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Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr.
Legal Scholar

Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr.

Business ethics expert; senior fellow at Harvard’s schools of law and government; former General Counsel for General Electric; former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now Health and Human Services.)

Judging Joe

Whether Senator Lieberman deserves a place in principled heaven or self-indulgent hell turns on two very different issues: the merits of his position and the nature of his intent.

On the merits, I find his opposition to the watered-down public option unpersuasive. In a period of fiscal crisis and overwhelming federal deficits, Lieberman claims it is a mistake to create another entitlement program

In its later versions, the public option would, however, only be triggered if there was a failure in the insurance market to provide competitive pricing (and if there were a state opt-out on top of that). The Congressional Budget Office found this would reach relatively few people and have relatively little cost. We need all the experimentation we can get in our dysfunctional health care system.

The deeper problem--having little to do with a modest public option -- is controlling both public and private health-care costs, which are projected to grow at over six percent in the next decade. These high costs will continue to eat up ever-higher percentages of GDP (rising to 20 percent of GDP in ten years, and 25 percent by 2025).

In my view, if we want to judge Senator Lieberman today, we should debate his substantive positions.

This is so because the second issue---the nature of his intent---is much more complicated and hard to understand. One would have to get inside Senator Lieberman's mind to untangle the various motivations for his position. Although I have had limited contact with the senator (from my state) over the years, my knowledge of him comes overwhelmingly from media accounts. It is the symptom of the time that we are fascinated with snap judgments about personalities, as opposed to a discussion of the merits of their positions.

One can choose among many motivations attributed to Lieberman in media reports (or sheer media speculation). Among them:

The senator truly believes in fiscal restraint in these stressed times and, following a precautionary principle, doesn't want to take a chance on another entitlement program.

The senator has felt marginalized since his unsuccessfully run for the vice presidency in 2000 and his loss in the Democratic senatorial primary in 2006 and, egotistically, wants to get back in the limelight.

The senator is courageously going against the wishes of a majority in his state of Connecticut, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama (while he was campaigning for McCain) and today still approve of the president and the health-reform legislation.

The senator is cynically positioning himself for his 2012 Senate race as an independent. By opposing the public option, he gains good will on the conservative side of the spectrum, but his general support of health care allows him to appeal to moderate independents (and a few Democrats).

The senator is trimming his sails to please a large commercial constituency in his home state---the insurance industry--- whether he runs again in 2012 or whether he plans to retire in 2012 and is looking for board seats or other moneyed positions as he exits public life.

The senator is shrewdly or crassly playing senatorial politics. As an independent, not up for re-election, he can take the fire for opposing a public option that others in the Democratic Caucus also oppose, while other such opponents are more politically vulnerable and want to lay low (e.g. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas who, alone among the "centrists," is up for re-election next year). But he had to be there as the 60th vote against cloture: otherwise he risked being thrown out of the caucus and stripped of his role as chair of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. (Why have him in the caucus if he didn't deliver that critical 60th vote on the most important piece of legislation in 2009?)

And on and on....

So, I am prepared to criticize the senator for his position on the merits. I don't know enough about his personal history---and his current motivations---to have any considered judgment about his intent and character ( just being "unpopular" with many in his party doesn't do it for me).

Like the 2,000 page piece of legislation that has thrust him back into center of controversy, Senator Lieberman's character as opposed to his policy positions is, at least for this observer, not easy to fathom.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr.

 |  December 23, 2009; 10:57 AM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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NO!. I am not a psychiatrist nor a mind reader. I really don't care about Lieberman's motives or intent. Let's just make it simple.
He was a Democrat who opposed filibusters and desired health care reform. When he went to the Republican convention to support one of the most ill-equipped tickets in its history, you had to go no further with this senile old man.
If he could endorse McCain AND Palin, nothing he says afterward
has any credibitlity. He looks the part of a senator and talks like one you could trust. He is absolutely unreliable.
Could you imagine where we would be if McCain won?
Keep on looking for calculated and reasoned responses from a man who is mentally on the decline....and you will go nuts looking for reason where there is none. He is just someone who should retire and take care of his family and children. He has
enough money coming to him from his friends in the insuranace industry.

