Join 3,574 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Sen. Lieberman (I - Aetna).
October 28, 2009 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Joe Lieberman... Deal or No Deal?! (SLYT) A campaign ad for Ned Lamont has suddenly become very relevant, considering Sen. Joe Lieberman's recent statement threatening to block any health care legislation with a public option. "I accused him of, after 20 years, dithering on that topic," said Ned Lamont yesterday. "As far as I can tell, a filibuster is one more dither."
posted by markkraft (123 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, for those who don't know out there, here is a bio on Ned Lamont. The ad is from his 2006 campaign against Lieberman, and is remarkably appropriate for today.
posted by markkraft at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2009


Has Lieberman sided with the Democrats on any significant issue since becoming an independent?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:35 AM on October 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


Even more remarkably appropriate
posted by DU at 8:36 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has Lieberman sided with the Democrats on any significant issue since becoming an independent?

Making him chair of Homeland Security.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


The public option is supported by like 63% of the population of CT, which is a very blue state. Nate Silver just did a post on this, where he basically argued that Lieberman is basically just after attention, who basically enjoys making democrats kowtow to him.

Ugh, what an egotistical jerk.

Another interesting point, this story from from a couple of days ago that indicated the Obama white house was actually pressuring Reid not to include the public option. It was also reported on the Huffington Post. Apparently the senate bill will include it (or at least the op-out version) from the outset, which is a huge victory for progressives over entrenched corporate interests.

Apparently the argument for not including the public option in the senate bill was that if Olympia Snow joined on it would give "Cover" to centrist dems who apparently need to hide behind Olympia's skirts to vote for anything.

What's the deal with the senate. Why are these idiots so cowardly and craven? The whole thing is just disgusting.
posted by delmoi at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank goodness they let him keep those committee chairmanships, otherwise he might've thrown a tantrum and screwed up health care reform for the entire country.
posted by mullingitover at 8:38 AM on October 28, 2009 [18 favorites]


Liberman is a shill. Always has been.
posted by Balisong at 8:40 AM on October 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Apparently the senate bill will include it (or at least the op-out version) from the outset, which is a huge victory for progressives over entrenched corporate interests.

Opt-out is a distraction to keep people from talking about the fact that only 10% of the population will be eligible from the Senate version. Which makes it a big victory, but hardly big enough.

But agreed on the cowardly and craven. It's good policy, good politics and popular. WTF is taking so long?!
posted by DU at 8:41 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


For too long, the Democratic leadership in the Senate has seemed
unconcerned with enforcing caucus discipline. So much so, that
crap like this, from "Independent" Joe, goes unchallenged. Joe can just
kick the so-called "supermajority" under the bus repeatedly.

Yet another grandstanding defection, from a Senator who is clearly not
on the side of the people of his state, or of the nation. He must
understand that this is grounds for losing all committee leadership.

Just wait, though. Reid won't do anything about this. Over and
over we've seen the Senate leadership crawl and grovel and give up
everything in the name of a phony and useless "bipartisanship."
posted by rusty at 8:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [44 favorites]


November 19, 2008: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said the decision [to allow Lieberman to keep his committee chairmanship and remain in the Democratic caucus] was "less about retribution and more about reconciliation and atonement. And there was some atonement." Asked whether Lieberman had pledged to show party loyalty in the future, Nelson said, "In effect he did, yes."
posted by brain_drain at 8:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Though he narrowly defeated Lieberman for the Democratic Party's nomination, Lamont lost the general election by 10 points after Lieberman continued running on a third-party ballot line.

I dislike Lieberman, but is there any reason to believe that Ned Lamont would not lose again in a hypothetical rematch?
posted by blucevalo at 8:43 AM on October 28, 2009


I think now is the time to float the "Nader/Lieberman 2012" campaign idea.

Nader/Lieberman — this is why we can't have nice things
posted by adipocere at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


Rusty - I see what you did there, and I should like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by kcds at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2009


Joe won aws independent through votes by lots of Dems and many more Republicans. Dems are now fullty aware of what Joe really is and he would lose to a Dem in the next election.

Many people know that the Hartford (home of many insurance companies) funds Joe's campaigns, but few know that Joe's wife is a full-blown (ho ho) lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.
posted by Postroad at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Balisong's link is more interesting than Ned Lamont.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2009


When I hear talk of cloture, that's when I reach for my revolver.
posted by mpbx at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Why has the word "dither" become so important to everyone in the past few days? It makes me just as angry as "flip-flop". Can't politicians get a few fucking moments to think about their decisions before they make them without being called out as a big flaming homo on the national media?

Lieberman is still a chump, though.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2009


Connecticut already has a public option, provided by the Republican governor. It seems to be working well.

Is Lieberman willing to tell his constituents why they should have to pay skyrocketing private rates? If not, is he willing to explain to Americans from other states why they don't deserve the same affordable healthcare, and why he is willing to overrule the majority of senators to make sure they don't?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2009


The issue is whether Leiberman will vote against allowing the bill to make it to the Senate floor, which needs 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, thus making every single Democrat important or whether he'll vote against the final bill, which only needs a simple majority to prevail.

Nate Silver's post on the subject is pretty good, as he much nails Leiberman with this comment: "...it's tough to bargain with people like Lieberman who are a little crazy"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:55 AM on October 28, 2009


"I dislike Lieberman, but is there any reason to believe that Ned Lamont would not lose again in a hypothetical rematch?"

Yes, there is.
His poll numbers have been dropping into record lows since 2008. That, and a large reason Lieberman won was because numerous big-name Democrats campaigned for him, and Lamont's campaign was rather late in picking up steam.

If Lieberman kills the only shot for real healthcare reform that the Democrats get, he's going to be in the doghouse, big time.
posted by markkraft at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2009


>: But agreed on the cowardly and craven. It's good policy, good politics and popular. WTF is taking so long?!

I've thought for a while that most of these guys have some sort of wrongdoing in their past that could suddenly be 'found' were they to stop playing ball.

We need an extra-senatorial opposition.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:59 AM on October 28, 2009


Brandon, my impression is that there's a final cloture vote too, after the debate has happened, but before final passage. From Nate:
But if, on the other hand, Lieberman filibusters the vote for final passage, that will have come after weeks of floor debate, amendments, and compromising on all sorts of issues. This would be a very, very serious blow to health care reform. And it makes this a much more expensive bluff to call.
posted by condour75 at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2009


"Lieberman's objections don't make any sense. He says he's worried about blunting 'the economic recovery we’re in' even though the public option provisions wouldn't kick in until 2013. He says he's worried about debt-reduction when the public option would make the bill more deficit-neutral. And he campaigned on a public-option type alternative called 'MediChoice' in 2006."

"Joe Lieberman is threatening to derail this whole thing — maybe STILL for revenge over his 2006 primary loss, but more likely just for basic corporate campaign donations — over a lie. The public option would not be a government-funded entitlement for free health care; it would be a self-sufficient program financed by premiums. He knows this, what with it being super easy to understand and all."

