The Joe Lieberman Problem
by Charlie Leck
One could see this one developing from a million miles away. Joe Lieberman is one of the biggest problems the Democrats have got. He’s a former faithful member of the Party. He was spurned a few years ago and rejected as an endorsed candidate for Senate race. Angry at the rejection, he ran anyway – as an independent in a primary – and won. He counts himself as an “independent” now, but caucuses with the Democrats and even chairs the important Homeland Security Committee. There are plenty of Democrats who now want that committee chair taken away from Lieberman as punishment for his failure to stand with the party on so many issues.
Most significantly, Lieberman has come out strongly against any health care reform bill that includes a public option. If nothing else, Lieberman has some unusual set of testicles!
Just Liebermann's support -- just the support of one more U.S. Senator -- would likely be enough to get the bill through the Senate and on to a joint committee of both houses for a final rework.
In the state of Connecticut, it appears that approximately 70 percent of voters favor a national health care reform bill with a public option. Among Democrats the favorable percentage increases to over 80 percent and stays above 70 percent among independents. It fails to receive as favorable a percentage only among Republicans (33 percent favor and 55 percent oppose).
A Quinnipiac University poll, published on September 17 had this to say: “"Good news for Obama is that Connecticut voters trust him more than congressional Republicans (54 - 30 percent) to handle health care…" The results of the poll also appear to show that voters in Connecticut believe by an overwhelming margin that Republicans want Obama to fail on health care for strictly political reasons.
Now, let me ask you if you know which State it is that Joe Lieberman represents? Yup! You got it! I just don’t get it! What’s he up to?
Of course, it’s his last term in politics and he just doesn’t give a damn, but does he want to go down in history as theeeeeeee politician who killed real health care reform in America?
President Obama needs to take Joe to the wood shed – or, as it’s better known in Washington, he has to have him into the White House for a visit. Come on Mr. President, you need to remind Joe just how big you won in his home state and just how many of the people up there in Connecticut and all of New England want a public option provision included in this reform.
As for you, my dear readers, you can ask Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate, to take Joe’s committee chairmanship away from him – and Joe can just see how much the people of Connecticut like that. Go ahead and sign the petition. I have.
Connecticut’s other Senator, Christopher Dodd favors a health care bill with a public option:
“Joe and I disagree on the public option,” said Dodd. “I and many others support a strong public option because it will save money, and it will introduce more choice and competition into an industry that badly needs both. And I’m optimistic Joe will join us.”As Sam Stein points out in his Huffington Post blog, Lieberman is out of step with his Connecticut colleagues. Connecticut’s congressional delegation in Washington is going to support the public option and has already supported it in the vote returned by the House two days ago.
The pressure on Joe Lieberman at this moment is very intense. The leadership of both houses is leaning on him and the President will soon be calling if he hasn’t already. Pressure from citizens all across America must also be zeroed in on the Senator. That’s where you come in. Make sure Lieberman hears your voice. He must hear from hundreds of thousands of American voters.
And, oh, by the way
The State of Connecticut has a public option of its own within the state. At Media Matters, they’ve reprinted an ad from the Charter Oak Health Plan, which is just such an option for the citizens of the state. Take a look at and read the ad and you’ll see just how a public option would also work nationally.
Keep the pressure on Joe!
Let Joe know… you want him to support the President on this health care reform package. If you go to this site on Congress.org, you’ll find it very easy to send your own personal message to Senator Joe Lieberman.