Even though Bart Stupak claims that the tea baggers dogging him had no influence on his decision to retire, it still matters that the tea baggers were dogging him. Why? Because Stupak is probably full of shit, as is his habit? In part, sure. It’s always fun to make fun of Stupak for being dumb as a brick. It’s become increasingly obvious that Stupak is belligerently ignorant, and that made it easier for his Republican buddies to manipulate him.
But that’s not the real reason. The real reason this is a noteworthy event is that it lays waste to the ridiculous media narrative that the teabaggers are some brand new movement, and not the same old right wing demagogues with a long list of people they hate, and that list includes women that try to exert some control over their lives and especially their fertility. Stupak may have been dumb enough to think that taking a stand on abortion was some grave moral issue, but the teabaggers were well aware that the abortion strategy was about exploiting misogyny in order to stop health care reform. And that he apparently doesn’t get that makes them hate him. Hey, it’s hard not to understand why! I found it implausible that he could be as stupid a tool as he turned out to be myself.
But it’s more than that. I think they really did think ol’ Stupak was one of theirs. Teabaggers are, and I wish the fucking media would see this, seamless garment assholes. You do have to admire the consistency of their worldview, one where they deserve everything and everyone else can go suck a turd. They saw that Stupak agree with them that sexually active young women who find themselves pregnant against their will don’t deserve a break, and figured that he must therefore agree with the full slate of people they think just just fucking die for all they care: people with pre-existing conditions, the unemployed, part time workers, anyone on the list of people who have problems getting and keeping and affording health insurance. But Stupak broke with them, and basically said that only sexually active women who find themselves accidentally pregnant deserve to be shoved out in the snow, and everyone else was okay with him. And they’re saying that’s not good enough.
The point should be clear—you can’t separate the “economic” conservatism of the tea baggers from their overall investment in hierarchy, social control, and punishing people that break the arbitrary rules that they claim the right to write.