Lieberman seizes control of the Democratic Senate caucus

by: Chris Bowers

Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 22:46


To no one's surprise (but certainly to my disappointment), Joe Lieberman has now told Harry Reid that he will filibuster any health care bill with a Medicare buy-in or a public option (emphasis mine):

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a face-to-face meeting on Sunday that he will vote against a health care bill that includes a public option or a provision that would expand Medicare, a Democrat Senate aide tells the Huffington Post.

The two Senators had a discussion in Reid's office shortly after Lieberman appeared on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday morning. The Connecticut Independent discussed with Reid some of his concerns about the legislation, elaborating on issues he had raised during the show. According to the source, who was briefed on the exchange, Lieberman punctuated the discussion by telling the majority leader directly that he would vote against the bill if the Medicare buy-in and public option provisions remained in it. Roll Call reports that Lieberman said he would also support a Republican filibuster of legislation that included these provisions.

This is a reversal of Lieberman's position when the deal was struck:

A Senate Democratic aide, flummoxed by Mr. Lieberman's stance, said, "It was a total flip-flop and leaves us in a predicament as to what to do."

Lieberman flip-flipped because he can.  No matter what Lieberman does, the majority of the Democratic Senate caucus won't do anything about it.  Here is a quick review:

  • When Lieberman left the party, and ran as an Independent against the Democratic nominee in Connecticut, most Democratic Senators gave him a standing ovation.

  • When Lieberman endorsed John McCain, and campaigned with him throughout 2008, the Democratic Senate caucus overwhelmingly voted to allow him to keep his chairmanship.

  • When Lieberman blows up a hard-fought deal on health care legislation, the Senate Democratic leadership immediately declares that circumventing Lieberman through reconciliation is still not on the table:

    The final path would be to try the reconciliation, the parliamentary procedure that would allow Democrats to pass chunks of health care reform by a simple up or down vote. There are a host of hurdles that come with going down this route, including questions over what, exactly, could be passed. And at this point both the White House and Reid's office seem hesitant to use the procedural tool, even after Lieberman's latest round of opposition.

    "It is not on the table at this point," the source said. "We are still trying to go through regular order."

    If it is not on the table at this point, it is hard to imagine when it ever will be.

Nothing Lieberman is doing would be possible without the ongoing support of the majority of the Democratic caucus.  If Democratic Senators wanted to punish Lieberman for his consistent transgressions against the party, they could.   If Democrats wanted to use reconciliation, and just circumvent him altogether, they could do that to.  But they are not going to do either.

As such, Lieberman is simply taking the power that is being handed to him by the rest of the caucus.   Since he knows that Senate Democrats won't ever punish him, and won't ever circumvent him, he now has free reign to dictate whatever legislation he wants, get tons of face time with the White House and Senate leadership, regularly be the top story on news outlets around the country, receive millions in campaign contributions, and appease his Republican base (at this point, most of Lieberman's supporters are Republicans).  It is a great deal for Lieberman, and it would not be possible without the ongoing consent of the majority of the Democratic Senate caucus.

Since we have already defeated Lieberman in a Democratic primary, there is nothing more severe we can do as progressive activists to directly threaten Lieberman.  What we need to start doing is taking action against the Democrats who enable Lieberman and his ilk.  If other Senate Democrats are not going to do anything about Lieberman taking control of the entire caucus, then really, what is the difference between those other Senators and Joe Lieberman?

Never thought I would echo George W. Bush, but we have reached the point where it is time to stop differentiating between problematic Senators like Joseph Lieberman and the other Senate Democrats who enable them.

Chris Bowers :: Lieberman seizes control of the Democratic Senate caucus

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time to kick him to the curb and shame him (4.00 / 4)
seriously. He's fucked us a million times. At what point do we make him pay for it?

I'm praying for a sudden heart attack... (4.00 / 2)
Yeah... he deserves it.   Yeah... I'm that pissed.

[ Parent ]
what does he have on senate dems (4.00 / 3)
Seriously he must have some good blackmail on them. Why do they continually enable him?

He hasn't got anything on them. (4.00 / 5)
Their corporate donors dictate their actions.

[ Parent ]
Agreed - He is their excuse (4.00 / 1)
They want to to do what the corporations tell them to.  Lieberman is just a convenient excuse for them.  He is enabling them, not the other way around.  I wouldn't be that surprised if Reid was directing him to be against health care reform.

[ Parent ]
The Reid and Lieberman relationship is a self serving one.. (0.00 / 0)
They are considered close friends.  They feed off of each other.  So this apparent standstill may be a ploy to allow them both to come out smelling like roses.  
Since they are but foul carrion otherwise,  we may see a sudden Joe and Harry save HCR ploy coming up..

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.

[ Parent ]
Even for the weenie-crat enablers (4.00 / 5)
this might be a bridge too far.  Obama and Reid have to do reconciliation.  It's too embarrassing for Obama to give up and let it fail.  

As Rahm has said all summer, failure is not an option.  Rahm's only path to success is reconciliation.

John McCain won't insure children


Failure seems to be THE option (4.00 / 11)

 I mean, Harry Reid didn't see this latest Lieberman knife in the back coming? Did he camp out in Yucca Mountain one time too many that his brain got permanently fried?

 Either Harry Reid is a complete idiot, and trusted Lieberman to keep his word on the deal, or he's complicit in watering down health-care "reform" to utter meaninglessness, and uses Lieberman as the perfect vehicle towards this goal.

 The official motto of the Democratic leadership should be "Thank you sir, can I have another?"  

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
After Reid's nonsensical decision to take reconciliation off the table (4.00 / 8)
Ploy seems about right.  

[ Parent ]
Remember, we HAD to coddle Joe Lieberman... (4.00 / 16)

 ...because if we DIDN'T, he'd get all obstinate and obstructionist and stuff.

  Good thing we headed THAT problem off at the pass!  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Yet people were attacking me for predicting this outcome (4.00 / 2)
It is not as if I was going out on a limb. Predicting what will happen in DC is like predicting a scorpion will sting you. It is just in their nature to act the way they are acting- including the "progressives."  The key is to realize that, become unreasonable and make them fearful of the consequences no matter who it is- progressive or conservadem. Until this post by Chris, I have really seen no one talk about the incentives for fortifying the behavior of progressives to fight. Early one, I did see some attempts to argue this position when Jane Hamsher was handing out the free money at her site to "progressives." Some posters kept asking- "Why are you not waiting to hand the money out as a stick" rather than rewarding them for actions not yet taken. Those calls went unanswered as I remember

[ Parent ]
if there's any consolation... (0.00 / 0)
it's that now your prediction has verifiable proof.

now the question is what Democrats are going to do with the knowledge that you and I have had for months, but took them this long to figure out?


[ Parent ]
what makes you think they "figured it out" (4.00 / 2)
They will still try to appease him is my prediction. The next step is some further watered down bill that they will then claimed they twisted his arm to support. The bill probably will not pass until Jan, if then, because we are then into 2010, and an election year. The news narrative is as likely to be "the public does not want reform" as it is "they do" despite polling for the public option remaining in the 60s. Facts, reality, character- they don't matter. The only way to change that is to change the behavior of the players. To do that, requires progressives to look in the mirror to see their reflection in what Joe is doing. Do you see that happening? I mean- I am happy to see this diary by Chris, but how long before we choose some next evil conservative to become distracted by rather than look at what we are doing to enable them to be evil.  

[ Parent ]
Disagree... (4.00 / 1)
I honestly think Joe waffled and fucked him.    From all the things I have read Joementum had said ok unless the CBO score was way high...      Now Joe screwed him...

[ Parent ]
does not justify taking reconciliation off the table (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Oh well on that account I agree with you completely. (0.00 / 0)
I agree 100% with you on that.    Reconciliation should be one of the last options along with removing the filibuster, but it should NOT be taken off the tabe.

[ Parent ]
If Reid trusted Lieberman... (4.00 / 6)

  ...then Reid is an imbecile.

  Since I don't think Reid is an imbecile, that leaves the other possibility: that he's working in tandem with Lieberman to sabotage health reform.

  And since Reid heaps mountains of praise upon Lieberman every time Lieberman "screws" him, and will probably do so again, it doesn't take much political acumen to figure out what's really going on here.

  Our political system is completely, utterly broken.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
There would be no filibuster (4.00 / 4)
if they actually had to talk continuously like in the old days.

The problem is... (4.00 / 1)
...it would require 50+ supporters to remain on the floor at all times to make them talk. Otherwise they can suggest the absence of a quorum and the Senate would remain in a quorum call until 50 senators return to the floor.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
SO what... (4.00 / 2)
THEY have good enough healthcare that they could do it.   I agree with Paul.   You don't want to go through reconciliation, make them speak.   Let Joe speak till his voice box bleeds.

[ Parent ]
Agreed! (0.00 / 0)
Even if they passed nothing I would love it if they made the Republicans put on their diapers and do a real filibuster.

