Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Joe Lieberman Is Your President Now

with 6 comments

Image shamelessly stolen from Ezra Klein, who writes:

To put this in context, Lieberman was originally invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill’s failure that much more. And it’s hard to imagine there’s a policy rationale here, as he decided against even bothering to wait for the CBO’s analysis before moving against this idea. At this point, Lieberman is just torturing liberals. That is to say, he’s willing to directly cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.

More on the inscrutable whims of President Lieberman here and here.

The single biggest failure of leadership we’ve seen this year has been the needless decision of Democratic hierarchy to insist on 60 votes in the Senate at any cost. That things could reach this point was 100% predictable months ago; where is Reid’s contingency plan?

Going forward, things are not looking good:

The leverage that Lieberman and other “centrists” have obtained on this issue (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions.

Lieberman is a lost cause, and likely Nelson too. The cost of Snowe or Collins is too high. It’s time to start talking about reconciliation again—that is to say, it’s time to write the 50-vote version, introduce it to the chamber, and see if that weakens Lieberman’s dickish resolve. We missed the Christmas deadline anyway, and I’m tired of one-sided negotiations.

At least Harkin is still talking about that bill to end the filibuster. Good.

6 Responses

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  1. Just for the sake of discussion, what if Weiner, Dean, and Sanders had all expressed disappointment with the Medicare buy-in compromise? Would Lieberman — who not only ran on a Medicare buy-in platform in 2000, but also signaled some preliminary support for the idea last week — be willing to kill reform over the idea now?


    December 14, 2009 at 11:31 am

  2. Not sure that reconciliation will produce something particularly satisfying, but agreed that they need to at least make a strong feint in that direction to get some measure of leverage.

    Shankar D

    December 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  3. Updating this post in a second with a link to Josh Marshall saying that reconciliation still isn’t worth it. I find that hard to accept.


    December 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

  4. […] Meanwhile, President Lieberman remains the talk of the Internets. Does Joe have principles? (Only one.) Is Joe smart? (Not […]

  5. Reconciliation, if actualized, sounds like it would be a substantive mess. Notwithstanding the limbo in which the Public Option (TM) continues to hover, there is a certain substantive coherence and soundness to the other parts of the bill. If you start to pull them apart, things unravel. And it’s hard to believe that it would be a picnic to pass a second bill with all the non-budget-impacting provisions. But like I said, they need negotiating leverage.

    I’m not sure what the right move is. I’m inclined to agree with Mike Lux’s “just get it done” commentary, but I’m not entirely sure what that would involve. I’d like to see a little more confrontation with Lieberman though. Marshall’s point seems accurate – Snowe at least has a defined set of policy wishes, whereas Lieberman just seems to be screwing around.
    It’s evidenced by the fact that Snowe is making a specific policy argument in opposition to the Medicare buy-in – it would reduce reimbursements to providers. Lieberman, on the other hand, is peddling the absurd line that it’s a backdoor to single payer, as though that could just happen tomorrow without further Congressional action. It also suggests that he is acting on a grudge against the left.

    Shankar D

    December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm

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