he would run against Rep. Stupak. Within hours of Mr. Stupak's flip-flop on Obamacare, more than 1700 people signed onto Dr. Benishek's Facebook page.
Sunday's vote was historic. But Democratic euphoria may be premature. Prohibition was historic, too. But few look back upon it as a good idea.
Sunday's vote means Obamacare is likely to be a major issue not just in the midterms, but for many elections to come. Obamacare will be hard to repeal, but not as hard to repeal as Prohibition, which required a constitutional amendment.
Democrats are telling themselves people will like Obamacare once it's enacted. But to believe that requires the kind of faith that sustains belief in the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.
Democrats made many preposterous promises like President Obama's claim Obamacare would reduce insurance premiums "3,000 percent" that will be proven false in the coming weeks and months.
In order to game the Congressional Budget Office score for the ten year cost estimate for Obamacare, Democrats postponed the goodies until 2014 or later. All Americans will have experienced before they vote in 2010 and 2012 are tax increases, Medicare cuts, and the consequences of having many physicians stop seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients, or quit their practices altogether. A poll taken by the New England Journal of Medicine indicated 46 percent of general practitioners plan to hang it up if Obamacare becomes law. This is not likely to enhance the popularity of a measure already detested by a substantial majority.
It will take two elections to substantially modify Obamacare, or repeal it altogether. President Obama can be counted on to veto any bill to repeal it, and Democrats can filibuster with 41 votes in the Senate as easily as Republicans can.
But if Republicans take control of the House after this year's midterms, they can vitiate much of the harm of Obamacare if they follow the example Democrats set when they took control of the House in the 1874 election.
Reconstruction in the South formally was ended by the Hayes-Tilden agreement of 1877. But Democrats in the House hastened its demise by refusing to vote money for the Army to enforce it. A Republican House today could refuse to fund the Obamacare bureaucracy.