Sen. Joe Lieberman hails from the state of Connecticut, whose capital, Hartford, just so happens to be nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World. He's received more than $1-million insurance company campaign contributions since 1998, and during his 2006 re-election bid he ranked second in money received from this special-interest group. This is the same Sen. Lieberman whose flip-flopping on health-care reform this week just might cost the President and the Democrats the most important piece of domestic legislation in modern history. Coincidence?
After consistently supporting a provision to expand medicare benefits to millions of people between 55-64 (endorsing it as recently as three months ago), Lieberman has threatened to join with Republicans to filibuster the Democrats' bill at the last freakin' minute. Not only is the timing of his cock-block highly suspicious, but so is the motivation. Lieberman was elected by the people of Connecticut, not the mega-billion dollar insurance companies. But it's become abundantly clear with whom his allegiance resides. Furthermore, his 11th-hour bomb-drop is a big fat giant fuck you to all the progressives and bloggers who joined the "Beat Lieberman" brigade during the last election. Take that, Markos Moulitsas.
So what happens next? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) can bow to this insurance industry stooge and water-down the bill or he can splinter off the public option feature from the non-budgetary components of the measure and preempt a filibuster under reconciliation, a parliamentary tactic whereby Reid could push through a government-run health insurance program with just 51 votes instead of 60. If Reid and the Democrats had any balls, this is what they'd do. For crap's sake, the party controls the White House and both houses of Congress, yet they're still pussyfooting around with self-aggrandizing thorns like Lieberman who threaten to derail its agenda.
Lastly, it's time for Democrats to punish Lieberman for his consistent disloyalty, from supporting Sen. John McCain's bid for the presidency in '08 to this latest self-serving ploy. A new poll shows that 81% of Democratic voters want Lieberman to be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Reid, are you listening?
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