[ Parent ]
Ain't nothing gonna get 60 votes (4.00 / 8)
Ain't no satisfying Lieberman. Snowe, who at least will operate more or less in good faith, will ask too much. Short of total capitulation by the majority of the Senate, there's no compromise that can get 60 votes.

With the so-called compromise evidently going down in flames, this may be the 'critical mass' week where they realize the Senate is hopelessly gridlocked and 60 votes is beyond reach. The sooner they figure this out the better.  

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans


if we do go the reconciliation route (4.00 / 20)
the bill must be made MUCH stronger. Throw in provisions that are the worst nightmare of Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu and Lincoln. They had their chance to go along with a more than reasonable compromise.

Since they seem to fear the Medicare buy-in even more than the weak opt-out public option, let's make the Medicare buy-in much more broad and ram it through with 51 votes.

I suppose Senator "regional co-ops" Conrad would never go along with that, though.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter (4.00 / 4)
the bill will be torn to shreds during the reconciliation process anyway, meaning we'd have to split the bill and push the regulations through in a filibuster...you trust Joe for that?  

[ Parent ]
Then we abolish the filibuster (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Reconciliation almost forces a very broad Medicare buy-in (4.00 / 10)
It's very limited  for regulatory changes. There's no way to have a significant reconcilation without some kind of very broad public-option-like thing. A Medicare buy-in is the most straightforward, and due to the higher costs for a negotiated public option and the requisite size of the option, I think the numbers won't work out for a negotiated public option.

The insurance companies would be much more terrified of that than the current bill. It truly would be a slippery slope and probably cut back private insurance to something akin to Medigap in a few years. I suspect if a reconciled public option hit the table, some combination of Lieberman, Nelson, Snowe, and Collins would immediately flip to push the current bill through.


[ Parent ]
Forget reconciliation and kill the filibuster (4.00 / 3)
At a time of national crisis, the country can't afford to have government brought to a halt by the freak show in the Senate.

Anyone who doesn't think this will end with the US defaulting on its its national debt, and taking the world economy with it as it craters, hasn't been following what's happening in California.


Bad analogy (4.00 / 1)
The sovereign (federal) government is the monopoly provider of a nonconvertible flexible rate currency of issue. As the issuer of currency it cannot default on it debt since it can always provide the necessary funds. The government does not have to tax or borrow to spend or fund its debt and operations. A government that is sovereign in its own currency is never revenue constrained.

Of course, there is a real constraint that inflation will occur if nominal aggregate demand exceeds real output, but with and output gap of over 30%, that's not going to happen anytime soon. The value of the dollar could also decline against foreign currencies, but as the issuer of the world's reserve currency and with the largest economy that is not a danger either. Anyone who thinks that their dollars are going to zero anytime soon can send them to me. I'll pay the postage.

In the US, the states are currency users, like households and firms. Currency users are revenue constrained since they cannot create money. But California could easily solve its budget problem if it issued IOU's and accepted them in payment of state taxes. These IOU's would then function like money in California.  


[ Parent ]
Yes, just look at Zimbabwe (4.00 / 1)

A government that is sovereign in its own currency is never revenue constrained.

We've had games of chicken played with the raising of the national debt ceiling plenty of times.  And all indications are that the level of brinkmanship in DC is on an upward trajectory.

as the issuer of the world's reserve currency and with the largest economy that is not a danger either.

Are you serious?

The US has largely exhausted its natural resources, and has exported its manufacturing industry to countries like China.  All it has left are asset bubbles, fed by foreign support of the dollar while they take over strategic export markets.

Do you understand what's been going on for the last 40 years?


[ Parent ]
Bill Mitchell on Zimbabwe (0.00 / 0)
Bad analogy, too.

Zimbabwe for hyperventilators 101

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.n...


[ Parent ]
Clearly the reference to Zimbabwe was hyperbole... (0.00 / 0)
....but look what I saw in the first paragraph of that article:

Zimbabwe is an African country with a dysfunctional government. Yes!


[ Parent ]
Easier Said than Done (0.00 / 0)
It will take way more votes to do it as a rule... Ezra said 67... I doubt that many Republicans will support it.   Otherwise you have to wait until the start of the next term and can change it with 51 votes.    

There is the nuclear option which is a parlimentary procedural move.      
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...

Here is the Wiki article as I'm feeling too lazy to retype it.  

But the question is does Reid have the balls to do it when he condemned it as a power grab in 2005.    I don't think he does unless we push.


[ Parent ]
Imho you're conbfusing two ways to kill the filibuster. (4.00 / 1)
Ezra's plan is to do it at the first day of a new legislation, when a change of rules takes only 51 votes. It takes more votes after that.

But this is NOT the nuclear option! That way of killing the filibuster always only needs 51 votes. It can be started any time by a Senator (Burris? Sanders? Franken?) raising a point of order, it needs Reid or BIDEN (yes, if Reid doesn't want to play along, maybe the VP will!) to support it, and also 49 other Senators.

Come to think of it, I don't know why Ezra made his point at all. It's utterly useless now, 112th Congress is still far away, and it has NO ADVANTAGE WHATEVER over the filibster option. So, obviously, this really is only a nerdy side issue that has no relevance to the problem at hand (and I wonder why bloggers who allegedly have a problem with "wonkish minutia" stay mum on this issue. Take that, Paul!).  


[ Parent ]
It does NOT take 67 votes to kill the filibuster! (0.00 / 0)
That is a lie! I am sure that you are not lying Gray, but who-ever started that lie knew it.

The filibuster is a procedure, it would take 50% + one to change.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Looks like Ezra's way to get rid of it may need up to 67 votes. (4.00 / 1)
But I have to admit, I haven't looked into it, because I think it's utter useless now. Why use a method that needs more than 51 votes to get rid of the filibuster? Doesn't make no sense, the nuclear option is more efficient.

However, on way or the other, the votes have to be there. But imho it's not totally impossible, it just depends on convicining Senators of the urgency, and that there really is no other way to avoid desaster. Everybody should be able to sse that the Supermajoritytrain is reaching the point of trainwreck at an exelerating speed!  


[ Parent ]
This Is What Happens To Cultural Illiterates (4.00 / 3)

The Snake

On her way to work one morning, down the path alongside the lake
A tender-hearted woman saw a poor, half-frozen snake
Its pretty coloured skin had been all frosted up with dew
'Oh wow' she cried 'I'll take you in and I'll take care of you'

Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in tender woman, yeah,
Cried the snake.

She wrapped him up all cosy in a bed of silk
And she laid him by the fire-side with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night and as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she'd taken in had been revived

Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in tender woman, yeah,
Cried the snake.

She clutched him to her bosom, 'You're so beautiful!' she cried
'But if I had not a-taken you in, by now you would have died'
She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
But instead of giving her the thanks, he gave her a viscious bite

Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in tender woman, yeah,
Cried the snake.

'Oh snake, you' cried that woman 'you have bitten me, but why?
You know your body's poisonous and now I'm gonna die'
'Ah, shut up silly woman' said that reptile with a grin
'You knew I was a snake before you ever took me in'

Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven's sake
Take me in tender woman
Cried the snake.



"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

I.e. people who aren't Northern Exposure fans (4.00 / 1)
God help us from their kind!

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Nope. (4.00 / 2)
Never saw it, aside from momentary channel surfing.

This goes back to the heydey of vinyl.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Yeah but it was sung verbatim in an episode (0.00 / 0)
And in any case, it's an old fable, that predates the recorded version.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
That's a travesty (0.00 / 0)
Get on it!

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
You wrecked the thread, Paul! (0.00 / 0)
Don't you see that with your poetic focus on simile you're actually illustrating Chris's point rather than commenting on it?
I have to say, I'm shocked, shocked, shocked!
:P

[ Parent ]
Comparison (4.00 / 10)
Using a parable to compare Lieberman to a poisonous snake is very unfair to snakes.  

[ Parent ]
True (4.00 / 3)
But but it's not the business of parables to be fair.

Just illustrative.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
The Rude Pundit (4.00 / 3)
explains bipartisanship:

Here's what bipartisanship meant to Republicans: let's say a Republican and a Democrat are stuck on a desert island. The Republican knows how to survive in the wild, the Democrat knows how to build a raft. They need each other, right? They're stuck there, and while they may hate each other, they gotta work together or they're gonna die on the island. While the Democrat is, you know, building the raft, the Republican is gathering coconuts, keeping the fire lit, you know, that kind of shit. It's all nice and cooperative. And then, when the raft is done, the Republican slits the throat of the Democrat, eats his flesh, drinks his blood, and uses his bones and his clothes for a sail. Bye-bye, island.

Doesn't matter that Lie-berman is not officially a rethuglican. Same principle applies, and the Dems never seem to learn the lesson. Or more likely, they care more about Senate "congeniality" than serving the country in any meaningful way. In any event, we're the ones who keep getting our throats slit - over and over again. Sooner rather than later, we'll run out of blood for them to drink.