Posted by: PEACEAUTHOR | December 27, 2009 10:59 PM
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Hi,

I can recall the liberal news media referring to Lieberman as "The Conscience of the Senate". He gave up that title when he 'sold his soul' to support Bill Clinton during the Impeachment proceedings!

Nuff Said...Dennis

Posted by: dgiansante | December 27, 2009 8:47 PM
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You've got to be kidding. Lieberman is an effing prik.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | December 27, 2009 8:03 PM
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Joe is for Joe. The biggest and best entitlmment program today is the senate package, retirement, and health expenses and do you think for one minute ole Joe is going to let you in on this, He has made it quite plain in his voting that he is above the american people and he is going to stay that way, and the rich corporations are going to keep his coffers full as long as he votes in there favor, and to hell with the american people, the man is a traitor to the people that voted him in office

Posted by: ekirch | December 27, 2009 4:01 PM
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Trust him? No.

Posted by: drjillshackford1 | December 27, 2009 3:26 PM
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I trust Senator Lieberman to always act in his own best self interest. He doesn't seem to care about his constituents in Connecticut. I hope he loses the election in 2010.

Posted by: janye1 | December 27, 2009 2:31 PM
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I trust the senator from Aetna to always do what is best for his own political interests.
I think he is about to officially switch to the Republican Party, and actually believes he will be the presidential candidate for them in 2012. Given how little competition (Palin, Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs?) he'd have, and how much campaign moola he will pull down from the grateful pharma and the insurance companies, he might be the strongest candidate they'd find.

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Posted by: huangzhixian184 | December 27, 2009 8:42 AM
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Round and round he goes where he settles no one knows.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | December 27, 2009 4:36 AM
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To know Mr. LIeberman is to not love or trust him unless one is especially a NeoCon Republican.
No excuses or rationalizations can explain away the traitorous conduct of this transparent Zionist partisan. His conduct, since self-righteously sticking the shiv in Bill Clinton by publicly denouncing him for his own betrayal of the presidency, thus being rewarded by Gore, to publicly shamelessly and ostentatiously supporting the criminal Bush regime (and campaigning for him and Palin/McCain) for the costly invasion and genocide of the Iraqi and Palestinian and Lebanese people and willfully and knowingly sending thousands of our Americans to their deaths in the M.E., this character Lieberman is of Shakespearean proportions.
Whether he runs again will be up to Michael Bloomberg who came to his rescue and got him reelected last time. We should be so lucky!
One can never say that Joe Lieberman doesn't do things without malice aforethought.

Posted by: strohblumen | December 27, 2009 2:24 AM
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Lieberman should be ashamed for walking among decent Jews.He know his senate career is over but he has a bright future at the health insures corporations he is helping in detriment of American people. Gotta hell Joe...

Posted by: bluelagoon21 | December 26, 2009 11:24 PM
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Lieberman should be ashamed for walking among decent Jews.

Posted by: bluelagoon21 | December 26, 2009 11:14 PM
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The Senator sold out his country to his State's Insurance constituancy. He should be removed from office!

Posted by: lairb7 | December 26, 2009 10:22 PM
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Trust Senator Aetna?
Why?

Posted by: The-Historian | December 26, 2009 7:07 PM
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Joe is not even good for israel! we certainly don't need him.

Posted by: TomKK | December 26, 2009 6:57 PM
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The comment below sums up Joe.

'Liebermann is a self serving phony who doesn't give a damn about the American people ! And to think America came close to putting him in the White House a heartbeat from the presidency scares me to even think about it."

Joe is probably the worst human being we have witnessed in a long time. I am just so glad Gore lost (I can't believe I said that!)

Posted by: atm2 | December 26, 2009 5:32 PM
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Yes, I trust Joe LIEberman - as much as I trust snakes.

