Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)

Until now, it wasn’t clear to me how Progressives could make the most convincing case that the American people would, in fact, be getting royally screwed by the health care deal that was embraced by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week.

But Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has saved the day.

Yesterday, he announced on CBS’s Face the Nation that he’s not going to stop at ruining the final scrap that would have allowed Obama and the House and Senate Democrats to pretend that they’ve achieved health care reform.

Indeed, now he says that he’s not even happy with the weak Medicare expansion, a buy-in for a small number of people 55-64.


This deal, which gave a little cover to Democrats who were willing to abandon the creation of a public health insurance option in order to get anything that they could call “health care reform” – though all it would have done was give a gift to the executives of the private insurance companies far bigger than anything should have ever hoped for – still isn’t enough to make Joe happy.

No, sir. Joe’s got issues:

"On part of it – the so-called Medicare buy-in – the opposition to it has been growing as the week has gone on. Though I don’t know exactly what’s in it, from what I hear I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did."

And so I ask you to join me in thanking him.


Let’s thank him because he’s overplayed his hand.

Let’s thank him because he’s forced Obama and officials at the White House to reveal that they don’t want real reform either, and because, now that officials in the White House are asking Reid to cut yet another deal with him to toss out the already ridiculously weak deal to expand Medicare to a few more people, the evidence that Obama doesn’t want real health care reform is now beyond all doubt, even for Americans who wanted to believe that Obama was all about change.

Let’s thank him because he’s finally put Reid in a position in which the only way for him to win is to stand up to Lieberman and his ilk; because, if Reid gives in this time, his failure as Majority Leader will be recognized by all Americans and will be clear for all to see, far beyond the progressive base of the Democratic Party.

Now, Reid has to act like a leader, or his failure will become an indisputable fact.

Reid has to get the Senate’s Democratic Caucus in line on a procedural vote or he has to go to reconciliation to pass real reform, or his failure will become an indisputable fact.

It’s all clearly on Reid now.

And Reid has to take a stand that will be unmistakable.

Either he’s with the American people, or he’s against them.

On health care reform, there’re no bullshit positions in the middle any more.

Lieberman has positioned Obama and Reid perfectly.

What a difference a week makes.

Last week, Sen. Reid tasked ten Democratic members of the United States Senate to kill a public option, which – while he sat in a corner, curled up, shaking and hugging his knees – they did, scuttling the last vestige of real health care reform.

And even after an offensive email from Obama trying to use the Senate’s deal to fundraise, which disgusted Markos at Daily Kos, and even after it was becoming clear that games were being played to bring down costs so that Reid could congratulate his fellow Senate Democrats when he announces that the CBO score shows that the latest Senate proposal costs under $900 billion over the next ten years, still it was not clear how Progressives could make the case that the American people are getting screwed.

Now, let’s all send Joe our sincerest thanks.

True, Lieberman led a handful of Senate Democrats in joining Republicans to block an up-or-down vote on real health care reform, which at a minimum must include some kind of option for health care coverage that gives Americans a choice other than the ‘products’ of private insurers looking to rake in profits.

We can’t thank him for that.

But for his infinite arrogance, for his having put the White House and Reid in the perfect position to either stand with us, the American people, or against us, let’s be sure to thank him.

There’re no bullshit positions in the middle any more.

So, thanks, Joe.

You’re a dick, but at least you’re a dick who just doesn’t know when to stop.

Send Joe a ‘thank you’ note via the contact page at his website here.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]