Concerning coalition dynamics and Bart Stupak

A fable appropriate to the day.

One day the parts of the body argued about who ought to be the boss.

The brain said, “I do the thinking around here, so I should be in charge.”
The hands said, “We do all the work around here, so we ought to be in charge.”
The feet said, “If we didn’t carry the body around, nothing cold get done, so we ought to be in charge.”

Every part of the body made its claim, until finally the rectum piped up, “I want to be in charge!”
All the others, who couldn’t agree among themselves, still laughed at the rectum’s claim. “Who ever heard of putting an anus in charge of anything?” said the brain. “Ewww, ick!” said the nose.

The rectum’s feelings were hurt. So it decided to shut down and do no more work. Then the brain became dull and vague, the hands became clumsy, the feet began to stumble.

All the other body parts apologized to the rectum, but refused to open up unless it would put in charge of the whole body. Eventually, they all agreed.

And the moral of the story:

You don’t need to be a big brain to be the boss, just a stubborn @sshole.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

14 thoughts on “Concerning coalition dynamics and Bart Stupak”

  1. I think it's a great point. And while I think it totally reasonable for anti-choice members to vote their conscious, the fact is that the bill doesn't cover abortions. But Stupak is part of a batshit movement that can't accept this. So no matter how reasonable he might be, his base won't let him vote for it.

    I think ass perfectly describes him.

  2. "the fact is that the bill doesn’t cover abortions."

    And that will be a fact right up until the moment it passes, at which point everybody who's assuring us it doesn't cover abortions will be doing their damnedest to make sure it covers abortions.

  3. Anyway, now that Stupak has announced his price, I expect the bill will pass. Hope you guys enjoy the carnage this fall, nobody can deny you've worked hard to earn it.

  4. Dems were always likely to lose seats in the fall due to the fundamentals. That they would have lost even more had they not passed health care reform is a certainty.

  5. "That they would have lost even more had they not passed health care reform is a certainty."

    Bwah ha ha! Oh, yeah, this is a reality based community, alright. An alternate reality.

  6. The moral or lesson is inapposite to the Stupak situation. The legislation may set a new logrolling record. Stupak is one of many Democrats (or several groups of democrats) who have traded his or her vote, without which the legislation would not have passed. The only difference in Stupak's case is that Mark does not like the sale price and has a need to call Stupak an Ahole, in a manner he thinks is clever. Mark, I realize that its getting harder and harder to find creative ways to level ad-homonym attacks, but that is no reason to to teach the wrong lesson.

  7. One thing's for sure, Stupak has irritated the heck out of most of the Democratic party. He's had his 15 minutes of fame. Even if he survives his primary, the party leadership will make sure that he chairs nothing more important than a sub-subcommittee monitoring of urinal storage facilities in the Aleutians.


  8. "Ad-homonym attacks"? Levine is funny, though he does not mean to be.

    I agree with Tom H., though. Even if Stupak, by caving after having thrown his toys from the pram to get his 15 minutes, ultimately permits the bill through, he needs to be crushed like a bug. His district should get not one discretionary dime of federal money so long as he represents it, and the House leadership should make sure his constituents understand why.

  9. Pingback: Bart Stupak
  10. Nah, I did want them. This bill passing and the Democrats suffering this fall is decidedly inferior to it going down to defeat, and Democrats suffering less. As a cancer patient with an insurance company paying massive bills without complaint, I'm very attached to my current coverage, which this bill makes illegal. Short of the bill being overturned in court sometime in the next few months, (Which OUGHT to be a slam dunk, given that this revenue bill originated in the Senate, but is in fact almost guaranteed not to happen.) I know I'm going to loose my current coverage, with no particular reason to think the new insurance will be better.

  11. Brett, I didn't know you had had cancer, pal. I'm sorry. Could you elaborate on how the HCR bill makes your current coverage illegal?

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