Posted by: angie12106 | December 26, 2009 1:25 PM
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if joe is needed as one of the 60...
dems have to trust him...
they can't treat him like they treat the dems that tow the party line...
after all Joe is an independent...
can vote any way he wants...
if the senate switches control in 2011,
will Joe keep his chairmanship...
we will have to wait to see...
but I think the voters want everyone that voted against them punished...
even him...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 26, 2009 11:43 AM
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The real question is whether the Democrat party and the leftist cronies in the WH and on the Hill can be trusted. They're on the their way to passing a bill that is overwhelming opposed by Americans. They are nothing but pigs at heart. G.D. all of them.

Posted by: DCer1 | December 26, 2009 11:43 AM
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I blame it on Harry Reid. All he needed to do was change the title of the bill. The bill's details could remain unchanged. If he called it the "incinerate enemies of Israel healthcare bill" Joe would have been for it... regardless of the details.

Posted by: steveboyington | December 26, 2009 8:46 AM
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No. I do not trust hypocrites like Joe who take payoffs and talk out of both sides of their mouth. I was really wrong about him when he ran with Gore. Of course Nancy Reid caved to him, too.

Posted by: onestring | December 26, 2009 12:15 AM
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The predictions of financial disaster in health care in the coming years are either accurate or not. But, politicians seem to ignore these predictions going about their business as if the United States was not facing a crisis in health care. I realize there won't be an easy solution to the growing cost of health care. I don't perceive Joseph Liebermann as seeking a solution. He appears to be selfish, egotistical and clever. But, he isn't working toward a solution. The people of Connecticut have no honest or straightforward representation from him. When will the voters of that State realize they have a self-seeking Senator representing them? When will they put someone in office who really cares about the issues facing our country. We are never going to survive as a nation having such politicians.

Posted by: banquet | December 25, 2009 11:07 PM
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Please, we all know when a politician is not acting on principle. It's the same for them as it is for lawyers and celebrities. You can always tell - if their lips are moving, you know they're not acting on principle.

Posted by: magellan1 | December 25, 2009 10:23 PM
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Message to hz9604: Heineman wrote: "....The senator (Lieberman) is courageously going against the wishes of a majority in his state of Connecticut, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama (while he (Lieberman) was campaigning for McCain) and today (the majority in Connecticut) still approve of the president and the health-reform legislation ....."

And Mr. Powell can speak his piece from the side lines just like we have.

Mr. Rove has no credibility with me. Mr. Powell does.

Posted by: Thependulumswings | December 25, 2009 8:58 PM
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Message to Heineman: Lieberman did not support Obama. In fact he actively supported McCain.

In contrast, here's an interesting leadership portait:

Last fall Colin Powell put his support behind Barack Obama even though Powell and John McCain are very close politically as moderate Republicans. Puzzling but fine. Later Powell reiterated his support for Obama and spoke to criticisms of him from other Republicans. Fine.

But NOW Powell is criticizing Obama and he is criticizing him on CORE REPUBLICAN CONCEPTS of size of government, the number of programs, the cost of programs, and government debt. This is NOT fine.

I do not associate this sequence of decisions with a man capable of making decisions as a military general that can affect the lives and safety of thousands. Nor do I assign anything resembling leadership to this man.

Be honest General Powell. What gives?

As Karl Rove said, Powell is welcome in the GOP, but give us ideas, give us candidates, and show us a constituency for those ideas.

Mr. Powell - If you want to lead and lead on your convictions, people like me are ready to listen to you. But if you have become a wishy-washy retired something or other or if you are too afraid of the Uncle Tom label, please leave the heavy lifting to those who are not afraid to put and leave some skin in the game. That General Powell is an important aspect of leadership.

Posted by: hz9604 | December 25, 2009 6:47 PM
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I trust him about half as far as I can kick the Washington Monument in my bare feet. He's crass and venal. In other words a politician in tune with the republican base.

Posted by: ricklein | December 25, 2009 3:24 PM
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do i trust joe lieberman? LOL he's a little WHINER! i don't trust whiners.

every time i hear liebermans voice i crack up... he sounds like he is about to start crying!

