Say It Ain’t So Joe (Lieberman)

By Sadie Bass

Oct 28, 2009 1:10pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: “Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid’s problems,” says Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Think again Harry, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) could be your worst nightmare and has been a thorn in Democrats’ side for some time.  This latest “double-cross,” as some see it, represents yet another threat in the here we come there we go again battle for health care reform.  When majority leader Reid put the controversial “public option” back on the table this week, he did so confident that Lieberman, short of outright supporting it, would at least allow it to pass. Then yesterday, Lieberman dropped a bombshell when announced he would not vote for cloture (apparently reneging on his agreement) which subjects the bill to blockage by Republican filibuster. “I can’t see a way in which I can vote for cloture,” said Lieberman, “on any bill that contained a creation of a government operated-run insurance company.” “It now appears that Lieberman either changed his mind or was misunderstood,” writes Slate’s Timothy Noah, “In recent years Lieberman has not shown himself to be an especially trustworthy character.” Lieberman has been dubbed the “Senator from Aetna” and has often been accused of dividing his loyalties between the insurance empire based in his home state of Connecticut and the party he is nominally affiliated with.  The “Public Option” is designed to be bad for Health insurance industry’s bottom line. Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, won reelection to the Senate in 2006 as an independent after he lost the Democratic primary. Many of the party faithful were furious with his unwavering support for the Iraq War.  “They hate Joe Lieberman with a pore cleaning passion,” says John Dickerson in Slate. But Senate Democrats were desperate to keep him in the fold thus keeping hold on their razor thin majority.  They allowed him to keep his coveted and  powerful chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.  But he has rarely missed an opportunity to stick it to the Democrats, supporting various Republican positions and candidates.  “Lieberman has successfully reinvented himself as every Republican’s favorite Democrat,” writes Lincoln Mitchell in the Huffington Post, “[He]has made himself far more important than he should be.” But Joe Lieberman hasn’t had much face time until  this week as the featured player in the current episode of health care reform. 

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