Good job by The Hill; and the sudden turning point in yesterday’s drama

Yesterday afternoon, for a very short time prior to the switch by the Stupak Six, The Hill’s whip count had 39 votes in the No column, the high water mark for the No’s and the first time the No’s had been above the number needed to stop the bill. Thirty-three Democrats—39 minus 6—voted against the bill last night, showing the effect of the Stupak Six’s sellout of their anti-abortion position and also showing the accuracy of the The Hill’s whip count, which I had followed closely for several days leading up to the vote.

The time sequence was remarkable. In an update at 2:47 p.m., which I wrote up and then posted at 3:18 p.m., the whip count added two new Democratic No votes, bringing the No’s up to 39. Right in the middle of this, at 3:00 p.m., A. Zarkov sent me the November 2009 video in which Stupak revealed that he was entirely ready to vote for a bill without anti-abortion language. I posted that video in the same entry as the one telling about the 39 No votes. Thus, within the same few-minute period when the vote count showed our side winning, I found out the information that Stupak had intended to vote for the bill all along, and thus that it was overwhelmingly likely that he would switch his vote to no. And exactly at the time when I was reading Mr. Zarkov’s e-mail and watching the video, Politico, at 3:10, posted a story saying that sources had said Stupak had reached a deal with the White House, which I posted at 4:17 p.m.

Thus the hopeful interlude when the No votes were over 38 and it looked as though the bill might be stopped lasted in effect for 23 minutes, from The Hill’s posting of the updated No votes at 2:47 p.m, to Politico’s posting of the report of Stupak’s deal with the White House at 3:10 p.m. At the very moment when our side at last pulled ahead in the count, victory was snatched from us.

But here is a more downbeat view of it. According to Robert George writing at NRO:

[M]any of the Democrat “no” voters were prepared to vote “yes” had their votes been needed to pass the Obama-Pelosi bill. They were given permission by the Democratic leadership to vote “no” in the hope that recording a “no” vote would enable them to hold their seats against Republican challengers by falsely claiming that they opposed this travesty.

Meaning that our side never had a realistic chance of prevailing.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 22, 2010 03:23 PM | Send

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