"i-i-i'm j-j-oe l-l-lieberm-m-man a-a-and i-m g-g-going t-t-to cr-cr-cry n-n-now..."

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 25, 2009 2:39 PM
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Destroy the little weasel.

Posted by: alarico | December 25, 2009 2:18 PM
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where in the constitution is the right for the government to force me to buy anything to be a legal citizen what is an excessive profit there is no definition in the constitution Microsoft has a much higher profit margin than any insurance company or oil company i remember when the banks wanted to charge $1 or $2 how much rage there was how many times do you us your atm card at a bank 10 20 50? but no one screams about the government takes half your pay check and taxes everything you spent it on you not only not see the forest for the tree you can't even see the tree this is not about health care but more control of you life the fascists and socialists still keep trying but it always fails to work and usually kills 1000s of people oh they didn't do it right that time but we will do it right this time doing the same thing over and over again is a definition of insanity freedom works every time it's tried i own my body and everything i make with my time no one is instilled to any of it with out my permission get your hands off my stuff i'll make it simple if congress passed a law to tax left handed people more than right handed people everyone would see that unconstitutional a different tax rate for with state you lived oh the canadians love the health care my 3 year old grandson loves the big box the dishwasher came in canada has 30 million people but there drugs are cheaper well just 1 hospital in texas spends more on research than canada sacramento has more mris and ct scanners you what to wait 8 months for a test i don't wait a year or more from a doctor if you move i don't canada sends it' premature babies to us because they don't have the ability to keep them alive
we go socialist their drugs won't be cheaper anymore they won't have new and better health care and we won't either when 50% of the doctors retire where are you going to do? die we will cut doctors pay 21% how about we start with congress after we kick the ones out now and let them try to earn a living oh my god they had to work 24 days in december oh the horror wait a minute we do that and more every month and they take half away where are brains being hidden in america now you voted for hope and change and it sucks they told you what they are but you did not hear or see who there friends are you get the government you deserve don't blame me i told everyone i knew an empty suit has nothing inside idiots oh everyone man woman child will owe at least a $1;000;000 in 3 more years don't worry though 10 years from now a loaf of bread will cost $10,000 went the inflation kicks in from all the paper they are printing and you will find out the joys of living in a 4th world country but hey we will the same free health care they have in cuba 1920 level maybe 1899 with a 49 year life expectancy fools

Posted by: m0j0 | December 25, 2009 1:34 PM
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What a weird column. Mr Heineman doesn't like Joe. Mr. Heineman doesn't understand Joe. Mr Heineman has decided to argue the "issues on their merits" but just then, the column ends.

Is this one of those coordinated campaigns where articles against Joe show up ever couple months in newspapers disparaging him right up to his Senate elections?


lag


PS Oh by the way, when you try to oust him like the Dems did, he doesn't owe them anything anymore.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | December 25, 2009 12:44 PM
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I'd trust Joe Lieberman about as far as I could throw him (and I'd like to try). He's amoral and only out for himself, no matter what he votes for or against. He's an Independent only because no party will have him, unlike Bernie Sanders who is Independent out of principle.

Posted by: gce1356 | December 25, 2009 12:41 PM
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Heineman argues that Lieberman's opposition to the watered-down public option is "unpersuasive." He doesn't buy Leiberman's argument that, in a period of fiscal crisis and overwhelming federal deficits, it is a mistake to create another entitlement program

He points to the Congressional Budget Office "findings," which claim that the Democrats' health plan would save money and reduce the deficit. Of course, anyone who believes in those projections believes in the tooth fairy and Santa Clause.

That's one big reason the American people have become so opposed to this smoke-and-mirrors abomination. And it is a big reason that, while lefties hate Lieberman, most Americans appreciate Lieberman's courage in standing up to this insanity. Living in his East Coast Bubble, Heineman could not possibly know this. Some day, he will be hit by the reality of it all.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | December 25, 2009 12:32 PM
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So a guy who went from GE to Obama lackey doesn't like the good Senator from Conn. boo hoo. Give 'em hell Joe.