"Connecticut voters support 64 - 30 percent giving people the option to buy health insurance from a government plan."

posted by Rhaomi at 9:05 AM on October 28, 2009


Clearly... Connecticut needs more ninjas!
posted by markkraft at 9:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back when he was in the CT State Legislature, Joe Lieberman had a nickname among the rest of Democrats. It was "the snake." Dude is pretty much the embodiment of every single negative stereotype about Jews and people from Connecticut, and I wish him nothing but ill.
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, is Holy Joe ready for the busloads of Healthcare for America Now and similar group protesters, conveniently freed up by layoffs and nice and angry because of lack of healthcare, who are even now planning to gather wherever he shows his treacherous face?

I hope he doesn't have a moment's peace from now on. I hope he is booed wherever he appears and pelted with rotten fruit and flooded with angry calls, emails and letters 24/7. I suspect plans for all of these (well maybe not the fruit) are well underway.

Of course, some more immediate consequences from his Senate colleagues would be even more effective, but I dare not hope for such.
posted by emjaybee at 9:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe Lieberman... Deal or No Deal?! (SLYT) A campaign ad for Ned Lamont has suddenly become very relevant

I really wish that earnest liberal activists would understand how to keep their "funny videos" to 60 seconds or less.

But, yeah, that final scene: prophetic.
posted by deanc at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2009


BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
posted by Damn That Television at 9:20 AM on October 28, 2009


Droopy Dog needs to buzz out of US politics altogether.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2009


If Lieberman kills the only shot for real healthcare reform that the Democrats get, he's going to be in the doghouse, big time.

Lieberman knows that he will never be reelected. He knew that when he squeaked in last time. There are very few effective threats against him--he might well just resign, become a lobbyist, and let Jodi Rell pick a Republican to replace him.

I'm going to throw the biggest fucking party the day he dies.
posted by Epenthesis at 9:29 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Attention whore, or bought and paid for by insurance companies, or both? What a lovely guy.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on October 28, 2009


Lieberman has not been a friend to the Democrats in a very long time. He helped kill Clinton's health bill. He rallied votes for the Iraq war. He refused to vote against the use of torture. He endorsed McCain for president, for fuck's sake. The time has come to pull off the gloves, strip him of his chairmanships, and call him out for the self-important pig he is.

That said, I think we've hit the tipping point where a good bit of the anti-reform rhetoric being thrown around is brinksmanship. What these blowhards say now and how they vote in front of an electorate that desperately and overwhelmingly wants reform may very well be two different things. (I believe Reid's strategy of including a public option in the Senate bill is based on this idea, too.)

Regardless of how it turns out, Holy Joe has got to be smacked down.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:32 AM on October 28, 2009


can they just trade all his chairs to olympia for a party switch and cloture vote?
posted by condour75 at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


I always add the phrase "Al Gore's Worse Decision" whenever I read Lieberman's name. He's such a petty and petulant little dick.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:45 AM on October 28, 2009


this story from from a couple of days ago that indicated the Obama white house was actually pressuring Reid not to include the public option. It was also reported on the Huffington Post. Apparently the senate bill will include it (or at least the op-out version) from the outset, which is a huge victory for progressives over entrenched corporate interests.

Please get your facts right. Start by reading the articles you link to and understanding the debate and its terms. The Obama White House was not pushing against the public option. It let Reid know that it thought that the "trigger" public option was best for the Senate bill because it meant Snowe was certain to vote for it. She was certain to vote for it because she announced that she was going to introduce a trigger public option amendment to the bill. The trigger provision is designed to start the public option if and when premiums continue to rise.

To give a little bit more context and to make it clear for everyone, there are several different flavors of the public option--straight, cooperative plans, opt-in, and opt-out. Straight is a government-run insurance program. Cooperative is a non-profit plan, not run by the government but a cooperative. Opt-in allows individual states to pass a law in that state allowing them to participate in the program. Opt-out requires states to pass a law stating they will not be in the program at the outset.

More importantly, the Senate bill is not the final bill.

I've said it over and over again. The final bill is the bill that leaves the conference committee where the two houses meld their bill into one. With the House expected to have some sort of straight public option in the bill, opt-out, opt-in, whatever, it is going to be merged with the Senate bill. All indications are that the plan is to load the conference committee on the Senate side with very loyal Dem senators who will nudge their bill towards the House bill. Thus, the final bill going to both houses for a final vote will be likely stronger on the public option than the Senate bill is originally. Once it gets out of conference, every dem will vote for it, because of the deep fear that each and every one of them will be tossed out of office if they don't get the job done. Because Blanche Lincoln might survive if health reform does have a public option. If no health care gets passed because she does not vote for cloture, she's out for sure. The key is just to get a bill on to conference committee with some sort of public option provision in it.

Having said that, Lieberman sucks. period.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:45 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Question, Ironmouth -- does the merged bill need to go through another cloture process? If it does, is there any reason why Lieberman wouldn't threaten the whole thing at that point, if a public option is still on board?
posted by condour75 at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2009


He's from Connecticut, home to a large number of insurers.
posted by caddis at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Question, Ironmouth -- does the merged bill need to go through another cloture process?

Because the Republicans will filibuster it again.

If it does, is there any reason why Lieberman wouldn't threaten the whole thing at that point, if a public option is still on board?

That's actually the threat he's making. He's not threatening to filibuster the initial introduction of the bill for debate. He's threatening to filibuster the final vote if it sill has a public option in it.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2009


Question, Ironmouth -- does the merged bill need to go through another cloture process? If it does, is there any reason why Lieberman wouldn't threaten the whole thing at that point, if a public option is still on board?

Excellent question. The answer is yes maybe. There are two primary processes through which a bill can get through the Senate. The main process allows for a filibuster. However, a second process, reconcilation, requires only 51 votes. Reconcilation is supposed to involve budget items, which this is. However, there are PR penalties for going it alone. You look bad and the other party is more able to use it against you in elections.

In terms of the conference committee report, as it is called, it can be filibustered. However, there are a lot of reasons to think it won't be. First, every dem needs health care reform. They all do. If it doesn't get through, they expect to be knocked out by the voters--it happened in 1994. Before that happened, the Dems had controlled Congress with a few exceptions since 1933, and fully since the mid-1950's. They underestimated the ability to lose. Now, they damn well know that they have to get a bill through.

Having said that, Lieberman will vote for cloture on what comes out of the conference committee. Otherwise, why announce now? Why not sabotage when it really counts? He's just making noise to get the trigger, which is likely to be what comes out of the Senate anyway. Reid played it smart--asked for a strong bill and will compromise down to something that was going to happen anyway. He moved the goalposts on them, ensuring that some form of public option will be in the final bill.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's actually the threat he's making. He's not threatening to filibuster the initial introduction of the bill for debate. He's threatening to filibuster the final vote if it sill has a public option in it.