[ Parent ]
Attack any progressive who is not fighting against Lieberman (4.00 / 3)
outwardly. That is something you can do. Since the problem is the rst of the caucus rather than him, you need to attack the rest of the caucus.

"Attacking" isn't productive (0.00 / 0)
Pressuring them to apply some kind of punishment to Lieberman, e.g. taking away his chairmanship/any committee assignments, is better.

[ Parent ]
Its got to be Reid.... (4.00 / 1)
Reid is facing a TOUGH re election battle.   He  needs to know that if he doesn't strong arm Joe, he won't get a dime from us and will lose his job.  

He deserves to lose his Majority Leader job anyway.    I'd like to think Schumer or Durbin (who I assume would be the most likely to take the top job if Reid loses) would have been a hell of lot harder on Lieberman.    


[ Parent ]
attack (4.00 / 1)
is the only way to create pressure

[ Parent ]
Eliminating the filibuster is a moral ethical and social necessaity. (0.00 / 0)
Our country must return to democracy.

The term filibuster was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning pirate or freebooter. This term had evolved from the French word flibustier, which itself evolved from the Dutch vrijbuiter (freebooter). This term was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who sought to overthrow the governments of Central American states, and was transferred to the users of the filibuster, seen as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate.[1]

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I agree with you in principle (0.00 / 0)
But nobody in the Senate has mentioned eliminating the filibuster ever since the so "Gang of 14" compromise -- Another fine compromise by Senate Dems! -- wherein the filibuster would still empower 'centrists' but Bush would still get all of his judges approved.  

[ Parent ]
Harkin has a bill. We must demand that soemthing like be passed (0.00 / 0)
This is the fault of the entire democratic party senate caucus. It is them to be blamed, them that must be told to restore democracy.

Simple, clear, doable, and morally, ethically, socially and politically required.

Allowing the filibuster to continue now, at this poiint in time, is the end of democracy in America. It is the crossing of the Rubicon.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
options? (4.00 / 2)
No matter what Lieberman does, the majority of the Democratic Senate caucus won't do anything about it.

With respect to the health care legislation, do we have any options at all?  Or, are we required to simply put our collective heads between our knees and kiss our sweet asses goodbye?

I understand that going forward, we need to focus on those Democrats that enabled Lieberman.  But, that seems to be an ex post position.  Which is fine, if that's the best we can do.

But, it there no monkey wrench that can be tossed into the gears at this stage of the game?

Side note.  I can't imagine a better illustration fo Daniel De Groot's diaries of this weekend than what we've witnessed with the health care reform legislation.  Talk about an object lesson!


Are the progressives not up for re-election next year? (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Reconciliation (4.00 / 10)
Lieberman won't let anything through even if Reid caves. His goal is to stop insurance reform and destroy Obama's administration and the Dem majority. He won't vote for anything. He's the Shelby of 2009. (Shelby was the turncoat Dem of 1994 who told the Repubs everything that was going on in the Dem caucus, and then flipped after the election).

[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.00 / 1)
I'm starting to agree with you.   I'm really starting to think this is Joe's revenge for 2006.   What I can't fathom is WHY rank and file Dems or the leadership are ok with this?    They can't be that stupid to realize the ramifications failure will have on the 2010 elections.  They are worried now... if HCR fails at this point, the fall out will be unreal... maybe a 7-8 seat loss.    

Unbelievable.     Strong arm him or punish him.    

Nelson has also threatened filibuster...   Do you throw him a bone on his amendment and try to change it in the future?    And how do you get Snowe, which is the only way around Joe...

Amazing...    Arlen spector, a man with one of the most conservative voting records of any Dem Senator hasn't said a peep but the D-bag who was granted a reprieve is doing this.   God, I'd love to spat in his face.


[ Parent ]
The buck stops at the top (4.00 / 5)
Time to get on the president's case. This is ridiculous. Not only is it undermining him, but also it is paralyzing the country.

Seems to be the same old story. Great campaigner but can't govern. He needs to take a lesson from LBJ on how to break legs.


Specifically, which Senators legs did LBJ break (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Didn't Have To (4.00 / 7)
That's just the point.  You don't have to do it if they all know you will.

It's a zen thing.  You wouldn't understand.

Or maybe Aikido.

Ghandi, when he was really pissed.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Reality-based fear goes a LONG way (4.00 / 3)
Even the non-reality-based kind can accomplish much, but LBJ's was the real deal, and everyone knew it.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
SImilar to Rove or Tom Delay (0.00 / 0)
People in the House were terrified of Delay from anecdotes I have heard and read.   Between him screwing their fundraising and their standing in the house, he kept them in line.   It sucked for us, but I wish we had one like him in both the House and the Senate.

[ Parent ]
I am sure ... (0.00 / 0)
long time Texans have stories they can tell you about LBJ .. are any of them the truth? .. Who knows! ... but they did serve it's purpose .. but that's just the thing .. LBJ knew how to use both the carrot and the stick

[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 1)
Can you name a Senator, specifically, who "feared" him?

Because I can name at least four Senators he did try to arm twist who told him to go fuck himself;

-Fulbright
-Gore
-Russell
-Robertson

I also know that he crafted the bill to make sure he got Republican leader Everett Dirksen to support it and then allowed Dirksen to water it down to get the votes of Senators Curtis, Hruska, Miller and Mundt.

This doesn't sound to me like a man who is feared, but rather one who is desperate to pass a bill.  


[ Parent ]
and yet miraculously he has a very long record called the great society (4.00 / 8)
that suggests he must have had some kind of influence

[ Parent ]
Or sane Republicans like Everett Dirksen (0.00 / 0)
willing to work with him.  

[ Parent ]
There are always brave folks who don't fear anyone breaking their legs... (0.00 / 0)
...but when it happens all their bravery still doesn't help them winning the Olympics. Only the Paralympics, maybe.

[ Parent ]
and Lieberman is one of them (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
That would be ok if Obama or Reid would positively prevent him... (0.00 / 0)
...from winning the hurdle race by manipulating the tracks of the competition time and again. Maybe LBJ couldn't shut of the loudmouth Senators he had to deal with, I don't know. But in the long run, he kept them at bay. And I don't see Obama succeeding at that.

[ Parent ]
really? (0.00 / 0)
You actually believe it takes more courage to support monied interests over peoples interests? Even knowing the campaigh cash, retirement perks in the millions of dollars, attention, ink, face time, think tank support, praise of wealthy influencial people, and other perks that don't come to mind now that acquire to those willing to sell out the voters?

I believe just the opposite. Courage is opposing power when it is detremental to the populas or the nation. In the healthcare debate, courage is exactly the opposite of what traitor Joe is doing now.

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob..... FDR


[ Parent ]
LBJ was majority leader of the Senate before becoming president (4.00 / 5)
When he was majority leader, he ran a very tight ship. I know because I was in DC at the time and was well-connected. Everyone in the Senate knew that if you crossed LBJ, he would never, ever forget it. And he would remind you about it when you wanted some pork for your state or some special perk for yourself. The man was really feared.

[ Parent ]
Is that why (0.00 / 0)
we got such toothless Civil Rights bills out of the Senate when he was Majority Leader?


[ Parent ]
He attempted to do what Obama is doing now with the Civil Rights Act in 1957 (4.00 / 2)
"Johnson continued to remain careful and appeased the Southern racists, such as in 1956 when he killed a civil rights bill in Congress. Again, in keeping with his Jekyll and Hyde stance he changed his opinion in 1957. Whilst assuring Texans that there was "no foundation" to rumours he was promoting a civil rights bill, and stating he was "strongly and irrevocably opposed to forced integration of the races" he orchestrated, though diluted parts which would be offensive to southerners, the 1957 Civil Rights Act. "

http://74.125.93.132/search?q=...

Ironically, your choice of legislation is an argument against appeasement rather than for it since he would later go on to push through as president the Civil Rights Act that he became known for. The 1957 Act demonstrated that on some issues appeasement does not work.  


[ Parent ]
I want to gild the lily here with you because you have a tendency (4.00 / 3)
to misuse history for your own gains.

There is another lesson to be taken from that period. To get the appeasement from LBJ, Strom Thormond gave the longest filibuster in U.S. History:

"Thurmond supported racial segregation with the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator, speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to derail the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Cots were brought in from a nearby hotel for the legislators to sleep on while Thurmond rambled on about random things, including his grandmother's biscuit recipe. Other Southern Senators, who had agreed as part of a compromise not to filibuster this bill, were upset with Thurmond because they thought his defiance made them look bad to their constituents.[6]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

Now, we just require a mere threat. If you can get Joe and Ben out there to actually filibuster rather than just threaten it, I would love to see those old coots do it. Otherwise, I'd call their bluff to shut them up.


