Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cutting a deal with Lieberman

Following up on Creature's post from earlier this evening...

The White House is apparently behind the move to scrap the Medicare buy-in, pushing Reid et al. to cut a deal with Lieberman. Specifically, and not surprisingly, it's Rahm Emanuel behind it.

It's a flip-flop for Lieberman, who was for the buy-in just a few months ago.

Honestly, how is it that one senator, and specifically a moral vacuum like Lieberman (who's all about himself, and getting what he wants, and basing his policy positions on ever-fluctuating whims), is able to hold the entire reform process hostage? How is it that he gets what he wants while the majority party is forced to give in and compromise again and again?

Is Tom Harkin right that the bill would be good enough without the public option and the Medicare buy-in? It could be, yes, and Democrats seem to have resigned themselves to giving Lieberman what he wants. At least, that's the takeaway from their public utterances.

Arlen Specter ought to be praised for saying this at a Democratic caucus meeting this evening: "Don't let these obstructionists win. I came to this caucus to be your 60th vote." The problem is, those 60 votes include a vote for Lieberman, an anti-Democrat who has been allowed to caucus with the Democrats despite his Republican inclinations.

Is there no way to win over Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins while giving Lieberman the boot he deserves?

For more on Lieberman's threat to reform, see Jonathan Chait, who is extremely critical of Lieberman and yet:

I don't think that health care reform is in peril. If Harry Reid decided to submit to Lieberman's demands, the health care bill would basically revert to what the Senate Finance Committee produced. That's still a major piece of legislation. Expectations among liberals have risen since then, so the come-down is understandable. But this isn't the end of reform.

No, perhaps not, but it's a tough pill to swallow, not least when you have 58 votes (60 minus Lieberman and Nelson) and when you've already given in and given up a lot already.

Here's American democracy at work, the sausage-making of the legislative process. It's ugly, and it's stupidly unfair, and, ultimately, it's the American people who get screwed.

In this case, all because of Joe Lieberman and his enablers, including those in the Obama White House.

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