Democrat Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan's upper peninsula has decided to retire following his stunt during the health care debate.
Stupak held out on the vote for health care until the abortion question was answered. The answer was an Executive Order signed by President Obama a day after the health care signing. The signing of the Executive Order did not receive the pomp and circumstance of the health care bill signing rally. Rather it was held in a closed office, shut off from the press with Stupak and a limited few others in attendance.
Stupak claimed that he had received threats, both at home and his office, for holding out on the vote for health care, but none were published. He claimed he also received threats following his changing of his vote for health care and one was published, which wasn't really a threat but more just a woman saying that millions of people wished him ill health.
Stupak says that his decision to retire has nothing to do with his health care vote. Instead, he's saying that he's retiring to spend more time with his family. This is what many figures that become controversial use as a reason for leaving their particular profession.
This seems to be the prevailing excuse for retirement in politics lately. Senator Byron Dorgan retired to "spend more time with his family". Representative Bill Delahunt announced his retirement in March to "spend time with his family". It, of course, has nothing to do with a controversy over his inaction regarding the death of three people.
Representative Charles Pickering (R) from Mississippi announced he wouldn't run again for Congress in 2008 because he wanted to "spend more time with his family". Later he filed for divorce from his wife.
It's not just limited to politics. Magic Johnson of the L.A. Lakers retired to "spend time with his family". Same with Karl Malone.
In Stupaks case, he's 58 years old. He's not retiring. He's leaving Congress but he's not retiring. He's now going to start up another business. Usually starting a new business means more time away from the family building that business.
His timing is suspect. The controversy over the health care bill. In addition the Tea Party Express announced that they are targeting Stupak this year and have been in his area in recent days.
Whether he's leaving to "spend time with his family" or not, the good news is that he's leaving Congress.
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