[ Parent ]
Excuse me but (4.00 / 1)
Civil rights was a far different and incendiary issue than anything Obama is facing. It's absolutely amazing to me that LBJ was able to get anything at all passed on this. Where you even alive at that time. Did you live or travel in the South and most of rural America?

[ Parent ]
We had this discussion before! Who was the Senator... (0.00 / 0)
...who was stripped of his important chairmanship, and moved into the most pathetic office in Congress by LBJ?

[ Parent ]
The president doesn't do these things himself (4.00 / 2)
He PRESSURES the House and Senate majority leaders. Obama is doing nothing. 81% of Dems want to punish JL, and Obama wants Reid to cut a deal. Lame.

[ Parent ]
Don't blame Obama for the institutional structures (4.00 / 1)
The Senate is aan anachronism. The filibuster is just plain antidemocratic. The institution is broken. There's plenty of blame to go around, starting with the Founders who had the bad idea of having a revolution before some basic principles of democracy had really been worked out in the western world. But Obama's not very high on the list of reasons that the HCR bill needs 60 dipshittish senators to agree to pass it.

[ Parent ]
He's doing nothing to fight them. (4.00 / 4)
Instead, he kisses the asses of obstructionists! For heaven's sake, he called Baucus (!) his "dear friend" for weeks, when it was already clear that Baucus effing committee held up the whole progress, came up with one horrible pro-business ideea after another, and wrecked any chances for a more progressive bill. So, of course, Obama bears part of the responsibility, and can be blamed for that.  

[ Parent ]
Remember "Lieberman is Obama's bitch?" (4.00 / 5)
Because I do. That's what Obama fans were saying when reasonable people complained about Obama's defense of Lieberman's chairmanship. "Obama owns Lieberman now," they told us.

I'm starting to think it is true, that Lieberman is doing Obama's dirty work for him. They are running the old "good cop, bad cop" routine.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
It's actually the other way around. (0.00 / 0)

 The worse Joe's behavior gets, the more the rest of the Democrats praise him.

 The Democratic Party has no reason to exist anymore, really.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
What idiot said that? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
You know how do google, don't you, DT? (4.00 / 1)
You just insert the quote into the text field and ... "search".

http://www.google.com/search?h...  


[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
To be fair, 1) The Senate was a LOT different body back then and 2) he was Majority Leader as well.    

What I wish they'd do is put Joe Biden to work Lobbying.


[ Parent ]
BIDEN can even help with the nuclear option! (0.00 / 0)
We don't need Reid for that:
The presiding officer of the Senate, usually the vice president of the United States or the president pro tempore, makes a parliamentary ruling upholding the senator's point of order.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...

And good point, yitbo, Biden with all his longterm Senate exprience, could help a lot in organizing support for the nuclear option, or reconciliation, in Senate. IF Obama would unleash him. Since he doesn't, it sure looks like the WH doen't want to get rid of the filibuster, which would also result in a more progressive bill.


[ Parent ]
It is the responsibility of the entire Democratic Party Senate Caucus (4.00 / 1)
THEY are to blame. They are the ones who return democtacy to the United States, they are the ones preventing it, they are the ones responsible.

It "might" help if Obama asked them, or told, or screamed at them, or threatened them. Might.

But it is, IS, the sole responsibility of the Democratic Party Senate Caucus to remove the filibuster as a way to PREVENT legislation.

Period.

If this was a murder trial you could not indict Obama for murder, it is The Democratic Party Senate Caucus who is killing Health Reform. Obama is barley an accessory.

It is The Democratic Party Senate Caucus who is killing Health Reform.

It is Fiengold's fault. It is Reid's fault, it is Schumers fault. It is Rockefellers fault. It is Boxers fault. It is Testers fault.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
We're assuming... (4.00 / 9)

...that the Democrats want to pass meaningful HCR.

They don't. I think it's pretty obvious by now.

Lieberman's role in this is being the convenient mucker-upper. He's already loathed by the Dem base, so his stock doesn't suffer when he pulls his obstructionist crap.

And Reid can shrug and claim "he tried", and then proceed to water the bill down some more. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's a clever little game. Joe Lieberman is extremely valuable to the corporate, anti-reform element of the Democratic Party -- which is basically the leadership.

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


You're assuming... (4.00 / 2)
...that it's meaningful to speak of "the Democrats" as if they had anything in common with one another.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
There's the base, and there's the leadership (4.00 / 3)

 And it's true, they have nothing in common with each other.

 Now the big question: HOW does the Democratic Party end up with such shitty leadership, when it DOES have so many strong, committed activists at the grassroots levels?  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
alphabet soup (0.00 / 0)
HOW does the Democratic Party end up with such shitty leadership...

DNC ... DLC ... DCCC ... DSCC ???  Lately, I've given a whole lot of thought how northern Colorado wound up with Betsy Markey rather than Angie Paccione.  


[ Parent ]
Well (0.00 / 0)
Paccione losing and Markey winning has a lot to do with it.  

[ Parent ]
By organizing. (0.00 / 0)
They win by organizing. Not all of it "fair" they have money, and connections and power already, and they want to stay in power.

It is hard work to govern, even harder to win the right to govern. It is not just pulling the handle for a charismatic speaker. You will have power, when you get it, and dont let go.

We need to organize more. And more. And that's just on vacation, when we are really working it will have to seven times as much.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
yes. (0.00 / 0)
and as long as the de facto Leftish Party will accept any compromise bill that still includes an expansion of Medicaid and some restrictions on some of the worst insurance company practices, then the de facto Liebercrat Party will run the show.

it's not enough for any few Senators to say bad things about Lieberman. Reid maybe could threaten him but not very plausibly. because the Leftish Party isn't even close to a majority of the "Democratic Party" caucus.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.


[ Parent ]
They do (0.00 / 0)
They are part of the club that could come down on Lieberman and don't.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
"the Dems". Does this mean, THE Dems, or just some of them? (4.00 / 1)
To me, this looks more like a concerted effort by BlueDog Senators and the WH to prevent a more progressive bill. Yup, all evidence shows that this horribly watered down, insurance frienly travesty of a "compromise" is exactly what they want.

But we shouldn't blame the whole party for it, but instead look for allies to join the rebel forces. And imho public pressure on the WH has to get much higher in order to reduce their constant negative influencing of the process. Rahm and co have to be forced into public actions supporting progressives, any tolerance of them dragging their feet only helps them to secretely support the centrists.  


[ Parent ]
Maybe we need a senatorial version of the Full Court Press (4.00 / 1)
where we challenge every single senator up for re-election by filing in the primary, draw some lines in the sand, like strip Lieberman, new health care bill, etc., and if they don't support us, go at them.

Bowers is right:

What we need to start doing is taking action against the Democrats who enable Lieberman and his ilk.  If other Senate Democrats are not going to do anything about Lieberman taking control of the entire caucus, then really, what is the difference between those other Senators and Joe Lieberman?

"Taking action" has to be specific, has to have teeth.  Let's go.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


[ Parent ]
Wish I could find a picture (4.00 / 7)
of Obama & Dems doing their "Peace in our time" photo op with Holy Joe last year after he won the presidency. Yeah, that's worked out so well for progressive policy.

Then again, Joe (like Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln, etc.) was always a convenient foil for the center-right corporatists who run the party, allowing them an easy excuse for not passing more progressive legislation. Hey, "We don't have the votes!".

Even though, of course, they do and always have, via parliamentary maneuvers and political arm-twisting and bargaining that they have no desire to invoke. It was ALWAYS "Good Cop/Bad Cop".

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


found it! (4.00 / 4)
Wish I could find a picture of Obama & Dems doing their "Peace in our time" photo op with Holy Joe last year after he won the presidency. Yeah, that's worked out so well for progressive policy.

here's the video:

Senate pardons Lieberman - Reid looks forward


[ Parent ]
Realistically (0.00 / 0)
is there any way for Democrats to pass any bill with a public option or some other expansion in government health insurance, through "parliamentary maneuvers and political arm-twisting and bargaining", if they really wanted to?

All the hell in the world might not bring Lieberman around.  I don't even know if taking away his chairmanship would do it.


[ Parent ]
They don't really want to. QED. nt (4.00 / 2)


[ Parent ]
Yes, there are (4.00 / 4)
Reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes, is one. Another is the "Nuclear Option", which would destroy the filibuster. Yet others would involve jawboning these asshats and/or inticing them with pork. There are always ways. What is lacking is the will.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
I guess I misphrased the question (0.00 / 0)
My contention with your post was this:

Then again, Joe (like Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln, etc.) was always a convenient foil for the center-right corporatists who run the party, allowing them an easy excuse for not passing more progressive legislation. Hey, "We don't have the votes!".

There's a difference between saying there are a few bad apples (Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln) and saying that the entire Democratic Party is actually secretly opposing the public option, Medicare buy-in, and all else that is good in this world.  Just because you're too timid to do something doesn't mean that you're against doing it.

