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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.
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.
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