John Kass is Chicago’s most beloved columnist if you’re conservative and anti-corruption and most hated columnist if you’re liberal and part of the Democrat machine.
Kass’s Chicago Tribune piece today was on Congressman Dan Lipinski, the only member of Bart Stupak’s bloc of pro-life votes who stayed strong and voted against the healthcare bill in the House a week ago tonight.
Lots of money lines. Here’s one: “People have asked me, ‘If it was good enough for Stupak, why wasn’t it good enough for you?’” Lipinski said. “The executive order most likely will be overturned by the federal courts. The order does not trump the law.”…
Lipinski’s father Bill has always been dear to my heart as being a co-sponsor of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act despite the fact Christ Hospital was in his district. He took a tough political stand.
I found out last week the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Here’s the column…
Congressman stands up to naysayers in White House after voting against health bill
The only IL Democrat in Congress to vote against Obamacare was on the phone.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski – one of the few pro-life Democrats who didn’t cave in to White House pressure – was explaining how it felt to be very much alone.
“It was rather lonely, yes,” Lipinski said of voting against President Barack Obama’s federalized health care agenda. “But I could not vote for a bill that would change the status quo on funding for abortion.“…
By voting “no,” Lipinski has put a target on his back for smears from the WH staffed by the guys from Chicago.
“There were aspects of the president’s package that I liked. Helping people get insurance, that sort of thing. But we weren’t really voting for health reform. We were voting for a bill that is financially unsustainable. And I couldn’t support that bill,” he said.
As a Roman Catholic against abortion, he’s formally a pariah among most Democratic elites. And predictably, he’s been attacked by unnamed WH sources in media reports. Who’s behind that? Perhaps when WH chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak) asks me out to lunch, he’ll tell me.
Lipinski said that his “no” vote was about more than abortion.
“I looked through the analysis, I determined it was not a good bill,” Lipinski said. “It’s not sustainable. It will cost more than we can afford.”
Democrats argue that the health care plan will eventually save money when (or if) cuts in Medicare for senior citizens kick in.
But Lipinski, son of the former congressman and longtime 23rd Ward Democratic boss Bill Lipinski, knows that politicians quiver when faced with cutting existing benefits to seniors who vote in big numbers.
“You cannot tell seniors on Medicare that they’re going to see cuts, or that they can’t see the doctor they’ve been seeing, or can’t go to the hospital they’re used to,” he said. “It’s not going to happen. It’s not politically feasible.”
Lipinski is my congressman, representing the Southwest Side of Chicago and southwest suburbs. He was one of only 34 Democrats who opposed the bill that passed the House 219-212.
Pro-life Democrats, led by MI’s Bart Stupak, argued that Obama’s massive health plan could allow federal funds for abortion. Stupak demanded an amendment in the legislation explicitly forbidding that possibility.
But Stupak caved, after the president promised an executive order that would ostensibly do what Stupak asked. It was just a political fig leaf giving Stupak cover for abandoning his principles. It didn’t convince insiders on either side of the abortion debate. And it didn’t convince Lipinski.
“People have asked me, ‘If it was good enough for Stupak, why wasn’t it good enough for you?’” Lipinski said. “The executive order most likely will be overturned by the federal courts. The order does not trump the law.”
Being a pro-life Democrat must be a lot like being a pro-life newspaper columnist. Sometimes you get awfully chilly.
“It’s not just about being against something, it’s believing that every individual deserves dignity and respect, whoever they are, at whatever stage of life they’re in,” Lipinski said. “That is something I hear my Democratic colleagues say. And I say that it’s self-evident that the individual is there at conception.”
Lipinski has degrees in mechanical engineering, economic systems, and political science. He’s not a biologist.
“We know that at conception, the genetic code is there, for a unique individual. This is not something that is just a religious belief,” Lipinski said. “If you look at what we know about reproduction, you can see it.”
And I can see that the sliming of Lipinski continues by those unnamed WH sources. Last week’s media spin was that Lipinski’s father installed him in Congress for great health care. Dan Lipinski is a diabetic. Therefore, the spinners whispered, Lipinski is a hypocrite for voting against the president.
“But none of the attacks are true about my health care,” he said. Lipinski said he had health insurance as an assistant professor at the University of TN when he took a leave of absence to campaign for Congress. And since his election, he’s been on the federal plan.
“I had health care,” he said. “If someone has a problem with how I voted, then address my concerns about the legislation. But they use ad hominem attacks based on ‘facts’ that are incorrect.”
Lipinski’s real problems are that he voted “no” and he upholds the teachings of his faith on abortion. These must surely be considered grievous secular sins in some quarters of the WH.
“And I thought we transcended the politics of the past. What happened?” Lipinski asked sarcastically.
He reports that in his predominately Catholic and conservative district, the support for his “no” vote is running 3-1 in his favor. If that’s accurate, then he did the smart political thing by voting “no.”
Smart politics or not, Lipinski is part of a tiny minority in his party. That bothers the WH, but it doesn’t bother him.