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Mickey Edwards
Political leader

Mickey Edwards

Former U.S. Congressman, Mickey Edwards is vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs the Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Exactly what we need

So long as we're stuck with our current party-driven political system, in which two private clubs -- Democrats and Republicans -- get the biggest say in determining who will be on the November ballot, there will always be primary challenges and that's as it should be. But the number of candidates who can win with an independent or third-party candidacy is small.

The inevitable result will be an ever-smaller number of Joe Liebermans in Congress and, on both sides of the aisle, men and women who place paramount importance on achieving a partisan advantage or being loyal to the club they belong to. Lieberman was criticized because many in his party believed he had an obligation not to evaluate proposals on their merits but to stick with the team.

Why was Ben Nelson less bitterly attacked for his own equally principled foot-dragging? Because (a) there is a lingering view in the Democratic caucus that Lieberman, having been "honored" by the party with its vice-presidential nomination, thereby owes his soul to the caucus, and (b) Nelson is probably pretty much in line with the Democrats in his own state and any attempt to knock him off in a primary for being too conservative is a non-starter.

Do we need more Joe Liebermans? Absolutely. More accurately, what we need are more members of Congress, in both parties and in both the House and Senate, whose decisions are based on three things and three things alone: what the Constitution permits, what constituents prefer, and an individual assessment of a proposal's merits and deficiencies. The advantage or disadvantage to a political party has no place in such an important decision-making process.

Joe Lieberman, like every other member of Congress, owes his allegiance to the nation, not to a president, a party leader, or a political club.

By Mickey Edwards

 |  December 22, 2009; 6:18 AM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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“ Don’t Do For Others What You Don’t Want Others To Do For You ”

By: Nori Murthy (NVSN Murthy), Scientist
Founder & President,
International Society for Humanity
Bangalore City, South India, India
email: sowhumanity@gmail.com
email: norimurthy@sify.com

Note: Dear Sir,

Please send my message to the beloved people of our planet. This message will do wonders for the people of our wonder planet.

Posted by: NoriMurthy | December 23, 2009 3:03 AM
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You know what, Mickey? Forget health care. Lieberman deserves to be bounced from his Homeland Security chairmanship -- and, I would argue, from the Senate itself -- for his utter failure to 1) do anything about implementing the recommenations of the 9/11 commission and 2) investigate Katrina and its aftermath, including but not limited to profiteering and gouging the government. Those abdications alone merit his swift bouncing from the public payroll.

You might or might not have had a meritorious point to make, but using Joe Lieberman to do it = EPIC FAIL.

Posted by: lexalexander1 | December 23, 2009 1:40 AM
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Yeah...like we need more jew bastards ruining our country.

Posted by: playa_brotha | December 22, 2009 11:50 PM
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Joe Lieberman represents himself and his own special interest. Is it a coincidence that an "independent" senator from the home of the insurance industry was so opposed to a public option? For that matter how about Senator Nelson from "Mutual of Omaha" Nebraska? Be for real! These senators have no loyalty to country beyond what their fundraising lobbies want and they can talk their constituents into believing!

Posted by: callmeljok | December 22, 2009 10:45 PM
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I have a long memory.

I live thousands of miles from Connecticut,
but in 2012 I will be donating and if possible even *working for* any and ALL of Joe Lieberman's potential opponents - and certainly the one (of ANY party) that has the best chance of sending Joe Lieberman packing PERMANENTLY.

Lieberman's allegiance is not the to US, nor to any political party.

"It's all about Joe" and his pet causes -

and Joe's gotta' GO!!

Join me in 2012, America. Put Joe out to pasture permanently.

Posted by: daveque | December 22, 2009 8:45 PM
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Edwards, whatever you've been smoking must be some pretty potent sh*t. Your comment,
"...Lieberman, like every other member of Congress, owes his allegiance to the nation..." is just as disingenuous as Lierberman's commitment to his constituents.
He, like you, cares more about personal gain while in office and a cushy job as a lobbyist and political commentator.

Posted by: monel7191 | December 22, 2009 3:44 PM
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We need another Joe Lieberman like we need another 9/11.

Posted by: atidwell | December 22, 2009 3:15 PM
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I need to correct myself. The case sited in my last response should have been


Posted by: RWNorman | December 22, 2009 1:19 PM
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"Why was Ben Nelson less bitterly attacked for his own equally principled foot-dragging?" Very simple, and for none of the reasons the author listed: Nelson has been consistent, and used circumstances to his advantage. Lieberman on the other hand just came out against the position he supported 3 months ago! In other words, Nelson exercised judgement (and leadership) to further his position; Lieberman is just another cheap opportunist.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 22, 2009 1:15 PM
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Lieberman has DISREGARDED his constituents preferences. They want the public option. Old joe is all about Old Joe and the insurance companies that line his pockets and Hadassah's pockets.
He's a turn-coat who supported the medicare buy-in before he voted against it.
He's spiteful, selfish and has no heart or consience.
Mikey Edwards tells a lot about himself as he praises this poor excuse for a man.

Posted by: libertyanne | December 22, 2009 12:59 PM
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The conscience of the electorate said we needed health care reform, but the disengagement of the Republican party in the matter of working for the public good has the same effect as a massive star, dragging those along whom are engaged by the gravity of that star.

In this world, at this time, corporations have the money and power and multinational existence which can never become a part of any government's toolkit.

The government's bailiwick is to benefit the people, not corporations, with the small negative fact that Supreme Court Chief Justice Morrison Remick Waite gave corporations the rights of people just by stating "We do not accept the argument that corporations do not have the rights of the people under the 14th Amendment; we presume they do."

Now, if this were in a decision handed down in the case (San Diego County vs Pacific Railroad), then it would have been a decision voted on by all on the court, but this was a statement made without any oral arguments being presented, and as such is dicta.

