Democrat-turned-independent Senator Joe Lieberman announced Tuesday that he would support a Republican filibuster of the health care bill if it contains a public insurance option.
Lieberman, of Connecticut, has had a strained relationship with the Democratic Party for quite a while. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, he publicly endorsed and campaigned for John McCain.
After a sweeping Democratic victory in the election, liberals debated whether Lieberman, who caucuses with the left, should be allowed to keep his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Ultimately, at the urging of President Barack Obama, Lieberman’s punishment was light, and the Democratic caucus voted 42-13 to let him continue leading his committee. However he was removed from the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Lieberman was thankful.
He said in a press conference after the vote, “I know that my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus were moved not only by the kind words that Sen. (Harry) Reid (D-Nev.) said about my longtime record, but by the appeal from President-elect Obama himself that the nation unite now to confront our very serious problems.”
After Lieberman’s announcement, Reid said Lieberman is the least of the Democrat’s problems.
Reid played off this significant betrayal, saying after Lieberman’s announcement that Lieberman is the least of the Democrats’ problems.
Lieberman’s move, though, betrays Obama, who defended him to make progress for the country. It also is a kick in the face to Democrats who chose to overlook his transgressions.
Why has he pledged not to let a public option come to a vote in the Senate, despite the fact that a September poll by Research 2000 shows 68 percent of Connecticut voters support it?
In the 2006 general election, he said in a speech he supported a program that would “allow anybody in our country to buy into a national insurance pool like the health insurance pool that we federal employees and members of Congress have.”
Having campaigned on universal health care coverage, Lieberman has completely reversed his position and betrayed the trust of his supporters in a matter of only three years. Lieberman seems to have no respect for the citizens of Connecticut or their wishes.
Who, then, does the senator represent? He represents the state’s biggest corporate resident – the health insurance industry.
Connecticut is home to 72 insurance companies. Over the course of his career, Lieberman has received $2,399,701 in donations from the health sector and $1,040,070 in donations from the insurance industry.
Lieberman is untrustworthy and likely controlled by special interests. It boggles the mind to think that he seems to have told a bold-faced lie to his constituents to win an election, betraying their trust when push came to shove.
With any luck, Connecticut’s citizens will hold him responsible when he is up for re-election and remove a thorn from the side of American governance.
Vincent DeFrancesco is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.