Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2009

LIEBERMAN'S EVER-EVOLVING RATIONALE.... Joe Lieberman has opposed a public option from the outset. That's not especially interesting. What's more noteworthy is the way in which his reasoning keeps changing.

In June, Lieberman said, "I don't favor a public option because I think there's plenty of competition in the private insurance market." That didn't make sense, but it was his story and he was sticking to it. In July, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because "the public is going to end up paying for it." I'm not even sure what that means. In August, he said we'd have to wait "until the economy's out of recession," which is incoherent, since a public option, even if passed this year, still wouldn't kick in for quite a while.

On MSNBC this afternoon, Lieberman moved onto a new argument.

"I mean a government-run health insurance plan. The public doesn't support it. They know that, ultimately, taxpayers will pay for it. They don't want us to add to the debt. They feel that the existing system, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, does pretty well."

First, the public does support a public option. Second, as Jamison Foser noted, the cost concerns are unfounded. And third, if the status quo "does pretty well," there'd be no hunger for reform.

But watching the evolution of Lieberman's thinking on this, it seems he just bounces from justification to justification, trying to rationalize the decision he made months ago to oppose competition for private insurers. The search for a credible rationale continues.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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In all fairness, Lieberman has been scouring the public option for weapons of mass destruction, but ultimately, isn't it a good thing the Joe has brought democracy to the public option?

Posted by: doubtful on September 8, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Hartford is in Connecticut is not explanation enough?

Posted by: TreeTop on September 8, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman's thinking continues to evolve as the debate proceeds.

We would be further along if other liberals demonstrated such flexibility.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Leave poor Joe and the Repugs alone. They're just doing the job they were HIRED to do (voters be damned).

Posted by: -syzygy- on September 8, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

It may very well be that smarmy joe ain't so very bright ? Like a cigarette burning in yawning between his ears ? In the woolly logic of his endless cupidity ?

Posted by: frp on September 8, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Since Connecticut is largely synonymous w/ "insurance industry," that alone would be Lieberman's real explanation as to why he opposes a public option. (Though, as far as I know, the insurance industry's importance to Connecticut hasn't stopped Senator Dodd from supporting a public option.) But Lieberman being Lieberman, he has to find some pious-sounding and ultimately self-serving "justification" for public consumption and to keep up his rep for being "the reasonable Democrat."

Posted by: Eisbaer on September 8, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Now, ask him about healthcare reform in Israel, and I'll be you have his attention.

Posted by: JM on September 8, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is a "Prime" example of the Washington politician who exists SOLELY to raise money for his "independent" re-election efforts.
Hopefully enough voters in Connecticut have had enough years of this "Representative" who ALWAYS puts his "Corporate supporters- FIRST" and "Hard-working" citizens of Connecticut LAST.
The sooner he is gone from Washington- THE BETTER !

Posted by: ParityFanatic on September 8, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'm home sick and saw that, thinking "he's telling two blatant lies and Andrea Mitchell isn't challenging him one bit."

The problem isn't Lieberman, everyone knows he's a two-faced, deceitful little worm. It's the goddamn corporate media that gives a microphone to the lies and promotes them.
I know, it ain't gonna change, so spare me the lectures.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

The sooner he is gone from Washington- THE BETTER !

He'll never be gone from DC, he'll just turn around and start working for one of those scumbag lobbyists.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 8, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if Lieberman etc. realize, taxpayers already pay mega billions for insurance coverage anyway, so why not direct it to a public option.

BTW I wrote this Haiku, "Health Care Lament."
You can repeat it, credit to "Neil B" (w or w/o the eighth note!)

Health Care Lament

by Neil B ♪

The Nation is sick

The partisans rant and rave

When will healing come?

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on September 8, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Since Connecticut is largely synonymous w/ "insurance industry," that alone would be Lieberman's real explanation as to why he opposes a public option.

Yes, and gotta point out once again that Hadassah Lieberman has been employed for years in seriously high-paying jobs in the insurance and pharma industries. The Liebermans are wretched whores for his campaign coffers and their family bank accounts.

