In defense of Joe Lieberman [*CORRECTION APPENDED]
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is taking a beating for saying he'd be willing to scuttle healthcare if the final plan has a public option. A Benedict Arnold, they call him, a traitor, and much, much worse. So I'd like to stick up for the senator because this, my friends, is a stand up guy.
That's right, here are rock solid principles in action. Lieberman doesn't care if most people in Connecticut want a public option. Nor does he care if most people in America want it. He doesn't care if he shoots down healthcare reform entirely and destroys the best hope for reform in decades.
And nor should he. Because a deal is a deal, people! And if the citizens of Connecticut aren't his constituents, and the people of America aren't either, that just leaves the insurance companies.
There are senators who get more from the industry -- John McCain for one, and even then-Sen. Barack Obama received quite a bit of cash support back in the day. But I like to think that Joe's relationship is special.
If he rigs the game so that all Americans have to purchase insurance but insurance companies don't have any competition, surely he will have surpassed the industry's wildest expectations. Five'll get you ten he finds a cushy landing at Aetna or Cigna or some other insurance giant when he's out of office. And if he does, then I will applaud. It would depress me if, after he sabotages the national interest, insurance companies "rescinded" his policy.
But that's just speculation.
Maybe it's not that deep. Maybe he's a power-happy idiot who just likes to see everyone squirm.
*Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Lieberman isn't running for office again. In fact, Lieberman has said he's considering "all sorts of options" for 2012.
Photo: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) acknowledges cheers before addressing delegates at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., on Sept. 2, 2008. Credit: Genaro Molino / Los Angeles Times