October 31, 2009 by Daniel Stack
I’m having a pretty tough guy figuring out Joe Lieberman right now. This is a man who:
- In 2004, attempted to gain the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
- In 2000, was the Democratic party’s candidate for vice-president.
- In 1995, described the filibuster as “an obstacle to accomplishment here [in the Senate], but it also a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today.”
However recently he has done or announced his plans to:
- Vote to filibuster any vote on health care reform that includes a public option, stating it would put too much of a burden on the American taxpayer. (Despite the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculating it would actually reduce the deficit. It is also worth the public insurance option is supported by a strong majority of his Connecticut constituents.)
- Support the Republican candidate for president in 2008.,
- Support Republican congressional candidates in 2010.
I grew up in Connecticut. I voted for him when his name came up on the ballot, despite being a Republican back then. And I was hopeful of his candidacy back in 2004, though he had been eliminated by the time the of the Massachusetts primary. So in general I’ve liked him. But I’m finding myself pretty puzzled by his recent actions.
Now he’s an independent, after his defeat in the 2006 primary for his senate seat caused him to run as an independent. However, he’s chosen to caucus with the Democrats. In return he is chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a member of the Armed Services and Small Business Committees. With him, the Democrats have a 60 to 40 majority in the Senate, just bringing them to the magic number needed to stifle debate and prevent a filibuster. With health care reform the signature issue for congressional Democrats, I’m puzzled as to why they allow him to keep his committees — if they can’t count on him to allow debate on their most important issue, of what use is having him in the caucus. Especially if he’s announced his intention to assist the opposition party in the next election. I think it’s time for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to show a little bit of steel and either secure his aid or send him packing from his committees.