Monday, December 14, 2009

Compost Lieberman

I try to be mindful of the idea that we should not take politicians' statements at face value in the middle of negotiations. I have also long been a defender of Democratic leaders' efforts to keep Joe Lieberman in the Democratic fold despite his obnoxious behavior. But now he has promised to filibuster health care reform even after concessions have been made to keep him from filibustering health care reform. It seems to me that he is simply not negotiating in good faith. I don't particularly care whether his motivations are sincere (he has simply become much more conservative in recent years), self-serving (he likes being the center of attention), or vengeful (he just wants to deal liberals a loss) -- the result seems to be the same.

I might suggest that there is no longer any point in trying to appease him. Democrats should stop trying to keep him in the fold and should instead just cut a deal with Ben Nelson, Susan Collins and/or Olympia Snowe. My dream scenario at this point is that Harry Reid tells Lieberman the following offer:
My final offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the public option, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.
And then dumps Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, replacing him with Snowe in exchange for her vote on health care reform. Yeah, it's a breach of protocol for a Democratic majority leader to appoint a Republican committee chair, but I'd frankly trust Snowe on national security a lot more than I'd trust Lieberman at this point. I'd also trust her more to follow through on a deal.

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