Let me say something slightly radical: yes, we need health care reform, but do we need it that bad that we’re willing to get down on bended knee to shine Joe Lieberman’s dirty shoes for it? Why can’t Democrats walk away from the deal, make a huge stink about it, kick Joe out of the caucus, wait a few years and vote his ass off the island?
I don’t think the American people will hold it against the Democrats to lose health care because of this royal jackass. Just look at what he’s torpedoing: the public option, the expanded Medicare provision. These are items that most Americans want. Hell, these are items most Connecticut voters want. If I lived in that state I’d be sore ashamed of myself, my state and my senator. I’d be mounting a campaign to recall him if state law allowed for it:
“If you think you are sick of Joe Lieberman now,” Jim Shea, a columnist in The Hartford Courant, wrote Monday, “just wait until you get sick.”
I’m sick and tired of Joe Lieberman holding a gun to the head of my president and the Democratic Party. Call the guy’s bluff. Let him walk or give him a good strong push. If you don’t you know what will happen by caving to him now: he will be emboldened. Now, EVERY Democratic legislative initiative will be held hostage by his machinations.
Sometimes when you have a really spoiled pet you’ve got to lay down the law; otherwise it’s sleeping on the bed with you, jumping on the table to snatch dinner, practically running your life.
Senate Democrats, don’t let that happen.
Does Lieberman own the Democratic Party? A fair question, but I think the answer is no.
Now, does Likud run the U.S. Congress? That’s a much more interesting question, to which the answer is not as clear.
RE: “Call the guy’s bluff. Let him walk or give him a good strong push.” – R.S.
ME: God I love Festivus! It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Joe’s ouster as chairman of der Heimatland Security Committee would make Festivus ’09 the best Festivus ever. Festivus for the rest of us!
P.S. Judging from the “Hartford Courant” graphic, ‘Joe The Plummer’ seems to have a mighty well toned caboose for someone his age. I guess all that squatting has paid off.
RE: ‘Joe The Plummer’ seems to have a mighty well toned caboose…
ME: Perhaps that explains why he so often has Lindsey in tow.
Richard Silverstein says
I have something in mind to write here but…I’m just not gonna do it. It’s tempting, but I just can’t.
Gene Schulman says
No question that Lieberman is a snake in the grass. But to be fair, he’s no worse than Reid, Pelosi, or Obama, for that matter. The oligarchy does not want a health care bill of any kind to be passed. Every one of them works for the oligarchy. Please, Richard, Obama is not our president. He is a hireling of the oligarchy, and does their bidding.
Richard Silverstein says
That’s far too severe, Gene.
Gene Schulman says
I call ’em as I sees ’em, Richard. A spade is a spade, and no racial pun intended.
The Democrats should have kicked Lieberman’s caboose out of the party a long time ago. He runs back and forth beween the GOP and the Dems like a rat scuttling from one trash heap to another.
The argument for the bill I heard last night from Sherrod Brown or Ezra Klein or someone on MSNBC–supposedly there are large numbers of people who will benefit from this. People won’t be prevented from obtaining health care due to pre-existing conditions, people won’t be cheated out of their coverage, people will live who might otherwise die, etc…
I don’t know if this is all true, but supposing it is, then I’d hold my nose and support it. And my feelings about Obama and most of the Democrats are about the same as Gene’s. That’s what is so infuriating about our system–basically, it’s a kind of blackmail or outright extortion that Lieberman and many others use. Do what we say or a lot of innocent people get hurt.
