Lieberman is All Bark and No Bite
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:21:34 AM EDT
Earlier this week, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman did his darndest to get headlines by hinting at opposition to healthcare reform. Turns out -- and this is little surprise -- Lieberman was just blowing hot air.
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., whose vote could be crucial to breaking an expected GOP filibuster on health care legislation, Thursday said he would consider voting to move the bill forward, even if he ultimately casts his ballot against the reform package.
It was pretty clear that what Lieberman was looking for was attention rather than any meaningful changes to healthcare reform legislation. At this point, Lieberman doesn't have much leverage over his Democratic colleagues, whose support he relies upon (along with that of the President) to maintain his chairmanship and seniority; were he to actually to be the one member of the Senate Democratic caucus to vote to sink healthcare reform, it's difficult to fathom him not being stripped of his power, so he does not represent nearly as credible of a threat as he would have us believe. As a result, Lieberman has had to walk back his weak threat, conceding that he could very well vote for cloture even if he votes against the ultimate bill -- a position that would likely be palatable to (even if not loved by) those Democrats now allowing him the privileges of seniority.