Posted by: patgig1 | December 25, 2009 12:17 PM
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that was very funny this not my fathers democrat party but hugo chavez's the said thing is it is true i would where the che poster is in the white house considering that no one knows whats in that 2000 page abortion hot does any senator know anything but what their bribe is it really comes down to this do you own you body or does the government the bill is clearly unconstitutional the on illegal parts is on at least 1500 of the pages the constitution does not allow the government to force you a free person to buy something to be a legal citizen

Posted by: m0j0 | December 25, 2009 12:08 PM
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Lieberman should be stripped of any committee that he now heads or anything to do with the democrats. Liberman is a traitor to the people in his state and to the democrats in the senate. Why Harry Reid doesn't kick Joe out is a mystery to me.As the saying goes I wouldn't trust Lieberman in a s--t house muzzled

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | December 25, 2009 12:03 PM
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It is only for the people of Connecticut to judge Joe Lieberman and certainly not this Heineman clown.

Just consider the business ethics and morality of a party that was trying to attack Lieberman's wife in her charitable capacity in retribution for Lieberman's stance.

I tell you this may not be your father's Democrat party but it sure is Hugo Chavez's.
.

Posted by: hz9604 | December 25, 2009 10:28 AM
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He is not my Senator. I do not live in his State.
However, I find almost nothing about his political positions to my liking, and I have to consider him one of the reasons I am increasingly alienated from my government.
He is a Zionist imperialist. I am a American pacifist of the Eisenhower type. He is a neoliberal advocate of Milton Friedman. I am a social democrat. I oppossed the Iraq war, he worked with Bechtel Corp. tp promote the war. I can keep going, but bottom line,
he is not my Senator in anything.

Posted by: WilliamBlake | December 25, 2009 9:40 AM
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He is a mystery because he is honest?!?

Forget you're speaking of Sen. Lieberman and imagine someone just said that about a person you've never heard of. Does the shear stupidity and overt contradiction of that statement reveal itself to you? That is quite possibly the most self-defeating observation I've read all day.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | December 25, 2009 9:10 AM
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Liebermann is a mystery because he is the rare honest politician.

Posted by: mbm011 | December 25, 2009 7:20 AM
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Liebermann is a mystery, he is the rare honest politician

Posted by: mbm011 | December 25, 2009 7:18 AM
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It is inaccurate to refer to health-care reform as a new entitlement. Nobody is talking about funding health-care out of general revenues. Health insurance companies impose a tax on huge numbers of employers who are encouraged by the tax code and Tradition to offer health insurance benefits to employees. It is part of the compensation package in the same way that huge bonuses are expected by Wall Street bankers, in good times and in bad, whether they succeed or fail. What is new is that government is going to impose some discipline on health insurance companies. That is what has got Republicans all riled up. How can a dishonent businessman make a buck with all these government rules? Government subsidies to help the poor and unemployed paid insurance premiums may properly be regarded as an entitlement, but not the vast majority of Traditional arrangements. Insureds are supposed not to be declared ineligible for coverage on account of pre-existing conditions. Insureds are supposed to never exceed some arbitrary and capricious benefit maximum. Insurance companies will try to raise premiums on account of these better benefits. Government should take the cost of these improvements out of the hides of the insurance companies, if Congress has the guts. The entire employer/health insurance company/physician/hospital/drug company/patient nexus has got to be rationalized to maximize benefit for bucks spent. As it stands now, a huge portion of the budget is tilted toward excess profits for health insurance and drug companies. This is, of course, fine and dandy for wealthy investors and not fine and dandy for the sick. Government intervention, the hated thing, is exactly what is needed. Joe Lieberman should count on leaving Congress and stoking the fires under his rejuvenated law practice.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | December 25, 2009 3:03 AM
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The author is an academic nothing and Senator Liebermann an elective politician. Both are worthy of something; neither is worthy of anything!