You're right that reconciliation and nuclear option are available, but there aren't enough votes for blowing up the Senate rules like that.  Is that because Democratic Senators are all secret corporatists who really don't want health care reform?  Or is it because they're for health care reform but are worried about the implications of either approach (reconciliation could lead to a mangled bill, nuclear option would remove filibuster from being used in Democrats' favor in the future).

I happen to agree that the use, or threat of use as AdamGreen has suggested, of reconciliation or the nuclear option should be seriously considered.  What I'm saying here is that there's a fine line between not wanting health care reform at all and genuinely wanting health care reform but not willing to go to procedural extremes for it.


[ Parent ]
well (4.00 / 5)
At least they're sticking with their "Our one potential bit of leverage - that we could pass this through reconciliation without Joe's vote - is definitely, absolutely off the table" strategy. Geniuses!

We have the power to stop this once and for all. (4.00 / 1)
It'll mean playing hardball, but we need to do it.  We have the power here, and it's a very simple matter to exercise it and show we mean business.

One third of the Senate is up for re-election next year.  This means we have an advantage.  If Open left has any leverage at all in online activism, let's use it.  What we can do is identify all the Democratic senators who are up for re-election amd run primaries against each and every one of them based on their utter failure to deliver on issues important to the progressive base.  They don't get one dime, not even one penny.  And if primaries fail, run independent challenges from the left.  I know it'll be tough, because we've wasted months just trying to hold the line instead of finding candidates, but it's not impossible.

Come up with eight or ten issues important to progressives, from ending the wars to genuine health care reform, and get commitments from the incumbents to support and pass them.  If they refuse, run primaries and indy challenges.  MAKE them realize that their loyalties might be to Big Business, but they still need votes to justify their continued presence in office.  If they commit but then renege, have challengers ready to run against them.  Raise money to run ads in newspapers and on television in the targeted states.  Since we're only concentrating on Democrats up for re-election, we'll have the benefit of fewer states in which to concentrate our resources.

Of course this will mean vetting the records of any and all challengers put up against these recalcitrant Democrats.  GovTrack.us is an excellent source for digging up information on how senators have voted on which bills.  That information can be used for or against supported candidates.  Another good source for candidate information is the League of Women Voters, which provides the dirt on candidates from most if not all political parties running.

Like I said, this means we play hardball, but that's what it's going to take in order to get the politicians to finally take the left seriously.  We need to be every bit as ideologically-driven as the GOP, and every bit as uncompromising.


And how do you presume to assure (0.00 / 0)
that soft money from the party won't corrupt them over the course of their first term, as it seems to do every other "shining progressive star"?

[ Parent ]
If it does, we run candidates against them when they're up next. (4.00 / 1)
Repeating the process every election cycle until we get the senators we want, as well as keeping up the pressure, will cause the shift we require in the makeup of Democrats.  The point is that we need to vet our candidates and make sure that they cannot be easily corrupted in the first place.  And if or when they are, we run people against them.

[ Parent ]
Patty Murray (4.00 / 4)
is 4th in the Senate Leadership, and up for re-election. I would point out that she voted against Sander's anti-usury bill as well.

(Which brings us to a larger point: if there was even the minimal infrastructure for a credible, independent force, then the Senate Dems would be there for the taking. I mean, how easy would it be-even in normal times-to run a campaign where you tell people "If your credit card interest rate is over 15%, you can thank Patty Murray. For every dollar of interest you pay (over the 15%), you might as well mail it to Patty Murray".)

As I read the other posts on here, many of them are aimed at Lieberman, which is directly counter to Chris' blog. The whole point of this action by the Dem caucus is that we're supposed to blame Lieberman.

I agree with the guy upthread who said "DC is as predictable as saying a scorpion will sting you". The whole health care "debate" in the Senate has been nothing but a charade. Except for the odd Brown or Sanders, I don't see any evidence that any of them wanted reform of health care, or anything else for that matter. As Chris says, all along the way they've had multiple options for how to deal with Baucus, how to deal with the filibuster, etc., etc.

It's all a charade, they've been beating their heads against a wall all year trying to figure out how to preserve the status quo, without anyone getting blamed (surely if we stall just long enough, our beloved free market will revive and save us!). Sort of like the table of diners, who sneak out the restaurant door one by one, until no one is left to pay the bill. In this scenario, the only one left at the table is Joe, and he says "hey, I wasn't even with those guys, I just sat down to talk for a minute".

Forget about Lieberman. It's the entire caucus.


[ Parent ]
Good idea. (0.00 / 0)
As I said, we target each and every Democrat up for re-election in the Senate next year.  A third party needn't necessarily be the way to go if any independent candidate we put up doesn't have the party infrastructure.  We can target disaffected Democrats and independents for campaigning, especially frequent voters, with grassroots efforts.  I don't hold any illusions about chances for success, mind you, but I think the effort will at least send the message that the left is no longer content to be taken for granted.

You're right: except for Sanders, no senator really wants health insurance reform.  Most if not all of them are on the corporate dole.  That's why we need to mobilize now while the fire is still hot.  The Dems dropped the ball on so many things, even after we gave them everything they asked of us.  So let's make them earn it or leave office.  People who say we're simply handing the GOP a victory by doing this have no case to make for Dems, at least not the current party makeup.  They've spent the last decade proving that there's no significant difference between the two corporate parties anyway.  Why else do you think the Dems spend more time and money trying to keep indy candidates off the ballot than they do making any legitimate case for themselves?

I like your example of Pat Murray.  That can be applied probably to almost every member of the senators up for re-election this year.


[ Parent ]
Monster (4.00 / 6)
Ezra:

... (Lieberman's) willing to directly cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.


Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

Well, Ezra's compromise supporting stance has been less than helpful... (0.00 / 0)
..so far, and we shouldn't elevate him with constantly linking to him. Fpr heaven's sake, just look at all the positive stories he wrote about BAUCUS! I understand Ezra's pragmatist approach, but that was bad strategy. He has been hurting the progressive stomping for the po as much as any other centrist sellout. Really, let's not make him the blogczar of smart healthcare strategy now!

[ Parent ]
Ezra's job (0.00 / 0)
as he made clear, isn't to stump for any particular policy prescription. There are plenty of people who've done that, and done a great job of it.

His job, as he sees it, is to explain the various policy permutations available on health care reform. And there, he's done a great job.  

Ad astra, per aspera // Keep calm & carry on
http://www.rafaelnoboa.com


[ Parent ]
His job is at Washington Post. They pay him. (0.00 / 0)
And that explains a lot, imho. All his other brouhaha is phony. He held a different opinion when he still was an independent blogger.

[ Parent ]
Two sides of the same coin (0.00 / 0)
He had a different set of priorities when he was an independent blogger, as do I now that I'm an independent blogger as well.

When I worked for candidates and organizations, I had to modulate my opinons. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that. In fact, I lost a job precisely because I didn't. That was their prerogative.

You can claim that Ezra or I sold out, but that's a specious claim.

Ezra sees his role as being a neutral arbiter and explainer of policy prescriptions. You want him to take up the same role as Jane Hamsher and others at FireDogLake. All I'm saying is that in the orchestra of politics, you want different instruments playing complementary parts of the same tune, not 100 violins or trumpets playing the same melody.

That's not to say that either are wrong. In fact, I consider both to be right, and to be performing valuable tasks in this debate.

Ad astra, per aspera // Keep calm & carry on
http://www.rafaelnoboa.com


[ Parent ]
Well, "sold out" is prolly too harsh. (0.00 / 0)
And being a longtime readers and occional commenter (nowadays less than, say tow years ago) on Ezra's stuff, I even defended him when those allegations came up directly after he signed up with WaPo. But it can't be denied that his focus has changed, and maybe his attitude, too. He's on his best way to become totally owned by (and profiting from) the media. And while we need much more liberal pundits on TV and in the papers, it's also true that by gaining a friendly pundit there we also lose a much more outspoken blogger.

Is the net balance positive? I dunno...
But it has to be asked if adjusting not only the tone, but the message to the "serious people" having the power and the money, and then playing the smallest fiddle in the world in the great symphony "Progressivica" is really unavoidable. Isn't it possible to make a great carreer and yet speak truth to power? Rachel Maddow seems to be an example for that.


[ Parent ]
Agreed on Maddow... (0.00 / 0)
Hard to say about Ezra, since I've been reading him since '02-'03, and I'll grant your premise that his writing voice has changed.

I will say that my writing voice has changed as well. I've been writing my entire life, and I've been blogging fairly consistently since August 2001.

If you read my writing from back then, and you read my writing now, there are changes. For example, I'm no longer as aggressive as I used to be. I wince at some of the stuff I wrote back in '03 and '04, because it was really angry stuff.

As far as health care goes, I think Ezra argues from the perspective that passing this bill, however flawed, would be a progressive achievement. I find it hard to disagree with him on this.  