On the original Senate bill. Not on the conference report, the final merged bill. These points are important.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2009


Why has the word "dither" become so important to everyone in the past few days?

I like to think it's because the people using it are intentionally as a dig on multiple levels. Yes, Lieberman is dithering, as in wavering back and forth between two positions. However, he's also dithering, as in adding random noise to the signal.

Personally, I find the 2nd definition to be much more descriptive of Lieberman than the first.
posted by god hates math at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Imagine that. The senator wants to protect an important constituency and its employees from "competition" from an armed monopoly with infinitely deep pockets and practically no consequences for running deep losses year after year.

That's politics, baby.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand something about the politics of the health care fight. I get that if the democrats get any form of significant reform through, then they get a huge political victory and the next time they push something they've got more clout. If the republicans manage to kill reform, then they weaken Obama and they split the democrats. So if the republicans win they get a big tactical victory.

What I don't get is how being known as the party that stopped health care reform can possibly be a plus in the long term. Some people can't change jobs because they don't want to give up their coverage. Some people can't get coverage at all. It's possible that if we get reform health care costs are going to continue to go up. It's definite that without reform costs are going to go up. Four years down the road when people have less access to more expensive treatment what good will it do the republicans to be known as the party that stopped reform?

Clinton was very damaged by the defeat of his health care plan. If Obama loses I don't see him being nearly as hurt. He'd be pushed to the middle by defeat and that's where he does the most damage to the republicans.
posted by rdr at 10:32 AM on October 28, 2009


Let him filibuster. We can wait. Leave him up there for days if need be. Maybe he'll have a heart attack or faint from sleep deprivation or hunger. What better fitting end to a filibuster against government healthcare is there than being rushed to a hospital on the taxpayer's dime?

Time the Dems got some steel nerves. Giving up your weekend to sit in your chair is worth it for health care reform. We'll see if any of those wusses have the stomach for the coming storm.
posted by jock@law at 10:32 AM on October 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't understand something about the politics of the health care fight. I get that if the democrats get any form of significant reform through, then they get a huge political victory and the next time they push something they've got more clout. If the republicans manage to kill reform, then they weaken Obama and they split the democrats. So if the republicans win they get a big tactical victory.

It also allows that whole "Obama hasn't doen anything" meme to go crazy, strengthing the unicorn type, who are just as willing to tear the party apart as Lieberman is.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2009


(Not a Lieberman fan, BTW.)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:38 AM on October 28, 2009


I have to say I am impressed with Reid. It is clear that he came out with the opt out public option without consulting Lieberman or any of the other conservative Dems. Not sure if it was the best idea in the world, but it took balls I didn't know he had.

He is basically daring Lieberman to switch parties, because there is no way he is staying a dem if he kills the healthcare bill. And not just that, but switch to a party so unpopular that Dick Armey, former Republican House Majority Leader, is actively campaining for a third party candidate along with the majority of the right wing base.

It almost seems like a smart move from Reid. The only problem is that Lieberman might just choose the easy way out, not run for reelection and hope on the lobbiest gravy train. Betting healthcare reform on hoping that Lieberman's narcissism is too great to let himself become the most hated man in america is damn risky, but like I said, it's a lot more than I ever expected from Reid.
posted by afu at 10:40 AM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


can they just trade all his chairs to olympia for a party switch and cloture vote?

omg that would rule SO MUCH
posted by DU at 10:40 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Betting healthcare reform on hoping that Lieberman's narcissism is too great to let himself become the most hated man in america is damn risky...

Reconciliation.
posted by DU at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2009


does the merged bill need to go through another cloture process?

Yes, most conference reports can be filibustered and so one would want to invoke cloture on them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on October 28, 2009


ZenMasterThis: "Imagine that. The senator wants to protect an important constituency and its employees from "competition" from an armed monopoly with infinitely deep pockets and practically no consequences for running deep losses year after year."

The Congressional Budget Office debunked this talking point months ago:

Private Insurance, Government Plan Can Coexist
posted by Rhaomi at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other D.C. whore news Alan Grayson (the "Die Quickly" guy) Apologized to an Advisor to Ben Bernanke and former lobbiest. For calling her a K Street Whore. (related). He actually made the comment over a month ago, but it's only surfaced due to his new notoriety.

(Also apparently K Street is where DC's actual whores hang out, too)
posted by delmoi at 10:47 AM on October 28, 2009


Technically are the lobbyists not the inbetween men between those that get paid (Leiberman et al) and their Johns (insurance companies), making them pimps?
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on October 28, 2009


The man gives independents a bad name.
posted by brundlefly at 11:01 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Congressional Budget Office debunked this talking point months ago

Riiiiight. 'Cause history has proven massive government programs to be self-limiting (see also: Social Security, Pentagon).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:04 AM on October 28, 2009


I think this honestly hurts Lieberman more than it does healthcare reform. Chances are that his constituents will all freak out at him (from both sides), Ried will threaten to take his chair, fact checkers and the Daily Show will make fun of him and he'll just kind of slink back to "I'll probably vote yes."

And if he does stand by his decision, let him filibuster. He'll be the public icon of the politics of "NO," and go down in history as the person who stood up for big healthcare. The history books would probably have gone with Glenn Beck or Dick Armey otherwise.

Also, maybe the DNC will sue him for trademark infringement for running as an "Independent Democrat." They probably won't win, though. An idiot in a hurry will take him to be a Republican rather than an independent or Democrat.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:08 AM on October 28, 2009


Let him filibuster. We can wait. Leave him up there for days if need be. Maybe he'll have a heart attack or faint from sleep deprivation or hunger. What better fitting end to a filibuster against government healthcare is there than being rushed to a hospital on the taxpayer's dime?

You don't have to talk out a filibuster anymore. So it ain't gonna happen.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2009


Hell, Liebermann sucked when he was Alf's co-star. Why anyone ever thought he'd make a good senator is a mystery.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2009


You don't have to talk out a filibuster anymore. So it ain't gonna happen.

I'm really curious about this. Isn't there an method of Reid forcing an actual filibuster (i.e. holding the floor) without attempting to get completely around the filibuster through the constitutional / nuclear option?

I want to see the bastards forced to stand up there on CSPAN and have their say, even if all they can manage is reading from the Bible.
posted by ecurtz at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2009


I'm starting to get the feeling that many people who call themselves independents these days are actually de facto Republicans who want to sound like they're above the fray, and also want to let Republican scandals not count as their party's problem.

