Odious to the Core.

liebermanAs if anyone really needed a reason to despise Joe Lieberman even more… David Herszenhorn’s New York Times blog helps flesh out just how odious Lieberman (I. – Insurance Lobby) really is. By now it has been widely reported that Lieberman’s opposition to a Medicare buy-in plan for Americans aged 55 and older stands in sharp contrast to positions he took just a few months ago, and seems to have emerged just as the possibility of such an arrangement began to take fruition. What Herszenhorn newly reveals, are Lieberman’s stated reason for the flip flop:

Mr. Lieberman had supported the Medicare buy-in proposal in the past — both as the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2000 and in more recent discussions about the health care system. In an interview this year, he reiterated his support for the concept.

But in the interview, Mr. Lieberman said that he grew apprehensive when a formal proposal began to take shape. He said he worried that the program would lead to financial trouble and contribute to the instability of the existing Medicare program.

And he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system.

So what bothers Lieberman about the buy-in (other than vague, non-specific, unsupported worries it would lead to “financial trouble”) is the fact that it was welcomed enthusiastically by liberals? Are you fucking kidding me?

What’s worse is that Lieberman clearly sees his job as a scuttler of health care reform, not a facilitator:

Mr. Reid, for instance, had asked Mr. Lieberman to join a group of 10 senators — five centrists and five liberals — tasked with bridging the divide over the public option. Mr. Lieberman, however, refused to attend the talks, and another senator took his place.

In the interview, Mr. Lieberman said he did not attend because he had no intention of compromising on a public plan.

The man adjusts his opposition to policies as they emerge, even going so far as to oppose his own proposals from mere weeks before. He refuses to negotiate in good faith, and continues to hold prominent chairmanships in the Democratic Party?

I’ve said it before: Democrats need to tell Lieberman to go to Hell. The party will find itself far more effective at negotiating reforms if it simply governs as a party with a 59 seat majority than if party leaders insist on living under the idiotic and misguided fantasy that they control 60 votes. Until that time the Democratic party will continue to be the party of Lieberman, plain and simple.

19 Comments

how about we beat the crap out of him THEN tell him to go to hell?

I still don’t understand this fascination with 60 votes. So it kills a filibuster. Do we really expect the opponents of every bill to filibuster every single time? Is it seriously that big a threat?

@IanJ: I don’t have the research at hand, but yes: The use of filibusters has dramatically increased. But it takes 67 votes to change Senate rules, so they’re not going away.

@nojo: It strikes me as being a very shortsighted thing to get rid of filibusters, though (or similar power-to-the-minority procedures). Just because they’re inconvenient when your people are in power doesn’t mean you want them to go away when your people are, inevitably, in the minority at some point in the future.

I’m probably giving senators too much credit, though. The corporate world thinks as far ahead as three months, why shouldn’t the politicians?

@IanJ: Months back, I was working up a post about that. Never finished it, but acknowledging that the tables will be turned sooner or later, I decided that I’d rather risk a 51-vote Senate than live with the filibuster. Constitutional checks and balances are sufficient, and we only have ourselves to blame if we collectively vote the mountebanks into power.

@IanJ:

Hmmmm. Here is a graph of the use of the fillibuster from the 86th Congress to the present. Notice anything, shall we say, “easy to predict” about the peaks on it?

The Repubican party is opposed to Representative Democracy.

@nojo: As much as I gripe about DC having no representation* in Congress, it’s sometimes nice being able to completely disavow any responsibility for their (in)actions.

*EHN doesn’t count.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Yeah, I’m in the Elections Have Consequences camp.

Rules have consequences, too: There’s an old argument that if you eliminated the Electoral College, or changed to the votes to congressional district winners (plus winner-take-all for the additional two per state), campaign strategy would change accordingly. Same with the filibuster: zap that, and Senate races would get a lot more interesting with more manifestly at stake.

@nojo:

I dunno. I’m not sure the hoi polloi understand even a simple concept like “the filibuster”, or if they do, misunderstand it to the point of rendering its effect on their voting habits moot.

Hey, remember when the Republicans were running the show, and the Dems were all: “Fillibuster!” and the Repugs were all: “Nuclear Option!”

Good Times.

Okay, I’m stumped: Large light-brown bird, darker-brown head, even darker brown wings with white stripes. He’s been mocking me from a tree outside for the past hour, daring me to dig out the bird paperback to learn his secrets.

Not the strangest thing that’s happened here: Two ducks. Walking around a crowded mall food court. In Sandy Eggo. I’m still haunted by them.

@nojo:

Ducks in the Desert

I have this little lake behind my house. well not that little. the ducks are starting to arrive in a few weeks it will look like this. they will live there until it freezes completely then go someplace further south I guess.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Exactly. As some guy from Washington Monthly put it last night on Rachel’s show:

I imagine the typical American doesn’t realize that if a bill comes up in the Senate and it has 58 supporters and 42 opponents, it dies. It doesn’t get passed, because the 42 trumps the 58.

@mellbell: Hey, congrats to your city council on voting to allow the gheyz to marry in D.C.

TJ: File Under “Teh Stupid, Oh How It Burns”:

Glenn Beck distorts US ‘Meriken history in his defense of the 3/5 clause.

Keep it KKKlassy, Glenn!

@SanFranLefty:
Beck really is the media equivalent of a nasty spoiled brat acting out to get attention.

well, a nasty spoiled brat with millions of devoted followers.

@SanFranLefty: That’s on my list, but I’m not sure yet whether I’ll get to it. Clients keeping me hopping today.

About Fucking Time: Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) calls for recall of Lieberman.

From Jerome Doolittle:

CNN reports: Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat who sits with the Democratic caucus, said Tuesday that he would not rule out running for re-election in 2012 as a Republican…

In related news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not rule out running for re-election in 2012 as a woman.

@SanFranLefty: I don’t think you can recall a senator. No matter how much you hate him. Not till 2012.

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