Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 27, 2009

AN EVER-EVOLVING RATIONALE.... OK, so Joe Lieberman would rather see health care reform fail than allow some consumers to have a choice between public and private coverage. But one of the key clues to an unprincipled mind is an evolving explanation for opposition.

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, and it was quickly dropped from his talking points.

In July, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because "the public is going to end up paying for it." No one knew what that meant.

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.

In September, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because "the public doesn't support it." A wide variety of credible polling proved otherwise.

Which brings us to October, and the latest in a series of weak explanations.

"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said. "To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don't think we need it now." [...]

Lieberman said that he'd vote against a public option plan "even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line."

Jon Chait explained that this "literally makes no sense whatsoever. A public plan does not provide a new entitlement. It just doesn't. It's a different form of providing an entitlement. Nor is it more expensive. In fact, the stronger versions of the public plan would cost less money. Lieberman is just babbling nonsense here."

Not that it matters -- it's almost November, which means Lieberman will have some equally unpersuasive argument very soon.

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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The guy's a lying douchebag. Hold the presses.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 27, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Connecticut voters, what have you wrought?

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on October 27, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

He's a major slimeball. Part of me thinks he wants something. He's using his vote as a weapon is my guess. Depending on what he's after, he'll get what he wants and vote for cloture.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 27, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

i've said it before and i'll say it again: every senator has their specialty.

mitch mcconnel's is being slimy.

lindsay graham's is being oily.

orren hatch's is being hypocritical.

and joe lieberman's is being the senator you most want to punch in the nose.

Posted by: howard on October 27, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Lieberman never can pass up the opportunity to remind everyone of what a completely and total unlikable douchebag he is...fer fuckssake, he needs to go away, preferably in some kind of highly embarassing hypocritical scandal.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on October 27, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

First step is to strip him of his chairmanships, and reassign him to the least influential committees. If Lieberman wants to play hardball on this issue, lets go kick him in the nuts. And my check-writing hand is ready for whoever Lieberman will be running again in 2010.

Posted by: MisterMister on October 27, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, it's 2012.

Lieberman wants attention and influence. It's all he's ever wanted.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on October 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree, howard. Every time I see Mitch McConnell, I have to suppress the instinctive desire to punch him in the face and steal his lunch money. Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, is just crying out for an atomic wedgie.

Funny thing is, I've never bullied anyone in my entire life, but somehow the United States' Senators just bring out the worst in me.

Posted by: dob on October 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The man is a loose cannon. He stumbles along making split-second decisions fueled by a combination of adolescent ego, advanced paranoia, vague rage at his rejection by Democrats, personal greed, a pathological need for attention and a reflexive contrariness.

He is one sick fuck. That he has the lives of tens of thousands and the health and well-being of millions more in his thoroughly nasty hands makes me shake with rage.

Posted by: shortstop on October 27, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

While stripping him of his committee chairmanship(s), give him seniority to 2006, when he was elected as an independent. Kick him down to the smallest senatorial office, cut his staff. If he wants to act like a member of the Republic Party, let them elevate him.

Posted by: Michael Carpet on October 27, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of the recent confusing reports start to make sense if the decision to go with reconciliation is already made. Then Obama would have gotten the big bipartisan vote (w/Snowe) with the trigger out of the Senate, the thing gets fixed by Pelosi in confernce to being two halfs of as good a bill as she can pass with 218 votes, then the bill comes out in two parts for reconciliation, one is reforms, one is financing. Snowe votes for one half and not the other but the end result is there was SOME kind of bipartisan figleaf in the midst of the confetti and kazoos for fianlly passing health care reform, even as Obama/Pelosi are actually playing hardball.

By going farther left in melding the two Senate bills, it could be that Harry Reid is cutting off more liberal options down the road. Instead of a month of coverage about how Olympia Snowe is the bee's knees for saving America, we're going to get a month of Joe Lieberman being an unpleasant whining ass who will put every party but the opposition in a bad mood with his bullshit.

It's...not good.

Posted by: joejoejoe on October 27, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Joe thinks we're moving too fast? Maybe he can tell that to the 45,000 families who lost a loved one last year because they had no health insurance.

I'd call Joe Lieberman a worm, but I wouldn't want to insult the other worms.

What a putz.

Posted by: Bruce on October 27, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Better Lieberman than a Democrat. If the GOP manages to kill health care reform through a filibuster with Lieberman getting them to 41 there will be some sentiment that the Democrats were overreaching--they aren't--but the overwhelming sense will be that the GOP killed health care reform. When the public sees their premiums, co pays and deductibles go up by double digits again next year and more companies drop health care coverage or go out of business because of it, and the ranks of the uninsured continue to skyrocket, the public will know that it is due to the GOP. That will not be the case if Blue Dogs go along with the filibuster. My personal belief is that if the insurers manage to kill this round of reform we will end up with single payor by 2013 instead of an opt in or out public option

Posted by: Terry on October 27, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Liarman has made it very, very apparent for some time now that it is always ALL about HIM, the solipsistic little rodent masquerading as a man.

I hope the people of CT tar and feather the lying POS.

Posted by: becca on October 27, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said.

Spoken by a man who apparently can't walk and chew gum.

-And this guy went to YALE?

Posted by: DAY on October 27, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Less Lieberman, et al, and more Alan Grayson...even if it is repeated sound bites from him. Let's move the discussion to good ideas and rational positions, until the others are forgotten. The more attention we give to the opposition, the more power it accumulates.

Posted by: st john on October 27, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

To the contrary, I don't think that the rationale has changed one iota. But "Aetna and the other Hartford insurers won't let me support this, and I can't afford to lose their money," just sounds bad to the voters, ya know?

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on October 27, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

He's against the public option because he's in the insurance industry's pocket. He's a conservative from Connecticut. Duh.

