On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) responded to the news that his support for a Medicare compromise helped inspire Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to oppose the idea.
The progressive congressman said in a statement, "If this wasn't so sad, it would be amazing." Responding to reform supporters who suggested progressives should have kept quiet about supporting the Medicare buy-in, he added, "that suggests we all agree to live in an Alice in Wonderland world of saying the opposite of what we mean." He implored the senator to "do the right thing."
Lieberman told the New York Times that part of the reason why he pulled his support for a deal that would let some people buy into Medicare at 55 was the enthusiasm of liberals like Weiner.
Weiner's full statement:
"This afternoon The New York Times and other news outlets reported that Senator Lieberman was backing away from his own health care proposal, in part because I liked it."
"If this wasn't so sad, it would be amazing. Here you have the most important legislation for millions of Americans' health and welfare, and apparently Senator Lieberman backs away from his own proposal. Why? Because I and a professor at Yale like it."
"All I can say charitably is I hope Senator Lieberman looks into his heart and does the right thing. This is not the time for anyone to act for politics, but to do the right thing. Let's be clear, this is an idea Senator Lieberman has proposed, repeatedly. That others embrace it should not be the criteria for leaders to make decisions. It would be tragic if this is what it appears, a decision based on hurting proponents of reform not helping the millions who need affordable health care coverage."
"Some may say reformers should never have praised this measure. But that suggests we all agree to live in an Alice in Wonderland world of saying the opposite of what we mean. Now is the time to talk and act on the merits of an issue. Now is the time for leaders to make the right choices, not political calculations."