Consider how Glenn Beck repeatedly insisted that the 9/12 rallies and tea parties weren't about the Democrats or Republicans, but instead "tyranny" and "big government." It was obvious he intended to oppose Democrats, but he wanted to sound smarter than your typical partisan hack. O'Reilly also calls himself an independent, even though he very rarely takes the liberal view on an issue. Lately, the ACORN kid has been calling himself a "Progressive Radical," which sounds a bit like the neocons and libertarians on Youtube and Free Republic who call themselves "classical liberals." Never mind that he targets ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and Catholic priests who are okay with homosexuals. That strikes me as pretty hardcore social conservatism.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:30 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


ZenMasterThis: "Riiiiight. 'Cause history has proven massive government programs to be self-limiting (see also: Social Security, Pentagon)."

The issue wasn't whether the public option will overspend itself (which is debatable, since the latest indications are that it will reduce the deficit) but whether the public option will drive private insurers out of business.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:43 AM on October 28, 2009


I think mccarty.tim is right about how this will play out. Reid is certainly not worried, as his initial comment has made clear.
posted by bearwife at 11:45 AM on October 28, 2009


I'm starting to get the feeling that many people who call themselves independents these days are actually de facto Republicans who want to sound like they're above the fray

They always have been. "Independent" in America is a code word that means "somewhere toward the right end of the Republican spectrum, and also TOO GODDAMN BALLSY to identify as belonging to anything as pussified as an organized political party."

There are a few notable exceptions -- Bernie Sanders (who identifies as a Socialist anyway) and former Maine governor Angus King (more or less a centrist). But they are very much exceptions.
posted by rusty at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2009


on a bit of a lighter note: I go to a diner in New Haven. Joe had for many years made his home in that city. The diner had a big photograph, signed by Joe close to the door and the cash register. I would always made snarling remarks about Jo9e and the photo to the owner. The owner told me Joe sometimes stopped in for a bite.

One day I noticed that the photo had been taken down. i asked the owner why that was. He told me he had just read in the local paper that Joe was moving to another (and much much wealthier) city and would not be stopping at the diner any longer.

Now if only the Dems could dismiss that slug as rapidly.
posted by Postroad at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2009


I'm really curious about this. Isn't there an method of Reid forcing an actual filibuster (i.e. holding the floor) without attempting to get completely around the filibuster through the constitutional / nuclear option?

They'd have to change the senate rules.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:18 PM on October 28, 2009


I always add the phrase "Al Gore's Worse Decision" whenever I read Lieberman's name. He's such a petty and petulant little dick.

Yes, how could this guy have been a bad choice in 2000? BLAME NADER!
posted by rodgerd at 1:21 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is that literally literally? Or figuratively literally?
A literal hamburgling.
posted by Liver at 1:50 PM on October 28, 2009


[comments removed. stop with the lulz assfucking or go right to metatalk, not okay here.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Postroad: Now if only the Dems could dismiss that slug as rapidly.

Lieberman the slug (rather than snake). Spineless, and leaves behind him a trail of slime.
posted by hangashore at 2:21 PM on October 28, 2009


How do congresspeople justify making an issue out of keeping private insurers in business? They're the ones that broke the system to begin with! And if they can't compete with a public option run at cost, then what can they compete with?

To use a medical analogy (as seems to be popular for these debates): It's like a drug company refusing to do a double-blind clinical trial because they're afraid the placebo effect will make their pill look bad.

The whole reason we've kept around the private medical system is because we've been taught since school that the free market does things better than a public system, and that given equal amounts of resources, a private system will outperform a public option run at cost, because of the innovation and incentive that a profit-driven company has.

They have no faith in their own economic theory. Or maybe they're just afraid to do anything that will vaguely trustbust the massive HMOs.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:37 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


mccarty.tim: "They have no faith in their own economic theory. Or maybe they're just afraid to do anything that will vaguely trustbust the massive HMOs."

The going argument (as ZenMasterThis demonstrated) is that the public option will be horribly inefficient but will stagger on, zombie-like, based on government subsidies and/or tax hikes, which will both skyrocket the deficit/impoverish Americans and force private insurers -- unable to compete with the government's "infinitely deep" pockets -- out of business.

It's all bullshit, of course -- the public option will slim the deficit by billions of dollars over time and will be too small to destroy the big insurance corps. But that's the argument.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:56 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is why we have the 2nd Amendment. The blood of tyrants and all.
posted by Eideteker at 3:15 PM on October 28, 2009


They call him Traitor Joe for a reason.

The man has absolutely no moral center. I remember him sanctimoniously coming out as the first elected Democrat to publicly attack Bill Clinton for his moral failings during the Lewinsky brouhaha. He pronounced his superior morality and right to speak on behalf of the righteous in his usual smarmy way.

A lot of water under that bridge. He cost Gore 2000, I am sure of it. I personally think he helped throw it to the Republicans with his anal retentive performance in the VP debate. He supported the war. Now he opposes health care. That's a lot of dead bodies on your hands, Mr. "oooh, noo, I never work on the Sabbath" MoralityOh and in between he backed John McCain and talked ugly shit about Barack Obama.

I never liked him, ever. I despise him now. He's not even a man. He's a sponge in search of a bathtub.

Fuck you, Lieberman. We'll make you pay yet with the public disgracing you deserve.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:18 PM on October 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Take away Lieberman's chairs, and promise to let him have one back next Congress...if he's good. That should keep him in line. Letting him keep his spoils while he stabs the country in the back just encourages him.

I first learned to hate Lieberman during the VP debate, when he and Cheney had a good laugh over Cheney's quip that he hadn't made his money off of the government. It was pretty funny (if you knew the truth), but a political debate is not meant to be a place where insiders make jokes with each other at the expense of the booboisie.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:03 PM on October 28, 2009


Has Lieberman sided with the Democrats on any significant issue since becoming an independent?
Yes. In the 110th and 111th Congresses, has voted in agreement with the ACLU's recommendations on about 37% of the votes that they tracked.

The average Democratic Senator is way higher than that (something like eighty percent) but the average Republican Senator is way lower (something like 16%).

With that said: Dammit, Connecticut.
posted by Flunkie at 4:25 PM on October 28, 2009


I'm starting to get the feeling that many people who call themselves independents these days are actually de facto Republicans who want to sound like they're above the fray

They always have been. "Independent" in America is a code word that means "somewhere toward the right end of the Republican spectrum, and also TOO GODDAMN BALLSY to identify as belonging to anything as pussified as an organized political party."
I don't think you're correct.

I consider myself to be more liberal than the vast majority of Democratic politicians. I typically vote Democratic, straight, unless I'm confident that it's going to be a landslide, in which case I might vote for a Green or something. But I was an independent until very recently (I wanted to vote for Obama over Clinton in the primary, so I registered as a Democrat). I never -- never -- vote Republican, not for any office at all, ever.

I personally know several other people who are this same way. In fact, everyone I know personally whose political party affiliation (or lack thereof) I explicitly know is this same way.
posted by Flunkie at 4:40 PM on October 28, 2009


I absolutely detest Joe Lieberman. He's a caricature of a politician: vain, greedy, two-faced. People will bitch and moan about Nader ruining the election for Gore in 2000, but I called it back then--Lieberman lost the election for Gore. Even then I thought he was a DINO, and couldn't understand why Gore picked him.