Ad astra, per aspera // Keep calm & carry on
http://www.rafaelnoboa.com


[ Parent ]
Strip him, flay him, abandon him.... (4.00 / 4)
...and he should pray daily that the Democrats don't ask for more, like his head on a pike.

He is neither Democrat nor Republican - he is merely the worst sort of Opportunist.

He no longer deserves to chair any committees.  

He only deserves our contempt.  


Agreed 100% (0.00 / 0)
If only we could literally flay him. :-D

[ Parent ]
How do we convince the Democratic leadership that they can afford to piss Lieberman off? (4.00 / 2)
Let me preface this by saying that I have expected Lieberman to do just this thing ever since the Medicare buy-in "compromise" was proposed. I even posted a quick hits to that very point.  

He is like a man pulling the string on ball and he's just keeps pulling it just a little further away as you get closer and then he keeps doing it over and over.

The man is a narcissistic snake.  

But I want to get health care passed and I want other bills to pass.  So how do we convince the leadership that they can circumvent Lieberman?

Reconcilation is the way to do this on the health care bill. Eliminating or reducing the filibuster to 55 is another way...another step further for this leadership

They think they need Lieberman for that 60th vote on lots of other procedural matters just to keep the wheels of the Senate moving.  

Sheldon Whitehouse came to NY and daid that 3/4 of the Senate's time has been devoted to nothing as the Republicans say they will filibuster and then all 60 votes are needed to end the filibuster.

They feel they need him just to get normal business done.

What do we say to them to convince leadership in the short team, i.e. this healthcare bill that Lieberman can be circumvented.

Reconciliation also has the benefit of making sure that Nelson can't negotiate some Stupak like language for his 60th vote...That would be wonderful.

So we can threaten - and I agree with that - but what arguments can we make to convince them that Joe is already not on their side and is just stringong them along?

Because they are still suffering under the delusion that he can still be there for them when they need him.

They need to know he's not.

They need to know they can pass legislation without him.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


That's the million dollar question. (0.00 / 0)
I say we send Reid a penny and a card.   Tell him this is ALL that he and the other Dems are getting in 2010 for relection unless they either get Joe in line or punish him and use reconcilliation.   You can even put in how much you usually send.    

Also, they sell a 1 pound bag of dried manure on Amazon for $13 shipped.   Enough people sending bags of that to Reid, Joe or someone will have an effect.    


[ Parent ]
"a penny and a card"? Let's send him the head of a dead horse! (0.00 / 0)
Really, I think more dramatic warnings are necessary to remind him he's TOAST in 2010 if he drags his feet any longer. He realistically only has the chance to make a huge stand against the obstructionists, and to go down fighting or emerge as a Phoenix out of the ashes of that battle. "Staying the cours" is the sure road to retirement for him! Let's make sure he gets that. No support whatever for him in his campaign if he refuses to fight now!

[ Parent ]
No... (0.00 / 0)
Mail him a brick.  

Every day.

No need to paint it gold or anything.

Every day.

Thousands of bricks.

Let him figure out what it means for himself.


[ Parent ]
Gray, you shock me! (0.00 / 0)
Such intemperate language!

One word of caution.  Find the head of an already dead horse.  I wouldn't sacrifice a live one for this.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm thinking to much in movie pictures, I guess. (0.00 / 0)
Actually, I thought about delivering the head onto his pillow, so that he can't miss the point, but I don't want to promote illegal actions here.

However, no sweat, of course I meant to get a corpse from the slaughtrhouse. That's why I wrote about a "dead horse".


[ Parent ]
I am of course greatly relieved :>) (0.00 / 0)


Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
I think the time for convincing is over (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Replace the Dems up for reelection next year with genuine progressives and they'll get the message. (0.00 / 0)
See my posts upthread.  I say we primary each and every Dem senator up for reelection next year, and just to be on the attack in the general, run indy candidates if our primary opponents fail to send the message.  This will require quick organizing, all the while vetting our chosen candidates to make sure we're not repeating the mistakes of 2006 and 2008, but it shouldn't be that difficult seeing as how we're only talking about a third of the Senate.  We can find indy candidates to run against GOP incumbents up for reelection as well, denying money and votes to any Dem candidates running for those seats if they don't commit to a chosen set of principles (single payer, ending the wars, regulating the hell out of corporations, real environmental reforms, repeal of DOMA and DADT, etcetera).

[ Parent ]
This is perhaps the most counterproductive thing I've ever heard (0.00 / 0)
You mean primary Feingold, Mikulski, Boxer, Schumer and Leahy and if that doesn't work, cause then to purposely lose?  

[ Parent ]
What have they done for you lately? (4.00 / 2)
Besides protecting the like of Lieberman and capitulating away substantive HCR?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Why is it counterproductive? (4.00 / 1)
If they sign the commitment to the key policy positions, we'll leave them alone.  If they refuse, we run primary opponents against them from the left.  And if that fails, we run indies in the general.  The point isn't necessarily to score an electoral victory, but to send a clear message to Democratic incumbents who've failed to live up to the expectations of the base that our support can no longer be taken for granted.  Otherwise, what have we got but more of the same: politicians who ignore us when they're not bashing us over the head?

[ Parent ]
Gotta disagree with Chris here (4.00 / 1)
Never thought I would echo George W. Bush, but we have reached the point where it is time to stop differentiating between problematic Senators like Joseph Lieberman and the other Senate Democrats who enable them.

I know we have to do something about this, but it's not accurate or helpful to equate the person doing the evil thing with the people who don't agree with it but are too timid or powerless to stop him.

I know it's fashionable to moan in despair at how we're alone and no one loves us, but there are at least a few Senators on our side.  Lashing out at them doesn't accomplish anything.


If they enable Lieberman (4.00 / 7)
how are they are our side?

The way I remember it, Bush was tying people together in a much more tenuous way - here we are talking about caucusing with someone and giving them a Senate chairmanship.  

Also, respond to what Chris said, not some set of emotions that may or may not be behind what Chris said. He was making a point about politics, not his feelings.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
Yeah, where is their opposition to Lieberman? (4.00 / 1)
Where are their public statements that this kind of sabotaging his own party got to have consequences? Where od they show that their willing to got to extremes to make the traitor irrelevant, and to get Senate afloat again?

Well, there's Harkin, god bless him, but who else?


[ Parent ]
Chris was equating being against the PO (0.00 / 0)
or holding up HCR, or whatever crimes Lieberman has committed, with not having done those crimes or agreed with them but not doing anything to Lieberman.

Well, that's just unfair.  The Senate structure (or that of any legislative body, really) is built to discourage openly hostile or antagonistic behavior.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't do anything about Lieberman; what I'm saying is that not having the balls to do anything about it does NOT count as tacit endorsement of Lieberman and his actions.  Neville Chamberlain may not be well-liked but who actually compares him to Hitler?

In terms of political retribution, I'm tentatively favorable to punishing Lieberman, e.g. by taking away his chairmanship.  But before we all go run out with our pitchforks, let's ask ourselves this: if Bernie Sanders was holding up legislation by himself because of an objection from the left, would we be equally angry/vindictive towards him?  If so, would we be pressuring Reid to take away any chairmanships he might have?


[ Parent ]
No he wasn't (0.00 / 0)
Read more carefully:

Lieberman flip-flipped because he can.  No matter what Lieberman does, the majority of the Democratic Senate caucus won't do anything about it.  Here is a quick review:

   * When Lieberman left the party, and ran as an Independent against the Democratic nominee in Connecticut, most Democratic Senators gave him a standing ovation.

   * When Lieberman endorsed John McCain, and campaigned with him throughout 2008, the Democratic Senate caucus overwhelmingly voted to allow him to keep his chairmanship.

   * When Lieberman blows up a hard-fought deal on health care legislation, the Senate Democratic leadership immediately declares that circumventing Lieberman through reconciliation is still not on the table:

The final path would be to try the reconciliation, the parliamentary procedure that would allow Democrats to pass chunks of health care reform by a simple up or down vote. There are a host of hurdles that come with going down this route, including questions over what, exactly, could be passed. And at this point both the White House and Reid's office seem hesitant to use the procedural tool, even after Lieberman's latest round of opposition.

"It is not on the table at this point," the source said. "We are still trying to go through regular order."

   If it is not on the table at this point, it is hard to imagine when it ever will be.

Nothing Lieberman is doing would be possible without the ongoing support of the majority of the Democratic caucus.  If Democratic Senators wanted to punish Lieberman for his consistent transgressions against the party, they could.   If Democrats wanted to use reconciliation, and just circumvent him altogether, they could do that to.  But they are not going to do either.

Chris was pretty clear about what he was saying.

Also this:

if Bernie Sanders was holding up legislation by himself because of an objection from the left, would we be equally angry/vindictive towards him?