Posted by: GordonShumway | December 25, 2009 12:36 AM
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Joe Lieberman voted with Bush for the war in Iraq, which has been a black hole for US tax dollars - then complains about using OUR tax dollars to provide health care to Americans?
He's a man with a truly dark soul - the dirtiest of dirtbags.
I hope he rots in Hell.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | December 25, 2009 12:03 AM
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This article is the biggest bunch of c-r-a-p I have read recently.

Lieberman went against his state based on their vote for Obama? Lieberman is supposed to vote for everything Obama wants? Obama would not even be elected at this point his rating is so low-- in fact the lowest of any first year president. Obama is a disaster. Even with majorities, Obama could not get this health care passed in a reasonable amount of time.

If the bill gets liberalized in reconciliation with the House it will fail. The Senate had to buy votes from several Senators.

Joe Lieberman is the best.

WaPo - please spare us the i-d-i-o-t-s like Heineman whoever the hell he is.

Posted by: hz9604 | December 24, 2009 10:16 PM
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If you've followed Joe Lieberman's career and pronouncements the past 10 years, and you have a Facebook account, I invite you to join this Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=162150099156

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | December 24, 2009 9:57 PM
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enator Lieberman lies at the bottom of the heap as symbol of that corruption.
-----------------
SEveral feet above Ben Nelson, Vaticanista, who serves the Vatican, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, in all likelihood, one and the same.

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | December 24, 2009 9:00 PM
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Most of the politicians are scums, looking for their interests and the interests of their corporate masters, though public pays their salaries. This is the product of a rigged system cleverly designed by a ground of elite people to make sure that the powers continues to rest among them by various institutional arrangements. Senator Lieberman lies at the bottom of the heap as symbol of that corruption.

Posted by: kevin1231 | December 24, 2009 8:43 PM
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WaPo has spent a lot of time trying to rehabilitate Vatican, big INSURANCE, big PHARMA shill, Sen. Nelson.

WaPo Catholics falling all over themselves to defend said creep, for whose non-cooperation one hundred million of our tax dollars was spent.

Rehab won't work, of course, not for Vaticanista Nelson, not by WapO Catholonazis.

Sort of like asking one child molester to rehabilitate another. The bastard, Whistling, comes to mind.

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | December 24, 2009 6:23 PM
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NWBerger wrote:

Do we trust Lieberman? Wrong quesiton. The right one is: Can we trust Obama (who has a lifetime's worth of broken promises in less than a year in office)?

Puhlease stop with the nonsense. This country is almost impossible to run. And, let's face it, there is no such thing as a politician who keeps all his/her promises. But at least Obama is competent, hasn't shredded the Constitution, and has restored America's credibility around the world. Compared with W The Boob, Obama is Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill rolled into one.

Posted by: wiltonsjs | December 24, 2009 4:40 PM
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The senator has felt marginalized since his unsuccessfully run for the vice presidency in 2000 and his loss in the Democratic senatorial primary in 2006 and, egotistically, wants to get back in the limelight.


Bingo!

Posted by: therev1 | December 24, 2009 4:23 PM
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Does he think he can WHINE Lieberman back to a decent place--this guy Heineman, and 15 tiny titles?

DOES he think he's planted a
reasonable doubt" in reader's minds about what Lieberman is? Like a good lawyer?

And that he and his can then proceed to rehabilitate the sleezy senator from Connecticut?

It's too funny, but sickeningly familiar. WaPo had two columnists try last week to make the Liebermans look better. Parker and Milbank. There were several more.

But they were buried in furious refrutation.
Which is to say, furiously shouted down by angry readers.

Now the Post tries again, in a section called "LEADERSHIP" , with a person called a "Legal Scholar". They never give up, do they.

Face it, Lieberman was thoroughlty known and detested before his last little gig.

Posted by: whistling | December 24, 2009 4:12 PM
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Looks like one Jew trying to rehabilitate another.

So AIPAC can still use good ole joe in the senate to make trouble? Saint a louse?
Sticking with the brotherhood?

