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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lieberman Makes it Clear

Steve Benen explains it better than I can (plus he has the full quote)

I think Senator Lieberman has made it very clear that he is motivated by vanity and spite. His observation "I feal relevant" as as close to a confession that he is motivated by TV camera lust and power for its own sake as one might hope to get.

Now he explains his opposition to the public option by discussing the wishes and dreams of its most enthusiastic supporters "A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I'm convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance."

Note what he did not argue. He did not argue that any public option, even a level playing field public option, will lead to a government take over. He only discussed the wishes of people who proposed the public option. His argument doesn't even have the form of a policy argument -- he doesn't describe the effects of voting this or that way on cloture.

It is all about pissing off liberals and he doesn't even pretend otherwise.

He is willing to vote against cloture -- to use the extreme method of obstruction by filibuster (which he opposed unonditionally as a matter of principle in 1994) in order to block a bill which contains a provision which he considers "unnecessary," because of his opinion of the people who proposed it.

Lieberman has reached the level of statesmanship demonstrated by John Shadegg who voted present on the Stupack amendment because Nancy Pelosi is pro-choice. He felt he couldn't vote yes on an amendment where she voted no, because allowing the vote was part of her effort to pass health care reform.

Note, Shadegg did not vote present, because he hoped that if the amendment failed, the bill would be rejected. That would be just plain crazy (crazy like the belief that a level playing field public option will lead to single payer). Votes can be changed until the scheduled time runs out. Shadegg could have switched to yes when it was clear that the amendment had been accepted.

He didn't because he has achieved a whole new level of crazy -- a level where voting yes on an amendment restricting abortion financing is playing into the hands of Nancy Pelosi.

Similarly, Lieberman is willing to obstruct health care reform, because people who support single payer in their hearts haven't been humiliated enough. He does not discussion the provision in the bill and its effects. He discusses the motives of the people who proposed it. It's all about us. Lieberman doesn't care about the poor and the sick. He is willing to sacrifice them to spite us.

This is implied by the plain language of his argument. I'm paranoid enough to think he went on Fox and changed his demand for unspecified changes in the bill to a demand for no public option to ruin our enjoyment of the vote in the House.

I wish I could convince Lieberman of two things. First it's not about him. As a Senator he has special responsibilities not special importance. Second its not about me. If my mother makes her decisions based on what will or won't make me happy, that is sane. If the junior Senator from Connecticut bases his decisions on what will or won't make me happy, he belongs in a mental hospital not the US Senate.

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