However, it is taken as law, and when our representatives act in the name of corporations rather than for the benefit of the people, why should one complain?

After all, Joe is an Independent elected by his state, and if he chooses to stand with John McCain against the Democrat's nomination, then his state can tell where he is coming from.

But my guess is that Joe isn't really representing the people of his state at all. And this bothers me, not because of Joe, but because the prevalent thought in Congress today is that the politician knows what is best for his constituents rather than know how his constituents want him vote.

Posted by: RWNorman | December 22, 2009 12:38 PM
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It is sad that you are actually defending this putz.

I guess you forgot that Connecticut is a hub for many insurance companies? Furthermore, Lieberman spoke out againt 55+ buying into Medicare. The fact that those individuals are *buying*, as in paying premiums for healthcare, should not have been an issue for someone with a more conservative view, concerned about the overhaul's overall cost.

These two main points only further convince me that Lieberman has been bought, and I am curious to know how many millions of dollars in campaign funds have been promised to him by the insurance machine.

Posted by: jromaniello | December 22, 2009 12:26 PM
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Lieberman promised the Democrats that he would not object to party line situations and will keep his committee chairmanship. But then he criticized and voted on the War and other issues like a Republican. As gtinla said:

"The perception of voters like me is that Liberman owes his allegiance to health insurance and drug companies, so Rep. Edwards' comment rings rather hollow to me. " said gtinla 12/22/2009 8:17am

I would love to have people vote their conscience, but having a public option is a matter of being able to give insurance to poor people. Sen Lieberman clearly has his own agenda. And sadly, the Republicans are willing to vote lock-step in order to prevent a reasonable change to a not working Health Care system.

Lieberman even contradicted his own previous statements (I believe they were on accepting Medicare changes).

So, we have (and I'm not big on this word) a "traitor" to his party, but more importantly, a traitor to the principles of helping fellow Americans.

Posted by: Pete_from_nyc | December 22, 2009 12:20 PM
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Lieberman's allegiance is not to party (he left when lost) or to constituents (they wanted a public option at the least), but to the insurance industry based in Connecticut which has funded him generously.

Posted by: Marywexler38 | December 22, 2009 11:37 AM
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Oh, Mickey, you are way off base. Lieberman owes his allegiance to special interests, such as hospitals and insurance companies. In case you've forgotten, Hartford is a major hub of corporate headquarters for the large health insurers. Pfizer is also a major corporate organization headquartered in his State. Lieberman's wife is a shill for a very large CT-based hospital corporation. Lieberman's position was not principled, as you suggest. It was profligacy; whoring to lobbyists and big business. It wasn't for the welfare of the people, but rather, at the expense of the people, who will continue to get raped on drug prices, gouged on health insurance premiums and have their insurance benefits either denied, manipulated or summarily cancelled. As we facetiously say in Lieberman's faith, "what a mench!"

Posted by: seve2yoo | December 22, 2009 10:10 AM
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"The senator has been the recipient of $2.1 million in contributions from health care professionals and insurers since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics"

That says all that needs to be said about Lieberman -- he's for sale to the highest bidder, and always has been. He has NEVER represented or worked for the interests of the people of the State of Connecticut; he represents the interests of Joe Lieberman and the State of Israel (as long as Israel keeps paying him). He is the most crooked Senator in a Senate famous for crooks, and he needs to be impeached or -- failing that -- defeated in the next election. He's an embarrassment to our state and a towering example of the gullibility of voters in the face of an avalanche of corporate-fueled TV ads that try to make up in sheer volume what they lack in cogent argument.

Lieberman's behavior since the "Bush Kiss" is the most cynical and hubristic treason in modern political history -- yet the Democrats, in their lickspittle fawning for one man's cooperation, have allowed Lieberman to retain two of the most important DEMOCRATIC Committee Chairmanships in the Senate, AND they allow him -- while NOT holding their noses -- to caucus with the Democrats. These are the rewards the desperate Democratic Party gives to a man who placed himself firmly in the Bush camp, stayed there for the duration, and THEN worked openly for the extension of Bush Doctrine by supporting John "Bush 3" McCain and his certifiably insane running mate Palin, and actively working AGAINST the Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama. And STILL the Democrats bend over and grab their ankles every time Lieberman approaches them. There's something VERY wrong with this picture.

Posted by: bbrown95 | December 22, 2009 9:51 AM
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Lieberman is the type of politician we need more of. The Liberals despise him, the conservatives refuse to include him, and politicians in general avoid him. Sounds pretty good to me.

Posted by: fcrucian | December 22, 2009 9:16 AM
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Lieberman fails on two of the tests suggested by Mickey.

His position did not in the least bit reflect what his constituents from the Great State of Connecticut wanted. Look at any polling on the preferences of the citizens of CT and you will see that we all wanted either a public option or the Medicare expansion. So he gets an F on that (but an A for being a narcissist).

Second, the Medicare proposal was EXACTLY what Lieberman proposed 3 months ago. So, "he was for it before he was against it."
What changed his mind? The top two possibilities: Poking his thumb in the eye of the voters of CT who didn't want to re-elect him as Senator, and Money from the CT insurance lobby.

Lieberman will never be re-elected in 2012. He couldn't be elected as Dog Catcher in CT much less returned as our Seantor.

Posted by: wiltonsjs | December 22, 2009 9:08 AM
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The perception of voters like me is that Liberman owes his allegiance to health insurance and drug companies, so Rep. Edwards' comment rings rather hollow to me. Why else would he change his mind on the Medicare buy-in when it was actually going to pass? It's easy to support something you know will not pass.

Posted by: gtinla | December 22, 2009 8:17 AM
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