Monday, October 16, 2017

The Man Behind The Curtain

As convention calls for, we call him "Mr. President."  His victory in the presidential race was impressive and despite a questionable performance as Chief Executive, he is due the respect his office commends.

I am talking of course about President Barack Obama. Someone should.

Appointed to the Democratic National Committee's Unity Commission as one of Bernie Sanders' representatives, activist Nomiki Konst tweets "Imagine a world where fall-in-love Dems hated former Dem VP nominee @Joe Lieberman as much as they hate progressive caucus members @SenSanders."

Senator Lieberman became unpopular among Democratic voters in Connecticut for continually and steadfastly supporting the Iraq War, and lost the Democratic primary for Senator in 2006. He then ran as an Independent, was supported by national Republicans and such conservatives as Rush Limbaugh, and easily won re-election.

Lieberman, who endorsed McCain-Palin in 2006 and was an opponent of the public option for health care, retired after that term.  However, he later appeared on the short list of the incoming Trump administration as a candidate for director of the FBI.

There was an uproar among congressional Democrats, and Lieberman obviously never was nominated. Understandably, then, Charlie Pierce had a point when in response to Konst's remark he snarked "Memer of Unity Commission Apparently Not Conscious For 15 years."

However, he missed another point, which may or may not have been in Konst's head. So did the individual who tweeted "Yeah, Dems 'loved' him for killing the Medicare buy in for ACA, oh man was he praised for that." One wonders how he was allowed to kill the Medicare buy-in.  The Guardian understood when it explained in 2009 that then-Senator Lieberman was

plumbing new depths of betrayal by using his deciding vote as an independent member of the Senate to hold hostage Barack Obama's reform of America's dysfunctional healthcare system.

Obama, desperate to ensure that the reform bid does not fail, has told congressional leaders to rewrite the legislation to keep Lieberman happy by removing any real competition to private insurance companies in an effort to get it passed by Christmas.

Lieberman's tactics have upset Democratic party members of Congress who are asking why a popular president's agenda is being stalled by a senator who has repeatedly turned his back on his old party. "I have no idea what Senator Lieberman's agenda is," said a Connecticut member of Congress, Chris Murphy. "I have stopped trying to be Sherlock Holmes."

Another member of Congress from Lieberman's home state, Rosa DeLauro, told Politico website: "No individual should hold healthcare hostage, including Joe Lieberman, and I'll say it flat out: I think he ought to be recalled."

Lieberman, 67, used his deciding vote in Congress to help strip out a provision for government-run medical insurance, intended to set up competition to the abuses of private companies, by threatening to filibuster the legislation.

One tweeter tried to rebut Konst by remarking "she seems totally ignorant of the fact that Joe Lieberman killed single payer, was supported by drug companies and is reviled by most D's. But Lieberman had an influential accomplice (video below from 1/12) in killing single payer and supporting drug companies. The Guardian continues

Senate leaders agreed to drop the public option for all in favour of allowing people over 55 to buy into an existing government-run scheme for the elderly. In September, Lieberman supported the measure, as he had when he was Al Gore's running mate. But just as it seemed that a deal was done, Lieberman scuppered it by announcing that he had changed his mind and would block any bill that expanded government insurance coverage. Obama gave way.

At least Konst realizes there is somewhere too little tolerance for progressive Democrats and a little too much for Lieberman. But like her critics, she does not recognize (or won't acknowledge) that Donald Trump was elected as a rejection of everything Obama, the most powerful Democrat of the last decade, who was ultimately responsible for killing the public option and most responsible for putting the Party where it is today.

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