Might look elsewhere for good material to
make good. Every knows what Joe Lieberman
Senator from Israel is. And some guy with a milion titles, none earthshaking , most
bloated, pretends he can change things.

Posted by: whistling | December 24, 2009 3:53 PM
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Do we trust Lieberman? Wrong quesiton. The right one is: Can we trust Obama (who has a lifetime's worth of broken promises in less than a year in office)?

Posted by: nwberger | December 24, 2009 3:35 PM
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Joe Lieberman lacks the ethics to run a payday loan office. Yet, when he is out of the Senate, there will always be that corporation counsel job with Aetna. Absolutely repulsive.

Posted by: hadenuff1 | December 24, 2009 12:12 PM
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I sent an e-mail to Lieberman last week chiding him on his cynically opposing the Medicare expansion ("I was for it before I was against it") and for not representing the clear preferences of the majority of the citizens of CT on health care.

He sent me back an e-mail that said, in part: "...I was first inspired to public service by President John F. Kennedy...".

Puhlease. I knew JFK and, to paraphrase the late-Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Lieberman is no JFK.

Lieberman will never get re-elected in CT. He is not nearly loony enough to satisfy the red-meat wingnuts who have taken over the GOP...and has committed apostasy as far as the Dems are concerned. Me, I'm an Independent and I wouldn't vote for him for dog-catcher! If Lieberman were a mensch, he'd resign now so we could replace him with someone who would actually represent the wishes of the CT electorate. But of course he is no mensch...which is why we're having this discussion in the first place.

Posted by: wiltonsjs | December 24, 2009 11:46 AM
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Lieberman seemingly can't decide whether he is really the Senator from Israel or the Senator from Aetna.

Posted by: gkam | December 24, 2009 11:37 AM
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Joe Lieberman is blameless. We have created a political market in which he is free to sell his vote (via payments to his wife, which is legal if only quasi-ethical). He's merely exercising his right in a capitalist economy. Live with it. It's not going to change.

Posted by: IGiveup1 | December 24, 2009 11:36 AM
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I love hearing ethics lawyers talk about "failures in the insurance market to provide competitive pricing" as opposed to someone saying, "gee, here's a chance to create a business because the current market isn't competitively priced"! I'm going to invest!

Insurance is not like say power companies where there is effectively a natural monopoly that needs to be regulated. People, can and will say screw that, I'm investing my money elsewhere if the insurance company isn't making a profit. (or just spend it before it gets taxed away) The next step will be that the same people will wrongly conclude the market really doesn't work now and press again for a public option. The PO, of course, is the conduit for attaching taxpayer's dollars which once opened will get wider and wider. Good luck, there's my prediction. But of coure, he's lawyers, the group that will benefit from a future directed economy.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | December 24, 2009 11:22 AM
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Liebermann is a self serving phony who doesnt give a damn about the American people ! And to think America came close to putting him in the White House a heartbeat from the presidency scares me to even think about it. Connecticut his home state wanted a public option( over 60%) and he turned his back on them. If Connecticut wants to make a huge contribution to the welfare of America they will vote this hypocrite out of office as soon as possibe !!!!

Posted by: dnlallar | December 24, 2009 11:15 AM
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Lieberman and every single member of Congress are beneficiaries of an "entitlement" program with their health care insurance.

WE, the taxpayers, subsidize 75% of the costs of Congress' health care insurance premiums. If he and others are truly against "entitlements" then they should refuse the 75% subsidy that comes from us, the taxpayers.

Posted by: Utahreb | December 24, 2009 9:12 AM
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Lieberman is a w*ore. Plain and simple. He would sell out the U.S. in two seconds if it meant helping some corporation that is lining his pockets, or aiding Israel.

Posted by: gasmonkey | December 24, 2009 7:06 AM
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To answer your question: No. No no again i say NO.

Posted by: farhorizons | December 24, 2009 6:35 AM
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Joe Liebermann is not a mystery. He is a "phoney" politician.

Unfortunately he is typical of many members of a Congress that provides "the best government money can buy"

Posted by: WESHS49 | December 24, 2009 6:35 AM
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