The only fitting thing for Lieberman is a scandal, a tearful resignation press conference, the resulting trial and lifelong imprisonment.

Yeah, I dislike him that much.
posted by zardoz at 5:08 PM on October 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


I didn't mean every independent was to the far right. I was just guessing maybe that's why the recent poll said only 20% of people considered themselves Republicans.

Politically, I'm probably most in lines with the Greens, but I'm a pragmatist, so I vote Democrat unless it's going to be a massive landslide.

It's just kind of annoying that people call themselves "independents" when their ideologies are decidedly Republican or Democratic. It doesn't really put them above the fray, and it just seems a bit pretentious. Saying you're a Republican or a Democrat does not mean you'll always vote for the candidate of that party.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:09 PM on October 28, 2009


Well, that same poll says that only thirty percent consider themselves Democrats. So I don't really understand why you so strongly said that independents were really Republicans, and in fact farther-right-than-the-average-Republican strain of Republicans. I flatly assure you that I am not farther to the right than the average Republican.

Now you've changed your tune; it's now "annoying" that people call themselves independents when you think they're Republicans or Democrats. OK. Well, I'm sorry to annoy you, but frankly, I think you should get over it.

In any case, I'll let you know the reason that I was unaffiliated with the Democratic Party for so long: As I said, I am more liberal than they are. I don't feel that they represent me particularly well, generally speaking.

However, they represent me far better than the other realistic choice does -- I'm not particularly unhappy with the Democrats, whereas I think the Republican Party is a pox upon our nation -- and so I typically vote Democratic, straight. Why you think that simple fact means that I should call myself a Democrat so as to not "annoy" you, I don't know.
posted by Flunkie at 6:35 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


a private system will outperform a public option run at cost, because of the innovation and incentive that a profit-driven company has.

Innovation and incentive have costs, which are then passed onto consumers, which is why, in a free market, only private competitors are included (there is no publicly funded competitor). One reason why private insurance companies fear a public option is that the government can always give service cheaper, because government doesn't have to turn a profit; it can just raise taxes. This is the most basic premise against publicly run anything. The government is inefficient, and isn't subject to competition, so therefore doesn't seek innovation (which lead to greater profitability).

A great example right now is Apple. If the government suddenly said it could produce Macs at cost and sell them to customers, Apple would go out of business. But the government isn't designed to innovate (create new, hit products on a regular basis). So even though we could all get Macs cheaper if we let the government sell them, we don't want that in the long run.

FWIW, I've got mixed feelings about this issue. But to suggest that "They have no faith in their own economic theory" is completely false. It's economic theory that tells them that the government, if successful, will put them all out of business, because the government doesn't pay for innovation; it only pays for stagnant services, at cost, and has unlimited amounts of cash (either through printing, or taxation). Even the government can be a monopoly at times. The term "monopoly" isn't meant solely for private institutions.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:02 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm also not saying that the government "can't" innovate. It absolutely can, as many speak about the VA medical system as an example. But the government isn't incentivized to innovate, as private organizations are, because the government doesn't have a profit motive. There's a big, big difference between increasing profitability and staying within budget.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:06 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wanted: Honesty on Health Care

Coverage Story

In Health Care, Nobody Knows Anything

Lying for Health Care Reform - LBJ's Example for Today's Democrats
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2009


"to suggest that "They have no faith in their own economic theory" is completely false. It's economic theory that tells them that the government, if successful, will put them all out of business"

We aren't going socialist. We most certainly aren't adopting government-run health care. There is a very clear difference between that and government-run health insurance.

Oh, and as for putting them all out of business, they and their theories are just flat-out wrong.
posted by markkraft at 7:38 PM on October 28, 2009


If the government suddenly said it could produce Macs at cost and sell them to customers, Apple would go out of business.

Similarly, if government suddenly said it could produce higher education cheaper, Harvard would go out of business.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:09 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before this turns into a whingefest, my words weren't meant to be taken literally. I was just showing that the insurance companies' protest to a public option is very much based on economic theory.

This is precisely what I was talking about.

And if you consider current banking action taken by the government, markkraft, we certainly are going socialist.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:16 PM on October 28, 2009


a private system will outperform a public option run at cost, because of the innovation and incentive that a profit-driven company has.

The only innovation that an insurance company is capable of is the more accurate calculation of risk and improved ability to market to and cherry pick the customers that are willing to pay lots of money in insurance premiums while consuming as little health care as possible. I fail to see how these sorts of innovations are so much more valuable.
posted by deanc at 8:27 PM on October 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Free market philosophy is irrelevant because most of the world market is already socialized. Every minute we're not pooling our buying power into the largest entity possible, we're subsidizing the healthcare systems of the rest of the world. Look at the cheap pharma costs in Canada ... If we had large enough buying pools to bargain like they do, our pharma would be much cheaper (and theirs, and everyone elses, would get jacked up a bit to compensate)

PO is not a silver bullet on this, but it's a step in the right direction if it can become big enough to negotiate good rates.
posted by condour75 at 9:05 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


One reason why private insurance companies fear a public option is that the government can always give service cheaper, because government doesn't have to turn a profit; it can just raise taxes.

It can raise taxes. It can't just raise taxes.

I buy the idea that a competitor that has arguably greater access to the public treasury is an intimidating prospect. But it seems to me this sometimes gets translated into the implication of an exclusive blank check, and this seems false to me. Any public enterprise competes for treasury dollars with other current and potential public enterprises. Increased taxes have political and economic consequences. The mechanisms underlying funding for public entities might be different, but they have limits.

(Not to mention that complaints from private organizations about the public institutions' access to tax dollars seem a bit wan these days.)

This is the most basic premise against publicly run anything. The government is inefficient, and isn't subject to competition, so therefore doesn't seek innovation

The insurance companies don't seem to be subject to any form of competition which yields effective service either. There can't be competition on service/satisfaction. There is no real aspect of consumer choice, here. By the time you really need their service, particularly for any illness that tends towards the chronic, if you don't like how they deal with you, you can't go anywhere else, no rational profit-driven actor is going to enter into a helpful agreement with you. You could argue reputation is still a factor, but when I see the MEGA/NASE/AAS hucksters -- who have been ripping people off through a decade, a few class action lawsuits, and regulatory fines in the tens of millions -- still out there selling, and consider the power of large marketing budgets, I don't find the idea that it has any kind of strong action credible (and that's just one of several fun aspects of the huge information asymmetry that exists between customers and insurers).

Meanwhile, the government may not be subject to financial competition, but in a representative democracy, there's always competition for office.
posted by weston at 9:07 PM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the government isn't incentivized to innovate, as private organizations are, because the government doesn't have a profit motive.

