We’re all familiar with Joe Lieberman’s act by now. First, he cheers the election of Democratic president, and then practically shoves him over the side to darned near support impeaching him for having a sexual affair. … Next, he humbly accepts the vice presidential nod, only to turn on his party by sucking up to the Republican president, out chickenhawking his fellow chickenhawks on Iraq, and finally, supporting the GOP candidate against the Democratic Senator he supposedly mentored just two years earlier. Oh, and if a Democrat runs against him in a primary? He quits the party and still expects to keep his seniority (and because the Senate is what it is, he does.)
The latest Lieberman act comes on the subject of healthcare — not whether he’ll support the bill being put forward by Harry Reid, but whether he’ll join the Democrats, with whom he supposedly caucuses, in putting down an expected Republican filibuster. Well …
Joe Lieberman is a Republican, only the Democrats aren’t prepared to admit it.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) says he will join a Republican filibuster against the Senate Democrats’ health care reform bill unless the public option is removed.
And from the full story:
Lieberman did say he’s “strongly inclined” to vote to proceed to the debate, but that he’ll ultimately vote to block a floor vote on the bill if it isn’t changed first.
“I’ve told Sen. Reid that if the bill stays as it is now I will vote against cloture,” he said.
“I can’t see a way in which I could vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-run insurance company,” Lieberman added. “It’s just asking for trouble – in the end, the taxpayers are going to pay and probably all people will have health insurance are going to see their premiums go up because there’s going to be cost shifting as there has been for Medicare and Medicaid.”
Lieberman, who has raised $504 a day (or $3,593,771 total) from the health insurance industry since he first took office as a Senator in 1989 — more than any of the other insurance industry captives in the Senate, including Olympia Snowe (R-Aetna), Mary Landrieu (D-Humana), or even Ben Nelson (D-Blue Cross, Blue Shield) — clearly feels he can buck the Democratic establishment, which gave him a pass on his support for John McCain in the 2008 election, because he’s not up for re-election until 2012. He added that he’s against any public plan, even Olympia Snowe’s weak “trigger” version. The next question is, how long before Harry Reid seizes his gavel, and sends him to the back of the seniority line, and if not, how long before Harry Reid is no longer Senate majority leader? This is just one of the many reasons Reid should never have allowed Lieberman to maintain his seniority and committee assignments. Had they slapped him down then, he might not feel so bold now.
So what can Harry Reid do? He can give Joe two choices. The first choice is that if he’s so gung ho to filibuster healthcare reform, he shouldn’t wait for Republicans to do it, he should be a man and do it himself. If Lieberman truly wants to stop Americans from getting affordable healthcare, he should be made to own the defeat — personally, and by himself. Otherwise, Reid should give him the options of either voting for cloture, or turning in his gavel. If Lieberman wants to walk, and become a Republican, Reid should tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out. The Democrats don’t really have 60 votes anyway, so there’s really no sense pretending. And Democrats need to develop some long memories. In 2012, if the heavily jowled insurance industry shill tries to run again, Democrats should field the strongest possible opponent to retire him from the Senate.
Message to President Obama and the Democrats: Joe Lieberman is not on your side.
Meanwhile: RedState crows, just before admitting eventual defeat:
This pretty much guarantees the death of the public option in public form. The Democrats will now have to surreptitiously implement it through some sort of “let the states opt-out” or trigger option nonsense that will still amount to the public option.
Which means … we win … how is that good news for your side, fellas?
And Harry Reid enters the third person, calling Lieberman “the least of Harry Reid’s problems …” and doing the usual Harry Reid thing where he says something nice about someone who’s just peed on him. From TPMDC:
During a Q&A session with reporters, Reid offered a fairly spirited defense of Lieberman, signaling perhaps that he doesn’t believe Lieberman will ultimately be an obstacle–or at least that he doesn’t want to tip his hat: “I don’t have anyone that I’ve worked harder with, have more respect for, in the Senate than Joe Lieberman. As you know, he’s my friend. There are a lot of senators–Democrat and Republicans–who don’t like [parts of this bill]… Sen. Lieberman will let us get on the bill, and he’ll be involved in the amendment process.”
Reid went on, “Some of you will recall one reason that we were able to solve the problem with the nuclear option is that I called Joe Lieberman to my office, and said Joe I want you to join the enemy and get us out of this deal.”
So … no gavel seizing then?
More on Lieberman’s ties, from The Hill:
Connecticut has the highest U.S. concentration of insurance jobs, with the industry accounting for about 64,000 jobs as of June 2009, according to the state’s labor department. That’s down 23 percent from the 83,000 jobs in 1990, although the state projects a slow growth of 4 percent through 2014. The state is home to 72 insurance headquarters, with three times the U.S. average of insurance jobs as a percent of total state employment. The state’s unemployment rate currently stands at 8.6 percent.
UPDATE: Displeased? Contact Joe Lieberman’s Senate offices:
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 549-8463 Voice
(800) 225-5605 In CT
For TTY Call 711
706 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4041 Voice
(202) 224-9750 Fax
For TTY Call 711
And while you’re at it, call these people, too:
Senator Christopher Dodd, Connecticut
Senator Harry Reid, Nevada