Lieberman is holding up legislation for the sake of holding up legislation. (Nor is this his only sin against the party, which has been multifaceted and long standing.)  He is not bargaining in good faith. He objects to the costs but opposes things that will keep down costs.  He proposes things and then opposes them once others agree to it.  The answer to the question is if any member of the Democratic Caucus tried to bring down legislation for no reason other than to stick it to their fellow Democrats, yes it would be appropriate.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
None of this should be construed as a defense of Lieberman (0.00 / 0)
He can hang on the end of a noose for all I care.  But we can't allow our anger at Lieberman to inflict collateral damage on good Senate liberals.

1. A standing ovation is basically meaningless and irrelevant.

2. Allowing him to keep his chairmanship may have enabled and emboldened him to commit future crimes, but it's absurd to portray it as an actual endorsement of such.

3. There are plenty of good reasons to hesitate to use reconciliation, regardless of Lieberman's antics.

4. While Lieberman seems to have outright lied about the extent of his support, I don't think that he is motivated solely on the basis of pissing everyone off, though that is one of several primary goals of his.  Lieberman has always been an ideological conservative; he ran as one in 1988 and was against health care reform in 1994, long before Ned Lamont and Kos and us.  I think that he's motivated by his own ideological convictions on top of pissing us off.  So that means I think he's consistently held a single position - no public option, no Medicare whatever, no expansion of public insurance in general - even if he's lied to others about what that position was.

I'm not sure where exactly I'm going with this, except to say that we have to pick the targets of our ire carefully.  Don't blame the entire Senate Democratic caucus for Lieberman, especially when there's not a whole lot any Senator can do, except to take away committee assignments which could be a good idea (but it'd be the Senate leadership and Harry Reid who would get that ball rolling).


[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 2)
Many people were punished for not standing up to the Nazis...  The just following orders defense doesn't work.      

[ Parent ]
Somewhere between the guards at Dachau... (4.00 / 3)
and Barb Mikulski, I think the analogy falls apart.

[ Parent ]
Hmm, maybe, but let's not forget the banalities of evil! (4.00 / 1)
That's how it starts. And it can go downstream very fast from there.

[ Parent ]
Really, thinking more about it, this is like 1932 already. (4.00 / 4)
The teabagger party is alrady at 40%, according to polls. And instead of fighting the extremism tooth and nail, centrist democrats once again appease the crazies and seek their support for their own foolish fight against the left wing. In Germany, it took only one year from that point to the day the Nazis came into power.

[ Parent ]
And thinking even more about this, you only have to cut up Dems and GOP... (0.00 / 0)
...into more, but smaller parties, to see the similarity of the pictures:

The Dems fall apart into the Zentrists (Z), the Somewhat Progressive Division (SPD) and the Korrectly Progressive Divion (KPD). The GOP is divided into the Determinedly Nationalistic Volokh Party (DNVP) and the Nationalistic Severely Deranged Assholes Party (NSDAP). Naderites and Libertarians go into the smaller parties, representing about 8% of the voters.

Et, voilà! Same as in Germany. And Sadolfine Palin is as nuts as Hitler, too. Where's the big difference?


[ Parent ]
Big difference (0.00 / 0)
The US is already the world police force and has military bases throughout the world. Way ahead of the Nazis on those fronts.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Well, the Nazis would have loved that! (0.00 / 0)
And it certainly wouldn't have prevented them from seeking power in that nation.

[ Parent ]
Probably not (4.00 / 1)
Never seems to be a deficit of dipsticks looking around for ways to take power and use it to keep other people down, or simply execute them outright. One might conclude that such is human nature.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Is reconciliation viable? (4.00 / 1)
I completely agree about Lieberman. He's human waste; he should be kicked out of the caucus so that the public stops believing that Democrats have 60 real votes.

My question is why the White House and leadership are still not putting reconciliation on the table. My sense is that they want some kind of public option or Medicare-related tradeoff in the bill. And yet they're rejecting this procedural tactic, even as Lieberman is suggesting that they get nothing on this high priority. The thing is that reconciliation is an enigma--knowledgeable people often assert that no one knows what a bill that goes through reconciliation would look like. But I have to think, based on this latest development, that the White House and Reid's office do have some idea of what they'd get out of reconciliation, and that whatever it is simply isn't acceptable.

I wish there was better reporting on reconciliation and what it would entail, but maybe that's not possible? You often here that it's more or less at the discretion of the Senate Parliamentarian, but don't people have any idea at all what a hypothetical reconciliation bill would look like?


It's not very viable... (0.00 / 0)
...'cos anything not budget related still needs 60 votes... so forget it...

However, I think the medicare expansion would be very easy to do via reconciliation, and we have an education bill sitting and waiting to be added onto just for that, after healthcare passes... assuming it will pass...  

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
And what about if th bill was made business neutral? (4.00 / 1)
Corrxt me if I'm wrong, but why not just finance the subsidies with an additional tax? For instance, a tax on every stock transaction, lik the idea that Krugman supports? Wouldn't that allow the whole bill to pass through reconciliation, or am I mistaken about that?

[ Parent ]
Uh, budget neutral, of course! (4.00 / 1)
Sry, only half awake. Need more coffee!

[ Parent ]
With steel-toed boots... (4.00 / 8)
TBogg:

Lieberman told Reid this afternoon, after a contentious appearance on Face the Nation, that he's a "no" vote on the new compromise unless the Medicare buy-in is stripped, and he's not even waiting for the CBO to weigh in-a move one leadership aide described as "extremely unfair."

"Extremely unfair"? Really? We're hiring thirteen year-old girls as leadership aides these days? "OMG! That is so totally un-fair!" Really?

At this point Harry Reid should have moved on from stripping Lieberman of his committee assignments and he should be contemplating just grabbing the guy and kicking him in the nuts until he passes out.

Guaranteed jury nullification. Even if it was shown on pay-per-view.



Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

bravo (4.00 / 1)
What we need to start doing is taking action against the Democrats who enable Lieberman and his ilk.  If other Senate Democrats are not going to do anything about Lieberman taking control of the entire caucus, then really, what is the difference between those other Senators and Joe Lieberman?

Exactly.  Very similar to my attitude towards the Democratic representatives who voted for the health bill even though it included Stupak.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


Playing in a Senate near you... (4.00 / 2)
Just in time for Christmas, Joe Lieberman as...

The Grinch who Stole Health Care

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch...


Hehehe, good one, Leshrac! (4.00 / 1)
This should be turned into an ad!
:D

[ Parent ]
Except it is NOT Lieberman. (0.00 / 0)
It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault.It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault. It is not Lieberman's fault.

The fault belongs to the ENTIRE Democratic Party Caucus who allow this criminal usurpation of democracy to cripple a great nation.


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Come on, HoP, don't exaggrate! It's Lieberman's fault, too. (4.00 / 1)
Other offenders also apply.

[ Parent ]
Let's exploit them as the grinch party! (4.00 / 1)
Remember, Scrooge wasn't the only grinch, either. He was just the one Dickens chose as the exhibit showing the ugly character of those people.

[ Parent ]
Its worse than Grinch, it is treason. (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Hmm, so make this an ad about Guy Joekes and his conspirators? (0.00 / 0)
Ok, but that will result in lsong that nice christmans touch...

[ Parent ]
The filibuster was NEVER intended to usurp all legislation, that is the way it being used. (0.00 / 0)
It was put in to allow a "few days" of reconsideration. Now it is put in to prevent democracy.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I know, I know, HoP. You're preaching to the choir. (0.00 / 0)
And I'm a horrible singer!
:D

[ Parent ]
I am furious and near despair for democracy. (0.00 / 0)
If democracy cannot survive now, here, in this America, then it cannot survive anywhere.

This is very important, far more important than Health Care reform.

The destruction of healthcare reform is just a symptom.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I see, I see. But pls don't direct that frya towards us. (0.00 / 0)
Afaik OpenLeft commenters bear no responsibility for the sad state of the nation. Hmm, or... Are there any Senators here today? Stone them!

[ Parent ]
God lord, there is nothing my posts about anyon, except the responsibility of the Senate Democrats being responsible. (4.00 / 1)
I cannot read my posts as anger, I made sure to absolve you personally from repeating the lie that it is impossible to get rid of the filibuster. It is not your fault. People who should know better have made this lie.

We must not believe it.

It is the way toward democracy, it is not hard, it is simple and necessary to restoring democracy. 50 + 1

Hear my shout that it is a lie as good news that you would be happy to hear!!!

Dont worry Gray!! Thats a LIE!!!

in solidarity HoPPy

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
me too (0.00 / 0)
In my view, the problem for representative government is the almost irresistable temptation of such HUGE amounts of cash and individual empowerment offered representatives to sell out the people in favor of the wealthy. Seems like in one or a few terms an individual can garner enough financial resorses to last several generations of his family.

Humans are just not equiped to resist that level of temptation for long, at least not many are.

Jesus Christ didn't require this fortitude of his followers, and implored them to flee temptation; an aknowledgement of human weekness.

Perhaps our primary effort should be limiting the truely EVIL influence of money in our politics.