Nor are private organizations incentivized to do what's right for the health of our communities.

This is the most basic premise against publicly run anything. The government is inefficient, and isn't subject to competition, so therefore doesn't seek innovation

A titanic canard. Always stated, never once proven. There are plenty of things the government is better at doing. Police work--no danger of the security of the state in the hands of an actor with motives other than governmental. Justice. Never could a for profit company be able to solve the inherent ethical conflict between having an economic interest in profit and the selfless distribution of justice. Anyone whose ever selected an arbitrator out of a database for a big case knows this instinctively. National Defense must always be controlled by the government--should contractors be making operational decisions, their profit motive could cause them to sell out to an enemy. Its a basic issue. Only the state has the resources to ensure universal education, critical to recruiting our armies, staffing our businesses, and participating as fully as possible in the community.

These are huge areas of human endavor, many would say the greatest. And ensuring a healthy population ensures more people participating in society and the economy--in short--customers. Any economic interests oppose for short term gain only, for long-term benefits are really going to outstrip the short term costs. But such is the weakness of the joint-stock corporation--its short term stock price focus.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 PM on October 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


Lieberman is officially done. I expect he will waffle back when he gets the blowback. & BTW, good riddance snake.
posted by uni verse at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2009


I think it's time for Senator Lieberman to go proudly serve our country on an unarmed handshaking baby-kissing mission across Afghanistan to show our goodwill. I'm sure it would end well.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:15 PM on October 28, 2009


^@zardoz: The dead hooker/live boy functionaries have been put on notice.
They will do their best to comply with your request.
posted by vhsiv at 4:39 AM on October 29, 2009


There are market problems associated with healthcare. There's no doubt about that. And as I've already noted upthread, my argument wasn't meant to be a black and white refusal to accept government intervention as necessary at times. Social security is another government intervention, as is medicare, etc...

I get the feeling that people don't actually read what I write, but read what they think I believe, and argue it vociferously, as if creating a strawman will somehow convince me of my follied ways.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:02 AM on October 29, 2009


But the government isn't incentivized to innovate, as private organizations are, because the government doesn't have a profit motive.

There's a huge incentive to innovate: efficiencies in service mean lower costs to the government, which mean lower taxes to the people (were it government-run).

Unless that's not the innovation you're talking about. Perhaps you're talking about pharmaceuticals? Except public health care doesn't affect their ability to make a profit one whit. So you can't be talking about that.

Perhaps you're talking about new treatment methods? Except most of those come out of universities. Funded largely by… guess who? So you can't be talking about that.

I get the feeling that people don't actually read what I write

How about you explain what you mean a little better so we don't have to guess.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:30 AM on October 29, 2009


Maybe Lieberman is trying to win over the Republicans so he can change that I to an R. His own state may dump him, but perhaps Boehener will adopt him.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:12 AM on October 29, 2009


After reading FiveThirtyEight, it's my informed opinion that Mr. Lieberman is trollin'.

As Lieberman is a congressman, he will then become a lobbyist, a troll for money, as soon as his constituents vote him out. Consider that he has the public recognition and political connections that will get him some good cash.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:58 AM on October 29, 2009


Here's the thing. I want the insurance companies to go out of business. Every single one of them. Maybe that's mean, or vindictive, or whatever, but I'm pretty much past the point of caring.

Let me give you an example of the "innovation" those wonderful engines of entrepreneurship have come up with thanks to the wonders of the Glorious Free Market.

My wife is a high school teacher. Due to ever tighter budgets the school has switched insurance companies, and eliminated all choice of insurance program and company. Under the new (more expensive) insurance program she is prohibited from buying her medication in one month increments, and now must buy in 90 day increments.

This means that we are looking at paying a single, unexpected, lump of over $500 this month for the medicine my wife needs. Now that we know its coming, we can save $160 a month back and not be too badly off because of the evil of the insurance company, but the month it came into effect it was a serious financial hardship.

The only possible purpose of that sort of nastiness is to cut costs to the insurance company by making their victims, er, customers, give up medication because they can't afford to buy 90 days worth all at once.

So here's the deal, I don't care how much a public option would cost in tax dollars, it can't cost more than the insane wars we're waging. I not only don't care that this might harm private insurers, I hope it will, because as far as I'm concerned they're the enemy and I will support anything and everything that will bring their empires of death down.

Its quite simple really. No matter how bad the dread "Socialized Medicine" boogieman that the anti-reform people keep dragging out is it can not be worse that what we have now. What we have now is killing people, it is driving people into bankruptcy. Quite literally, anything will be better.

I don't care about nonsense talk about free markets, or how horrible Big Government is, or how we really need the wonderful "innovation" of the free market, or whether or not this might turn into a bigger program than it was originally intended, or any of that.

What we have is so horribly broken that it is completely impossible to imagine anything worse that isn't literally third world.
posted by sotonohito at 7:03 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Die for the rich,
without a hitch.
Because Joe Lieberman
is Big Insurance's bitch.

Don't be sore,
Joe's just a whore.
Dying is no fun,
but he has a campaign to run.
posted by Goofyy at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Innovation is a canard in any case. If you're rich, you can have bleeding edge medical care that will marginally increase your longevity or increase your comfort while you are alive. But all the new drugs, scanning technologies, and technological advances of the past 20 years have not saved or improved nearly as many lives as would have been the case had we provided an 1990s standard of care uniformly to all Americans without respect to income or pre-existing conditions (just to keep it US-centric -- frankly, if we could give the entire *world* uniform access to 1950s level medicine it would save millions of lives immediately). We know what kills the majority of Americans before their due allotment, and yet we have an unhealthy obsession with marginal extensions of that allotment (a few years at the end) rather than improving the quality of the five to seven decades that precede the last few years. In spite of this, we have crappy life expectancy numbers for a country as rich as we are, but the dirty secret is that they are class-stratified numbers. There are parts of America where the median life expectancy for a man is under 60 years -- Indian reservations, South Texas, and certain inner cities, for example.

Basic preventative care, nutritional improvement, immunization, environmental regulation, prenatal care, addiction care, exercise and fitness programs, infection control, control of weapons and violence, provision of meaningful employment, support for strong family structures, STD and reproductive health education and support at the community clinic level, pain management, mental health care, specific provision of services for diabetic and cardiovascular disease, and (in fact) dental care, applied liberally throughout life, help whole communities avoid catastrophic early deaths, enjoy more fulfilling lives, and live decently in their later years. These things help children grow up with good habits, rather than waiting until middle age (as so many Americans, myself included, do) to realize we're cumulatively mortal bodies with brains inside them. Providing them uniformly and at a low cost would drastically reduce the overall cost of health care in the US, and drastically improve the statistical and experiential measures of health for *the majority,* while the wealthy could still buy themselves a luxury death instead of a cheap one when they get cancer or heart disease or have a skiing accident.

