Senator Lieberman, since I am not able speak to you in person, I'd like to leave this little pink memo ... perhaps one of your staff would be kind enough to pass it along to you.
This week I've called Senator Lieberman's Washington office several times, to no avail. Admittedly, the purpose of my call has been to give the hapless staffer, unfortunate enough to pull phone duty at this particular time, a piece of my mind.
Perhaps the switchboard was just overloaded with calls from his Connecticut constituents phoning him up to say ... You go Joe! Dig in with those famously independent heels. Nobody here in the Nutmeg State is for that Public Option thing.
Finally, I reached a real person in the Hartford office. I gave my name and zip code to the young man on the other end of the line, making sure that he took it down letter for letter. "Will you please tell Senator Lieberman that I want him to know that I am really upset with him," I said. "
"Does him remember that he is from a very blue state, and that local polling demonstrates that his position on the public option does not reflect the will of the people of Connecticut or for that matter, the nation at large?"
The staffer curlishly replied, "That's your opinion, ma'am."
"No," I said, "that's where you are wrong!"
A Quinnipiac Poll taken as recently as the last week indicates that when 2,313 registered voters from across the nation were asked the question, "Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government insurance plan that would compete with private plans?" 56% percent of those polled supported the public option, 38% were opposed and 6% were asleep in their oatmeal.
I am beginning to believe that Senator Joseph Lieberman, 'the Maverick of Stamford,' might be the most canny politician in Washington. He was the "go to guy" during the Bush years, George W's darling... remember the kiss at the conclusion of the 2005 State of the Union speech.
The hand wringing Democrats, then and now, have had to court and cajole the junior senator from Connecticut on every issue. In 2006 after losing his party's primary he created a party of his own and survived to fight another day... by any measure, a stunning political gambit. Now he says he'll block both the public option, and open enrollment to Medicare for those 55 and over, and we just have to stand by and watch.
How is it that smiling Joe Lieberman can hold the entire Democratic party hostage? It is time to roll out the legislative process known as Reconciliation to pass the health care reform bill. Reconciliation would require only fifty-one votes, limit debate and amendments, avoid filibuster and most important, render Joseph Lieberman irrelevant. It's long overdue.