Posted by: dp on October 27, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Joementum, baby!

Posted by: Doofus on October 27, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Am I mistaken in remembering that Connecticut is the corporate home to many, many insurance companies? Hmmmn.

Posted by: Frank on October 27, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Chait: "Lieberman is just babbling nonsense here"

Mr. Obvious strikes again.

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 27, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Why is anyone surprised by this?

I'm just glad it (a) means that this particular reform bill will get killed despite being the "Bends over backwards to please everyone, not actually going to achieve much" bill, and (b) when it happens, the Democrats are going to realize that they stand no chance of passing HCR if they insist on trying to appease the lunatic right, and (c) that Lieberman will be persona-non-grata at last.


Posted by: squiggleslash on October 27, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Dave on October 27, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Press On Regardless.

To paraphrase an SNL skit:

Bring it on down to Reconciliationville !

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 27, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I attended the inaugural in January, way back in the crowd. There were jumbotrons all along the mall, and as various heroes and villains took their seats, they showed up on screen and were treated to cheers or (fairly) good natured boos, as appropriate. But no one, not Bush or even Cheney, inspired the same volume of disapproval as did Lieberman.

Posted by: Kranko on October 27, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

"The guy's a lying douchebag. Hold the presses."

Joe is the guy who told his constituents that no one wanted to end the war in Iraq more than him. What a principled man.

Posted by: Notorious P.A.T. on October 27, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing the Democratic leadership kissed his ring; otherwise, he might have done just what he's doing.

Posted by: Posta Comment on October 27, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Why oh why do the good people of Connecticut continue sending Senator Droopy Dog back to Washington? He's a disgrace.

Posted by: Bob on October 27, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

What are the possibilities of bringing this to the floor of the Senate under reconciliation? This was all the talk several weeks ago, now it's "60 or nothing." I understand that there are some difficulties in doing this, but rather than having it fail, I'd prefer to see it pass.

And after all, given all the claims of "cost" and "ballooning the deficit" this is clearly an economic bill.

Posted by: MichMan on October 27, 2009 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Aetna and the other Hartford insurers won't let me support this, and I can't afford to lose their money," just sounds bad to the voters, ya know?

Campaign donations from the insurance execs to Lieberman should be publicized, political ads made with them.

Posted by: flubber on October 27, 2009 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, it's not about campaign donations and threatening not to reelect him. Lieberman isn't running again. His next job will be as a healthcare lobbyist, so everything he does until the end of his term will be in service of his masters to be. His constituents have no bargaining power whatsoever.

Posted by: shortstop on October 27, 2009 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, if only we could instead pick off a few relatively moderate Senate repugs up for election next year via massive ad campaigns in their states exhorting voters to "contact your senator". Remember, a large majority of self-identified Republican voters support a public option too.

Unfortunately, no such relatively moderate Senate repugs in this situation exist. But if only...then we could not only win, but also rob Lieberman of the opportunity to once again make it "all about the Joe." I suspect this would cause him more butthurt than even stripping him of his chairmanship and seniority.

No, in this situation, only death threats will work (joke). But seriously, he needs to catch a major ration of shit for this...if the worst that can be done to him is to make his life miserable for some x period of time, we need to make sure that at the very least his life is miserable for that period of time.

Posted by: Jennifer on October 27, 2009 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

To answer a question in this thread from earlier, no, it's not Alzheimers. He just loves to pretend-fellate the Repubs from Cheney on down. Pompous pretentious spineless pansy.

Posted by: manfred on October 27, 2009 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

There has to be some dirt on this guy somewhere. Anyone that pompous and power-hungry has some skeletons. Can someone start digging .... PLEASE!!!!???

Posted by: Laurie on October 27, 2009 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

As for reconciliation, my understanding is that this would piss the Repukeliscum off no end, and they would go ballistic.

I'd pay money to see that, myself.

Posted by: POed Lib on October 27, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

How could you forget when he said he wouldn't vote for a public option because there wasn't enough support for it in the Senate!? That one nearly made my head explode. Too bad there's no recall...

Posted by: Doh on October 27, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet President Obama, Senator Schumer, and the rest of the Democratic idiots who went and torpedoed Ned Lamont - the Democratic candidate in 2006 - in favor of their good buddy Whiny Joe are kicking themselves now. Goddamned morons that they were then and are now.

Posted by: TCinLA on October 28, 2009 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

For the 800th time, Obama dropped his support of Lieberman after Lamont won the Democratic primary. He didn't exactly hit the streets for Lamont, either, but he gave him his very tepid support.

Posted by: shortstop on October 28, 2009 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

"What are the possibilities of bringing this to the floor of the Senate under reconciliation?"

I have a feeling this is what will happen in the end, but Reid, Obama and the Democrats will play it very close to their chests. It will happen suddenly without alot of warning or public discussion.

If they leet health care reform fail they're doomed in 2010 and 2012. If the get it passed (however they need to) then the Republicans are finished. I think they know that and will use reconcilliation to get it done.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 28, 2009 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

The guy doesn´'t have any trouble voting for a three trillion dollar war,but less than a trillion for health care? Horrors!!

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 28, 2009 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

I urge everyone who's disgusted with Lieberman to contact Senate leadership and demand that they strip him of his chairmanship and seniority. This long debate has made it clear how corrupt and complacent most of Congress is (with the usual exceptions). The fact that these folks hobbled Lamont last time around is revolting. At least Lieberman never made it to VP, so he can feel Cheney-envy for the rest of his miserable life.

Posted by: nyc on October 28, 2009 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Payback is a ...

Posted by: John Q Public on October 28, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

See http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/somebody-buy-joe-lieberman-puppy.html . Best psychoanalysis of Leiberman's head I've seen.

Posted by: amorphous on October 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK



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