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Senator Hissyfit Lets the Mask Slip

The man who owes his Senate seat to movement Republicans wanting revenge on Lowell Weicker for doing the right thing with regard to Richard Nixon has shown the public the real person behind his mask of unctuous piety and bipartisanship — namely a man so petty he’s willing to go back on his stated support of a position (in this case, Medicare expansion) just because someone he doesn’t like who favors it.

Seriously. From the New York Times, via the Huffington Post:

[I]n the interview, Mr. Lieberman said that he grew apprehensive when a formal proposal began to take shape. […]

And he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system.

“Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare-buy in is better than a public option, it’s the beginning of a road to single-payer,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Jacob Hacker, who’s a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, ‘This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.'”

As HuffPo’s Rachel Weiner notes, this goes a long way toward validating the belief in progressive blogger circles that Lieberman, as the Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein put it, “seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals.”

Speaking of tortured, look at the logic behind his attempt to reconcile his previous warm support for Medicare expansion with his current petulant rejection of it (h/t Daily Kos’ BarbinMD):

Stuck in a corner, he offered two explanations. (1) He first said that it appeared like his September comments referred back to his endorsement of the Medicare buy-in 2000, when he was running as the vice-presidential candidate on the Al Gore ticket. (Nevermind that the Post interview was conducted clearly in the context of the current health-care debate.) And (2) he argued that the comments were made before the Senate Finance Committee had introduced its reform bill, which grants generous insurance subsidies to folks aged 55 to 64. (Nevermind that the Senate HELP bill, which passed earlier in the summer, contained similar subsidies and everyone knew that the Finance bill would follow suit.)

Did any of that make sense to you? Do you think that justifies his rewriting the bill to insurance-industry specifications? Do you think this justifies his creating “LieberCare”? Me neither.

As BarbinMD says, he really needs to pick an excuse and stick with it, or else he sounds like the unprincipled opportunist that he is. But it may already be too late: When not even Howard Fineman believes what he says on this, it’s hard to see anyone else falling for this nonsense.

Just call him Senator Hissyfit.

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