Joe Lieberman, deciding that his judgement is better than a majority of the American people and a majority of his Democratic colleagues has said that “as a matter of conscience” he will not allow a health care bill that contains a public option to come to the floor for a vote.
It is not enough for Lieberman to simply speak out against it and vote against it. His “conscience” is such that, in being all seeing and all knowing, he will use senate rules to keep the majority of his colleagues from exercising their own consciences which obviously Lieberman regards as inferior to his own.
Liebermans arrogance in believing that he knows best, and having a track record that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence (as his support for the war in Iraq shows) needs to be confronted by Harry Reid and it also needs to be dealt with as a matter of conscience.
Harry Reid should make it clear to Lieberman, that as a matter of conscience, if he votes to support a Republican filibuster he is going to be stripped of his Democratic seniority and his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. Given his recent comments on Fox News that the Fort Hood shooting could well be an act of terrorism before the facts are in, stripping Lieberman of his Homeland Security chairmanship would be no great loss.
But given the high profile it gives him, its likely Lieberman would think twice about filibustering the health care bill if it meant losing his chairmanship.
It should also be made clear to Lieberman as a matter of conscience, that if he should support a filibuster, aside from losing his seniority, he can forget about getting any bills or amendments through the senate. And he should be threatened with being expelled from the Democratic caucus. If he wants to vote with the Republicans let him become one.
If Lieberman wants to spend the next four years stripped of his chairmanship and seniority, and if he wants to come to the senate every day knowing he will be unable to get any legislation through, then by all means let him listen to his conscience, support a filibuster to prevent a vote and become useless to his home state of Connecticut for the next four years of his term which, in all probability, would make it his last.
There has been some talk in the senate about going back to Olympia Snowe’s “trigger” public option as a compromise, but that is absurd. The “trigger” would still be contentious in terms of getting enough senators to agree on exactly what the trigger would be. And it still wouldn’t get Lieberman on board because according to him, he is against any public plan because he believes it would be too expensive and become a government entitlement in spite of the CBO saying otherwise. Yes it would mean Snowe would help break a Republican filibuster but the trigger option is too high a price to pay.It would delay any real public option for years.
The best approach is to let Lieberman know the price he will have to pay for a filibuster. Then let him exercise his conscience. And make his choice.