Voters who are considering supporting moderates in November might want to ask themselves: Do they want to be “Stupaked”? From coast to coast and from Mike to Mike, meaning Mike Castle (R-DE) and Mike Bennet (D-CO), congressional incumbents are running on moderate, middle-of-the-road platforms. These folks and all other moderates need to be studied and questioned now more than ever. Remember the health care debate earlier this year, when Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) bamboozled all of his supporters who believed he would protect the right to life during the House debate on the bill? Stupak said that he was committed to protecting life by making sure government funds never went to pay for abortions. In fact, Stupak is the co-chair of the House of Representatives’ pro-life caucus. But that didn’t stop him from voting for a federal health care bill that doesn’t restrict federal funding of abortion. That the health care bill passed — without a provision restricting government funding of abortion — is entirely thanks to the leadership of Stupak, since he led and supplied the health care bill’s winning margin in the House of Representatives.
Congressional leaders can round up votes for passing legislation by distributing “goodies” like leadership posts or plum committee assignments. However, when members of Congress make these deals, they never include as part of the deals any repayment to their constituents. Their constituents — the ones who devote their time, talents and put their trust in their members of Congress — are disappointed when these deals cause their members of Congress to go back on their campaign commitments.
So remember: be careful, diligent, and knowledgeable when you head to the polls this November, and don’t get “Stupaked” by so-called moderates. Stay tuned to see if voters remember and apply this old adage come Election Day: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, four-times-elected United States Senate Secretary for the Majority and Minority. She is the founder of GradeGov.com.