Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Four Senators To Watch Besides Droopy Lieberman

It’s not all about Lieberman. Four other non-Republican Senators pose a threat to Democrats who desperately want to find cloture and get to an up-or-down vote on health reform. In addition to Droopy, the other four are: Evan Bayh (D-IN), Mary Landreiu (D-LA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Ben Nelson (D-NE).

Landreiu’s, Lincoln’s, and Nelson’s positions make sense because they hail from overwhelmingly red states. Of course, you’d think they’d get more mileage out of voting for cloture and against the bill, but perhaps they’re not convinced that their constituents will see it that way. As I said earlier today, Lieberman’s just begging for attention. I don’t think he has the bite to back up his bark. Then there’s Bayh. He’s a Dem from a state that went blue in the 2008 election, but hasn’t always been that color historically. Indiana’s also the home to a large chunk of the medical device industry, and some key provisions of reform would hit them unfavorably. So the question on Bayh is: Is he playing populist politics or special interest politics or some strange combination of both?

Moreover, only one of these “Fab Five” has to break ranks to keep a filibuster going. Yikes.

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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in Uncategorized


Joe Lieberman Wants To Be Important, Too

As the Senate Finance Committee worked towards passing Max Baucus’ reform bill, moderate Repbulican Senator Olympia Snowe was courted more aggressively than Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Everyone from her fellow Senators to the President made it known that they wanted–nigh needed–her vote in committee.

Well, they got her vote, and then Harry Reid quickly announced that an “opt-out” public option, rather than the so-called “trigger option” favored by Snowe, would make its way into the bill that reaches the Senate floor. Just as quickly, Snowe made her disapproval known, indicating that she would not support such a bill. Now, of course her suitors would like her to come back around to their way of thinking, but they’re really not quite as adamant in their wooing of her anymore. After all, they don’t need her vote to pass a bill.

The tricky part is getting to the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster so that a simple up-or-down vote can be held, and this will require that the Democrats and two independents–Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders–don’t break ranks, and this is where Snowe’s popularity contest has set a slippery slope precedent. We must never forget that this is politics just as much as it is policy, and part of politics is a love of the spotlight.

Enter Joe Lieberman who recently announced that he will filibuster the Senate bill so long as it includes any version of a public option–including Sen. Reid’s “opt-out” compromise. Despite recent polls showing that nearly three-quarters of Americans support the public option, Lieberman’s making a fuss over it. One has to wonder why? It could be because he wants to play hardball and negotiate certain provisions into the legislation. It could be. But it isn’t. Lieberman’s not pushing for anything new to be added to the bill, he’s just being difficult. But he’s obviously hoping to get something out of that. What you ask? I think it’s simple. He’s a Senator and he wants another 15 minutes of fame. It really is pitiful. Just one look at Droopy and I want to employ my favorite passive-aggressive southern phrase: “Oh, bless his lil’ heart.”

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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in Uncategorized

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