The real innovation in medical care and public health would be coming to terms with this obvious fact that we are, as usual, misunderstanding the science of risk and projecting individual fears of death and pain in ways that distort (in interested, perspectival ways) the question: how do we make the most people have the healthiest lives for the lowest overall social cost? In the end, health is a resource, not a cost. Wealth isn't ever really private; it depends on a healthy economy and workforce and society to grow.

Sure, it will be great to cure specific cancers and we will always face new challenges and emergent infectious diseases, and this kind of innovation is happening and will continue to happen. There will always be incentives for extending the lives of the rich by a few years, on average and at the margin, as the robust state of European medical science (in "socialist" health care systems) indicates.

But for every one of us who will get cancer before we're 70, or need complex reconstructive surgery after an accident, or will benefit from some other high tech innovation in medicine that currently doesn't exist (a cure for Alzheimers' is high on my wish list, since it runs in my family on both sides, for example), hundreds more will have healthier, happier, and longer lives if we stop being so fucking selfish and think for once like members of a community, and indeed a species, living on a planet that itself is making us sick at a rate no amount of innovation in the for-profit labs of LaRoche or the bought-and-paid-for labs of NIH and universities can compensate for.

Giving every child a good education would be a real innovation in health care. Putting addiction treatment centers in every county would be innovation on a scale that would dwarf any developments in cancer medicine in the last decade in overall impact, and do so immediately.

Don't reify "innovation." And don't reduce "health" to "treatment of diseases."
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:25 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Reid played it smart--asked for a strong bill and will compromise down to something that was going to happen anyway

No, he did not. As Jon Stewart pointed out last night, you negotiate by starting big, like with single-payer. Public option was already the watered-down compromise. Now it's being watered down to the point where it may just be completely ineffective to do what it is narrowly intended to do, which is to bring down costs. Reid is smart, but they played a weak hand from the beginning, and I blame Obama just as much for it.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:12 AM on October 29, 2009


My wife is a high school teacher. Due to ever tighter budgets the school has switched insurance companies, and eliminated all choice of insurance program and company. Under the new (more expensive) insurance program she is prohibited from buying her medication in one month increments, and now must buy in 90 day increments.

Wow. I'm wondering how that works with Schedule II medications. I take a couple of those, and by law they won't let you have more than a 30 day supply with no refills permitted.

Fortunately, generics are an option, but last time I had my prescription filled two pharmacies were out of the generic (generic costs $20, the name brand costs $260), and one was completely out of one medication. Apparently this is becoming more of a problem as of late, and back orders are piling up. Not sure why ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:18 AM on October 29, 2009


Time the Dems got some steel nerves. Giving up your weekend to sit in your chair is worth it for health care reform. We'll see if any of those wusses have the stomach for the coming storm.

My understanding is that filibusters are more "virtual" these days, not requiring a continuous speech to prevent anyone taking the floor, like they used to do it. But am not sure about the specifics ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:24 AM on October 29, 2009


Krinklyfig: the specifics are that Reid thinks the time is better spent on other business, than sitting around while cave men go blah-blah-blah endlessly. There is some validity to that. However, for this Very Big Deal, he should make them do the blah-blah, so they can be seen as the idiots they are.
posted by Goofyy at 8:42 AM on October 29, 2009


In related news, the Tea Party activists jumped in and organized a tea party "flash mob" to protest Pelosi's introduction of her bill.

Ten people showed up.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2009


Krinklyfig: the specifics are that Reid thinks the time is better spent on other business, than sitting around while cave men go blah-blah-blah endlessly. There is some validity to that. However, for this Very Big Deal, he should make them do the blah-blah, so they can be seen as the idiots they are.

Krinklyfig is right, Goofyy is wrong. There is no requirement of continuous debate any longer. Harry Reid had nothing to do with it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2009


No, he did not. As Jon Stewart pointed out last night, you negotiate by starting big, like with single-payer.

You know, sometimes, Jon Stewart, funny as he is, is wrong. Just because there is someone on TV saying something does not make it right. If you've ever engaged in actual negotiations involving stuff you aren't personally involved in, you know that empty threats are counter-productive. And single-payer is the emptiest of threats in the Senate. You see, the Senate doesn't want single payer. Obama doesn't want single payer. Obama wanted this plan from the beginning. Any 'single payer' threat is ridiculous--there is no support for that.

But, of course, Jon Stewart knows this. He's fully aware of what is going on. But by getting people riled up like this, he's putting pressure on the Senators for the public option.

Reid can apparently do no right. He appears to be lukewarm on the public option, is loudly criticized for not 'having any balls' and then lo and fucking behold, the legislation has the public option in it.

And opt-out is politically brilliant. It forces 50 state legislatures to weigh in on the question. That's approximately 250 legislators a state, times 50, not including every state politician and everyone running for office. It prevents the GOP's entire bench from skirting the issue. Its a big extinctor asteroid, politically. I love it. Policy wise, I prefer the Pelosi plan, but as pure politics, Opt-out works great. Republicans have to actively say no to health care reform provisions in 50 states. All 50 states will, of course choose the public option.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 AM on October 29, 2009


Ten people showed up.

Fox News tonight: Tea Party Patriots came out today to protest Democrat Nanci Pelosi's government-run Obamacare health plan. Estimates put the size of the crowd near 20,000.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:21 AM on October 29, 2009


Krinklyfig is right, Goofyy is wrong. There is no requirement of continuous debate any longer. Harry Reid had nothing to do with it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this is the case. The "newer" filibuster is known as a procedural filibuster, and doesn't require a quorum or endless speaking. The Majority Leader can still require an old-school filibuster instead, but I believe the maximum time of the filibuster is limited now.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2009


Ironmouth From the Wikipedia article you linked:
In current practice, Senate Rule 22 permits filibusters in which actual continuous floor speeches are not required, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses.
So, why isn't Reid forcing those vile toads to actually get up and read the phone book? Instead he's looking weak by basically giving up the fight.

However, no argument that opt-out, if we can get it passed would be brilliant.

krinklyfig Presumably schedule II drugs are exempt from that rule.

As for generics, yup, they'd be great, and a few of the medications we get do have generic alternatives, but unfortunately not most of them.
posted by sotonohito at 9:45 AM on October 29, 2009


You know, sometimes, Jon Stewart, funny as he is, is wrong. Just because there is someone on TV saying something does not make it right

I didn't get this idea from Jon Stewart. I do happen to agree with him, however.

Reid can apparently do no right. He appears to be lukewarm on the public option, is loudly criticized for not 'having any balls' and then lo and fucking behold, the legislation has the public option in it.

Reid has negotiating ability but no spine, and I say this from his many years of caving on critical issues. I think he'd be better as a backroom kind of guy instead of the majority leader. He's never out front publically on any of this, and that's what the majority leader is supposed to do.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:20 AM on October 29, 2009


In current practice, Senate Rule 22 permits filibusters in which actual continuous floor speeches are not required, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses.