Posted by: shortstop on September 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

As I keep repeating, It is the MEDIA, Stupid!!! None of this lying would be allowed if the MEDIA did its job. Why would anyone expect Andrea Mitchell to call out a liar? Who is she married to? Greenspan? Next question?

Posted by: st john on September 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I hate Joe Lieberman with the white hot intensity of a thousand blazing suns.

Posted by: TMC on September 8, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Sherlock Holmes (and shortstop) on this one: "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Hadassah stands to lose too much money from the Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries. They don't give a damn about his less fortunate constituents.

Posted by: schwag of tulsa on September 8, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

"The search for a credible rationale continues".

Of course, no such rationale exists.

Think of it. It appears Barack Obama will have permitted the despised insurance racketeers and their congressional bag men to triumph over the will of the people, and the good of the country.

In his Sunday column in the San Francisco Chronicle, former mayor (and ex-Speaker of the Ca. Assembly) Willie Brown wrote:
"The real challenge for Obama is not to present an ideal plan, but to present a plan that can pass with the minimum political risk to the politicians who have to vote for it".

Rahm Emmanuel couldn't have said it better. Forget for the moment that it is a fundamentally flawed argument. I wrote Brown (a man I genuinely admire):

The nation is fortunate that LBJ wasn't guided by such philosophy when he effected passage of his civil rights legislation in the mid-60's. He understood as well as Richard Nixon that it portended a radical rupture of the democratic coalition. But he accomplished it nonetheless, because it was a righteous and just undertaking. He struck at the height of his power, too, before time and events invariably diminished his abilities to effect events. In contrast, Obama has sought a mushed mouth middle course in the health care "debate". At the height of his power, with his party in command of both Houses, he has chosen to placate and succor the long established, corrupt status quo. He talked the talk during the campaign. And then he caved, if he hasn't outright cratered.

To which I'll add: I will never be more pleased to eat my words if events prove me wrong. In that happy scenario, I vow to write the president a letter of apology, and thank him for his great and good accomplishment.

Posted by: JW on September 8, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

TreeTop beat me to it: a bunch of insurance companies are located in Hartford. Hartford is in Connecticut. Which Lieberman represents, if you can call it that.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 8, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Headline: Kenyan Senators Lieberman, McCain and McConnell oppose government program for water relief and a government healthcare program to solve crisis.

"Too many thugs at townhall meetings opposed solution." Says McCain.

"Who gives a damn about a few dead kids anyways." says McConnell.

"Poverty has no impact on the national economy." Quoth the Lieberman.

From today's NY Times: "LOKORI, Kenya — The sun somehow feels closer here, more intense, more personal. As Philip Lolua waits under a tree for a scoop of food, heat waves dance up from the desert floor, blurring the dead animal carcasses sprawled in front of him.

"Children waited in Lokori for aid last month. Communities are fighting over the few remaining pieces of fertile grazing land. More Photos »
So much of his green pasture land has turned to dust. His once mighty herd of goats, sheep and camels have died of thirst. He says his 3-year-old son recently died of hunger. And Mr. Lolua does not look to be far from death himself.

“'If nobody comes to help us, I will die here, right here,' he said, emphatically patting the earth with a cracked, ancient-looking hand.'"

Posted by: Kurt on September 8, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if we had a mandate, but no public option he would see the 'wisdom' of reform. But, if it doesn't benefit insurance companies he can't possibly be expected to support it. After all, he knows his arguments are garbage and yet he says he's against it. The only way that can be true is if he has an ulterior motive -- helping his corporate sponsors.

He's a lost cause because he doesn't care about Americans.

Posted by: MarkH on September 9, 2009 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

People used to say that while Lieberman had gone crazy-right on foreign policy, he was still a solid liberal on domestic policy.

No more.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on September 9, 2009 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

Anything Lieberman says is calculated to keep him at the center of attention. We put this assclown in the VP slot 9 years ago?

Posted by: bob h on September 9, 2009 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can‘t have them. Anunturi Bucuresti

Posted by: Kimberley Crauswell on January 4, 2011 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK



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