Ezra reacts to Lieberman's decision to filibuster a public option-less health-care reform bill, should it expand Medicare:

Previously, Lieberman had been cool to the idea, saying he wanted to make sure it wouldn't increase the deficit or harm Medicare's solvency (and previously to that, he supported it as part of the Gore/Lieberman health-care plan). That comforted some observers, as the CBO is expected to say it will do neither. Someone must have given Lieberman a heads-up on that, as he's decided to make his move in advance of the CBO score, the better to ensure the facts of the policy couldn't impede his opposition to it.

To put this in context, Lieberman was invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill's failure that much more. And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals.

To put this in context, Lieberman was invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill's failure that much more. And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals....

[A]t this point, the underlying dynamic seems to be that Lieberman will destroy any compromise the left likes. That, in fact, seems to be the compromise: Lieberman will pass the bill if he can hurt liberals while doing so....

Nothing shocking here, for a lot of us. But I think it's worth teasing out the import of all this. Many of us have raged against the Stupak amendment. But Bart Stupak is what he's always been--a pro-Life Democrat. He's against abortion, and will do what he can to restrict that. I don't agree, but it's an understandable policy difference. Likewise, Ben Nelson is also pro-life, conservative Democrat, endorsed by the NRA and Nebraska Right to Life. Moreover, given the politics of Nebraska, Nelson's own politics make some sense.

But Joe Lieberman is neither manifesting long-held views or being brought to heel by the politics of his state. (Quite the contrary.) Still, Lieberman could make an argument against the current bill outlining his own thinking, and how it's changed. But Lieberman hasn't done that. Instead he's put forth the kind of logic that make you question either his understanding of the public option he so vociferously opposes, or his intellectual honesty.

What your left with is neither policy nor politics, but an ethic of fanatic spite. Lieberman, once celebrated as an iconoclast, is now (regarding health care) an ideologue of the worst order--one pledged to his own grievance and insatiable need to settle scores.

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