Well, if this is true, perhaps it will be deployed.

I've been as critical of Reid as the next guy. But he's done this one right. He kept his powder dry until very late in the game. That was huge, because it left less of an angle for attack. If Republicans attacked him, they risked alienating him. They know a bill is going to pass, and they want it as much as possible to be their way.

As for the idea that "single-payer" is a credible threat, that is just without justification. From the beginning Obama's plan has not been single payer. And there ain't anywhere near 50 votes in the Senate for single payer. Nor was their a bill offered by anyone with single payer in it that got out of committee. So how does Reid threaten anyone with it? Nobody in the Senate wants it. And you are never weaker when you make an idle threat which collapses.

Jon Stewart, nice guy that he is, is a comedian. He's not an expert on the Senate, or health care, or any of that. He is busy writing jokes for us to laugh at. He's the last guy to take political advice from. What's happened is that the incredible moral bankrucpcy of our TV news has shoved him into the forefront as the only guy saying the truth.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2009


As for the idea that "single-payer" is a credible threat, that is just without justification. From the beginning Obama's plan has not been single payer.

That doesn't matter. You start with something you know you're not going to get. If you start with something you know you're going to get, you'll get less in the end than even that.

And again about Jon Stewart, I was only remarking on it in an offhand way. If it helps keep the conversation on track, forget I said it, and substitute me instead. The substance of what I said is important to me, not this other stuff.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:33 PM on October 29, 2009


Jon Stewart, nice guy that he is, is a comedian. He's not an expert on the Senate, or health care, or any of that

BTW, are you an expert on the Senate, health care, or any of that? If not, what makes your opinion more important than anyone else's? If only experts have opinions worth considering, we really shouldn't even bother voting.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:36 PM on October 29, 2009


And, BTW, Obama doesn't have an actual plan, just guidelines. He left it to the House and Senate to craft a plan.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:37 PM on October 29, 2009


“Thus, the final bill going to both houses for a final vote will be likely stronger on the public option than the Senate bill is originally.”

I like watching Obama make moves from a greater distance. All this reminds me of the Bashki film “Wizards.” *spoilers *

Kinda cute. There are these two wizards one good one evil. They’re brothers. The movie is long and pretty 70’s ish but it goes through all this convoluted stuff, little character plays, and towards the end it looks as though there’s going to be a massive wizard battle between the two brothers. The good brother says “I’m going to show you a trick mom taught me when you weren’t around” and the evil brother looks ready for any magical power the guy can throw at him. Whereupon the good wizard whips a gun out from under his sleeve and shoots him.

I suspect this will be similar.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:52 PM on October 29, 2009


That doesn't matter. You start with something you know you're not going to get. If you start with something you know you're going to get, you'll get less in the end than even that.

BTW, are you an expert on the Senate, health care, or any of that? If not, what makes your opinion more important than anyone else's? If only experts have opinions worth considering, we really shouldn't even bother voting.

No. I'm a litigator who negotiates settlements all the time. My experience has been that you do best in negotiating when your first offer is at the very upper end of realism. If you know that you can't really get that, you aren't helping your position at all, because everybody knows what you can get in reality. And the GOP is fully aware that there is no way that single-payer is on the table. There aren't the votes for it. The blueprint Obama brought foward had nothing to do with single-payer.

Seriously, if you think that it would fly to extinct the insurance companies with a stroke, you are mad. First, it would be considered a taking under the constitution. It is unconstitutional to just wipe out an entire market like that. The insurance companies have an economic interest in the insurance policies they write. Said interest cannot be divested without due process of law.

Not only that, it would result in the total extinction of major U.S. companies with a net worth in the near trillions. Much of the securities issued by these insurance companies issue (stocks) is owned by large instututional investors--pension funds, cities, counties, individuals. You are just going to wipe out their investments? Think of the consequences. Imposing single-payer isn't going to work.

Let's take the example of the first true single-payer system, Germany's, which was erected in 1883 by Bismarck. Prior to that there was little to no insurance for the vast majority of the German population. There were no insurance companies and insurance company shareholders to worry about.

What you propose, wonderful as it may be, is a non-starter. Mr. Stewart may not have thought out all of the possiblities, but he is a TV personality. It is not a realistic assesment of the political realities.

As for my knowledge of the Senate, apart from the constitutional issues you learn about in con law and through practice, I live in D.C., and am close friends with a number of senior senate staffers. They all know the story. We've had discussions about this over a period of years and it just isn't realistic on many, many levels. Not to mention that Bush's massive overspending left our treasury drained.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:46 PM on October 29, 2009


If you are interested in the specifics of Obama's plan, I suggest you look here.

It is obvious that no single-payer plan is envisioned, especially when you take into account that large employers be mandated to provide coverage. It has never been on the table. and Obama campaigned against single-payer, which Hillary wanted.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:50 PM on October 29, 2009


You start with something you know you're not going to get. If you start with something you know you're going to get, you'll get less in the end than even that.

That only works if preferences are fully private information. In a domestic political setting involving actors who have long histories of votes, statements, and other easily locatable information, they rarely are.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:51 PM on October 29, 2009


That only works if preferences are fully private information. In a domestic political setting involving actors who have long histories of votes, statements, and other easily locatable information, they rarely are.

what that guy said!
posted by Ironmouth at 3:01 PM on October 29, 2009


Obama campaigned against single-payer, which Hillary wanted.

Not true.

"You know, I have thought about this, as you might guess, for 15 years and I never seriously considered a single payer system."
posted by afu at 12:43 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if you think that it would fly to extinct the insurance companies with a stroke, you are mad. First, it would be considered a taking under the constitution. It is unconstitutional to just wipe out an entire market like that.

Where is this in the Constitution? Seriously.
posted by afu at 12:45 AM on October 30, 2009


Single payer wouldn't extinct the health insurance industry.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:35 AM on October 30, 2009


Seriously, if you think that it would fly to extinct the insurance companies with a stroke, you are mad. First, it would be considered a taking under the constitution. It is unconstitutional to just wipe out an entire market like that. The insurance companies have an economic interest in the insurance policies they write. Said interest cannot be divested without due process of law.

That is crazy talk, especially from a lawyer. It's doubtful whether the insurer's have a sufficient property interest to be protected. What is the thing that is taken? I understand that there are people out there who would turn anything into property if that meant thwarting government control, but this seems a bit too far out. Perhaps there is a case on point where a government regulation banning the sale of a product was considered a taking. If so I would love to see it.

Moreover, the government would not take this imaginary property, they would not prevent the insurers from selling insurance, but rather the government would offer for free a competing service. Anyway, any single payer system would probably involve the insurance companies and even a British style system would provide many options for supplemental insurance.
posted by caddis at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2009


« Older Becky Blanton spent a year in her van...   |   Wired profiles pediatrician Pa... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments