- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lieberman I

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, said on Sunday’s political talk shows that he could not vote for a bill that includes either a “public option” government-run insurance program or the substitute proposal to let people between ages 55 and 64 “buy into” Medicare.

Along with similar skepticism by the likes of Sens. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, and Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, Mr. Lieberman’s stance seems to leave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid short of the 60 votes needed to pass the bill.

Liberal bloggers were apoplectic.

Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress wrote a post titled “Welcome to the Lieberman Administration,” which blamed the Connecticut senator’s power to “double-cross” on the fact that “the Senate leadership has, at every step of this process, underscored that a ‘reconciliation’ path to a health care bill,” a parliamentary maneuver to pass a bill with just a simple majority, “is off the table.”

“Can’t liberals be just as stiff-necked as Lieberman? Sure, they could. But liberals members do have an incentive to compromise — the tens of thousands of people who die every year for lack of health insurance. The leverage that Lieberman and other ‘centrists’ have obtained on this issue (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions,” Mr. Yglesias fumed.

Chris Bowers at Open Left also blamed the unwillingness of Senate Democrats to punish Mr. Lieberman — who caucuses with the majority — for breaking party discipline. Mr. Bowers called for an expanded war against Democratic senators who refuse to crack the whip.

“Since we have already defeated Lieberman in a Democratic primary, there is nothing more severe we can do as progressive activists to directly threaten Lieberman. What we need to start doing is taking action against the Democrats who enable Lieberman and his ilk. If other Senate Democrats are not going to do anything about Lieberman taking control of the entire caucus, then really, what is the difference between those other senators and Joe Lieberman?” he wrote.

Lieberman II

Sen. Joe Lieberman isn’t the only member of his household being attacked by liberal bloggers. His wife, Hadassah, is the object of a campaign by Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, who wants Mrs. Lieberman removed from her position with the nation’s largest breast cancer awareness group.

In a letter to Nancy G. Brinker, founder and chief executive of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, Ms. Hamsher noted that Mrs. Lieberman “is currently a compensated ‘Global Ambassador’ ” for the group, a relationship she called “unethical and misleading.” She said the Komen foundation should “ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down.” Why?

“It is widely known … that not only has Senator Lieberman been an instrument of obstruction to the kind of health care reform advocated by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but that Mrs. Lieberman is also a former lobbyist for APCO Associates, which represents the interests of the same major, private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies which Mr. Lieberman seeks to protect,” Ms. Hamsher wrote.

Conservative bloggers took umbrage at that, noting, among other things, that Mrs. Lieberman has never been a lobbyist. Ms. Hamsher later changed her wording, using the “strikethrough” function, to say Mrs. Lieberman “worked for the lobbying firm APCO Associates.”

“Considering that cancer survival rates under the U.S. medical system exceed those under socialized systems, there is no truth or logic to Hamsher’s allegations that there is a correlation between Joe Lieberman’s positions and the health of cancer patients in the U.S. There also appears to be no truth to Hamsher’s allegation that the Komen Foundation supports the specific public option ‘reforms’ opposed by Joe Lieberman,” wrote William A. Jacobson at his Legal Insurrection blog.

“Add to it another nail in the feminist coffin. Since when is a woman to be deprived of her livelihood and her own professional accomplishments because of her husband?” he added.

We can’t say there’s a causation, but Ms. Hamsher launched her petition Friday morning; Mr. Lieberman announced his stance against the Senate Democrats’ compromise Medicare “buy-in,” on which he had been noncommittal, on Sunday.

Environmentalism I

Feminism struck on another front last week.

Allahpundit at Hot Air noted that for the past several years, progressives and environmentalists have spoken about “incentivizing childlessness, either through tax breaks or appeals to conscience” as a way of lessening man’s carbon footprint, pollution or overconsumption.

But “it seems we’ve now reached the point of explicit … admiration for Chinese-style compulsory population control and all the social niceties it entails,” the blogger wrote, citing a column by the New York Times’ Tom Friedman in September and the latest from Canadian feminist Diane Francis in the Financial Post.

“A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days,” she wrote. “Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.”

“For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until catastrophe strikes,” Ms. Francis concluded.

“Two points, then,” wrote Allahpundit in rebuttal. “First, does the author realize that, with a few exceptions (like the United States), it ain’t first-world countries that are driving the population boom? The birth rates in Europe and Japan are already helping to depopulate the planet; if she wants to make a dent in global crowding, talk to the Third World. And second, what’s alarming about pieces like this isn’t that they’re close to being implemented politically but that the basic idea — fascism in the name of environmentalism — is respectable enough to warrant publication even in outlets like the Financial Post and the NYT.”

Jim Geraghty at National Review dryly adds: ” ‘The whole world needs to adopt China’s one-child policy,’ writes Canadian journalist Diane Francis, mother of two.”

Environmentalism II

The celebration of open-minded scientific inquiry at Copenhagen continued last week with the latest episode of “shut up, the science is settled. And we have the armed guards.”

According to a report at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site, complete with video documenting the incident, journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer attempted to ask Stephen Schneider of Stanford University a question about the leaked Climategate e-mails.

“Professor Schneider, who is a senior member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said he would not comment on e-mails that may have been incomplete or edited. During some testy exchanges with McAleer, UN officials and Professor Schneider’s assistants twice tried to cut short McAleer’s question,” wrote Mike Flynn at Big Government.

“However, as the press conference drew to a close Professor Schneider’s assistant called armed UN security guards to the room. They held McAleer and aggressively ordered cameraman Ian Foster to stop filming. The guard threatened to take away the camera and expel the film crew from the conference if they did not obey his instructions to stop filming Professor Schneider. The guard demanded to look at the film crew’s press credentials and refused to allow them to film until Professor Schneider left the room.”

• Victor Morton may be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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