I was never an Obamaphile, especially not on foreign policy, but much as I’ve despised him, I sorta hoped that at least on domestic issues he might be half or maybe one quarter the President FDR was. But so far, not even remotely close.
unfortunately, those ‘goodies” in the bill are highly compromised, and bound to get more so, as it winds its way through the corridors of lobby land (known as congress). The medicaid expansion will cover people who are up to 133% of the poverty line (the house version is up to 150%) but that is only 1-2 M more, if that (details are still sketchy). As for the pre-existing coverage provisions, it sounds good until one looks at it more closely – a truck can be driven through the loopholes. For one it doesn’t kick in for a number of years. For another, with no means to hold costs down, the likelihood of premiums shooting up through the roof is there, as is denial of treatment. The insurance companies may be required to cover you, but who says they have to approve certain life saving treatments? for a third, year and lifetime caps remain, effectively ruling out certain treatments for many people who may need them.
Furthermore, along with other cost containing options, the 90% medical loss provision is also jettisoned.
So what little good is in the bill was weakened, and what’s left is worse than nothing, actually. The mandates start first and those are quite grim for many individuals and small businesses. The exchanges get set up looks gimmicky, and the subsidies too miserly to help those who need them most (low middle class, for example in certain high Cost of living parts of the country). Just how happy are people going to be with something that forces them to shell out goblets of money they didn’t have?
All in all, HCR the senate version is a trojan horse, as I keep saying. There’ll be many more unhappy people around once the full impact becomes known widely. Ultimately, it’ll doom the democratic party and make republicans who’ll vote against it look positively wise. Which is why the progressive sentiment now is running 5:1 to kill it.
So who said the republicans did not have a strategy?
If I have time later, I’ll put up a link I have that summarizes the HCR provisions in a really easy to follow way (it is labirintian, or is it byzantine?).
BTW, a rule of thumb to know whether a newly floated “compromise” or “sweetener” is a decoy, is to consider whether it is really good for the people, ie, progressive. If the answer is yes – even a highly qualified yes, it’s as good as gone. So Gene has a point. As we found out from Obama’s highly sophisticated and totally disappointing nobel price speech, he has been acquired by the ruling oligarchy (as has Ezra Klein, BTW). The only question is when did the acquisition go through.
Agree about Ezra, let’s keep our Kleins in line. Naomi is the good one, Ezra is a centrist Dem tool, for the most part. Yglesias is slightly better, he makes some progressive noises from time to time, but these mainstream “liberal” internet voices, like Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias, so inhabit establishment thinking in many respects that they don’t really possess a healthy, full sense of what political consciousness is about, or a broad sense of the political spectrum for that matter (at least Yglesias somewhat bucks the beltway consensus on Israel). They’re stuck inside the contemporary American ideological bubble. The notion of social democracy, in its mature rounded potentiality, eludes them.
They basically accept establishment propaganda which equates mostly-unregulated corporate capitalism with democracy, and for the beltway pundits, laissez-faire capitalism IS democracy.
If progressive liberals ever assume the dominant voice in the Democratic party (I’m not holding my breath on that one), Lieberman surely ought to be booted out on his whiny behind, he’s one of the most pandering & corporatist neo-conservatives in the senate.
(and yes, the “health care” bill absolutely stinks.) We’re an embarrassment and disgrace vis-a-vis the rest of the advanced, industrial nations. In some respects, the US resembles a third world country more than we resemble wealthy first world countries like Germany or France. Actually, there are probably poor third world countries that treat their sick better in some ways than we do. People literally lose ALL of their wealth, and also die, because of the inability to afford medical treatment in the USA. Such a thing is unheard of in the rest of the rich western world.
Crimson Ghost says
I used to think Joe Lieberman was the most vile kind of Democrat — a fanatic Israel-first Zionist warmonger totally controlled by the drug and insurance industries on health care issues.
Now my opinion of Lieberman has not changed one iota. But the harm he has done and is doing cannot compare with Barrack Opama — who has violated almost all his progressive campaign promises and is owned by the banking lobby on domestic issues and the Israel lobby on foreign policy issues.
The spectacle of Obama getting a Nobel “peace ” prize just before massively escalating the colonial war in AfPAC would make even George Orwell blush.
He is even worse than Bush on foreign policy issues. He is following essentially the same warmongering script but is a far more effective salesman for it than Bush ever was.