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob..... FDR


[ Parent ]
Maybe a more positive message is better: Now is the time for all good men... (0.00 / 0)
...to come to defeat Joe Lieberman!

[ Parent ]
It is my point that it is NOT Joes fault. (0.00 / 0)
We do not need to defeat joe to restore democracy, we need to end the filibuster as a new rule that everything needs 60 votes to pass. That is a lie. There is also a lie that we need 60 votes to get rid of the filibuster.

Dont worry Gray it is doable, but we msut demand it form our caucus.

Dont fight Joe the asshat---
DEMAND THE END OF THE DEMOCRACY KILLING FILIBUSTER.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
"Dont fight Joe the asshat" - Why not? It's fun! (4.00 / 1)
Really, HoP, there can't be any real dispute about the bad Joeke being one of the problems for the Dems, and that the party would be better of if he is gone. That other Senators with their appeasing, if not conspirating stance ar also problems is true, but doesn't make the other point involid.

So, pls don't command people around not to pick on "Joelier than thou" Lieberman. Maybe it's only me, but this comes through as passiv aggresive and authoritarian. Just let everyone pick on the Senators he/she hates most, ok?


[ Parent ]
I dont understand your post. (0.00 / 0)
I am, loudly, vociferously urging people to stop focusing on the fact that Joe votes against a bill, because that is NOT the important point.

It isnt a command, because I dont control the keyboard at anyones computer, I dont bann, I dont troll rate and I have absolutuely no power at all. I have onlky the power of making as strong a case as possible.

There is a mistake being made, by progressives, by the best possible people to return democracy to America. It doesnt feel like a mistake, because it is attacking soemone who deserves an attack, but does nothing. Attacking Joe, who deserves having all Cttee chairs removed, being defeated in an election, being ridiculed publicly, does nothing. It will not return the right of elected people to govern to our houses of congress.

I am saying, in the most forceful way possible, that there is a solution, it isnt hard to do, and it moves toward democracy, and it could be done today, this afternoon.

Blaming Lieberman is a use of anger to prevent action. If we act, if we demand, if know thr ight direction to go, the problem of Lieberman is just the problem of one more uneeded vote sitting on the side of the house.

Just another loser trying to get power.

Emphasis is not control.

Bash Lieberman in your spare time, talking about Joe when we have work to do is like..... playing computer games. Fun but pointless.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Uh, I give up, HoP. (0.00 / 0)
I'll try again delivering my point later, after a cool down period.

[ Parent ]
heartbreaking (0.00 / 0)
I think we need to destroy Lieberman but probably won't have that opportunity this week.

Obama needs to fix this. I don't see where else to turn. Like someone said-the buck stops at the top.

I still have a wee bit of faith in the gals from Bar Harbor.


There is only one way to go. Toward democracy. Our democracy has been stolen, it must be returned. (0.00 / 0)
Toward democracy means ending the filibuster, or returning it to its purpose which was (WAS, not what it is now) which was a way to slow down legislation so it could be considered more, it was supposed to add a few days to consideration. Now it is used like a Bank vault, like a sledgehammer, like a gun at a knife fight.

The term filibuster was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning pirate or freebooter. This term had evolved from the French word flibustier, which itself evolved from the Dutch vrijbuiter (freebooter). This term was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who sought to overthrow the governments of Central American states, and was transferred to the users of the filibuster, seen as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate.[1]

END THE FILIBUSTER NOW, RETURN DEMOCRACY TO AMERICA.

It was created with a 50% +1 rule change, it can be removed with a 50% +1 rule change

END THE FILIBUSTER NOW, RETURN DEMOCRACY TO AMERICA.

Chris is right. There is no difference between any democrat that allows Lieberman to stop this and Lieberman. If you support keeping the filibuster the way it is, you are a Republican, you are a member of the party of no.

End the filibuster now.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
And when the GOP regains control of the Senate and has the ability to ram legislation down our throats with 51 votes, what then? (0.00 / 0)
Eliminating the filibuster is not an option.  Like it or not, it is the last, best tool we have for blocking bad legislation.  I really don't understand why anyone thinks this is a good idea.

[ Parent ]
If they have 51 votes, they can do that anyway. (0.00 / 0)
Remember, they have a much "better" party unity than the Dems (imho that's because every wannabe rebels knows the very real consqences). And only the fact that so many Dem sellouts were available to pass their bills prevented them from nuking years ago.

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what your reasoning on this is. (0.00 / 0)
The GOP is supposed to use any and all means at its disposal to block legislation it doesn't like.  That's the whole point of being an opposition party.  And yes, they do have much better party unity than do the Democrats.  I just feel that what you and HouseOfProgress are advocating is incredibly shortsighted.  What you're proposing may seem convenient for now, but it isn't all that far-fetched to realize that Dems are looking to blow it in 2010 and 2012, which means the GOP will have a field day passing whatever they want if your desire becomes reality.  Better to focus on eliminating conservative Democrats from the Senate than on eliminating a tactic we'll probably need a few years from now.

Side note: If Reid weren't so bloody accommodating of Republican filibuster threats, made them show up for a quorum call and go on record, maybe that wouldn't be so big an issue.  Johnson would have made the bastards work for their victory, or made them his bitches.


[ Parent ]
LiA, the point is, ONCE the GOP has the majority in Senate again... (0.00 / 0)
...they can get rid of the filibuster by nuking it in no time! See, the filibuster ISN'T a safeguard for the Dems, that would allow to block horrible rethuglican bills and nominations. If something is really important for the GOP, they would crush the Dem opposition by killing the filibuster, no doubt about it.

See, now? The filibuster is no solid safeguard for the Dems if the damn rightwingers rule again! But it keeps progressives from passing good legislation now. So, why not get rid of it, better sooner than later?


[ Parent ]
Your argument isn't making sense. (0.00 / 0)
Because the GOP would like to eliminate the filibuster -- the last, best means of preventing bad legislation from passing with a simple 51-vote majority -- you want to beat them to the punch and make things easier for them for when they return to power?  Is that what you're reduced to arguing?  Because if that's so, then you really might want to rethink your position on this.

Convenience is no justification for weakening democratic government.


[ Parent ]
This is not "weakening democratic government"! (0.00 / 0)
The excutive has nothing to do with this, this is about the legislative. And, no, this isn't democratic lawmaking, either. "democratic" means 50 votes, not 60. And then, this isn't Democratic lawmaking, too! What they have on the table is GOP light, not Democratic.

As for the filibuster issue, I guess we won't reach a common point. We have too different opinions on that.


[ Parent ]
Oh yes it is weakening democratic government. (0.00 / 0)
Like it or not, the filibuster is very much a part of democratic government.  Without it, the danger of tyranny of the majority -- even if that majority is only by a tiny sliver -- is always present.  Like it or not, the filibuster forces the party in power to address the concerns of the party in opposition.  Take that away, and there's no incentive to govern on behalf of all Americans; it'll just be government of, by, and for one segment of society, and the next time we're in that opposing segment to the party in power, we'll want that last bit of democracy in place.

What you're forgetting is that the 51-vote requirement to pass legislation is already in place.  It is already possible, if not likely, to get legislation through with a simple majority.  It's only a lack of will on the part of Senate Democratic leaders that prevents this from being done.  


[ Parent ]
Obama wants to stay out of it (4.00 / 3)
and has for a long time. Why I don't know, but none of the most likely explanations make Obama look good.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Here's why.... (4.00 / 2)
Obama has always been a Political Lurker...always in the picture, but never out front, never leading the charge.

Even his "famous" speech on Iraq (the one he went back and re-recorded...even with crowd noises because no one bothered when he actually delivered it) resulted in not a single attempt by BO to end the war once he got into the Senate.  But then, he was so busy on day one running for his next promotion he forgot that little issue, didn't he?

I remember reading about him running into committee members on their way to a press conference about something they had just accomplished.  He said, "What's up" and they told him and he said, "Can I come along"?  They said sure - they wanted people on the podium for pictures and then he had the audacity (whoops!) to take the mic and speak as if he had been personally involved in the accomplishment.  Staffers were pissed as hell at what he did.

He lurked in CT in 2006 (never really coming out and supporting Ned Lamont).  He always has and still lurks on pro-choice (using weasel words and voting present).  He lurks on race (demanding a dialog and then saying we should all move on - pun intended!).

Where in the world does he really stand on things?  He doesn't...because he's always lurking waiting to see which way the wind is blowing before he takes - even an initial - stand.  That's why it took him days and weeks respond to things during the primary.

"President" Barack Obama still has no convictions.  Therefore he has no policies.  And therefore, he will never have any plans for anything that requires him to stake out his convictions.


[ Parent ]
The filibuster is not Obama's fault. (4.00 / 1)
The filibuster is the Democratic Caucus's fault. The BLame, ALL the blame, every square inch of the fault is in the Democratic party Caucus who have abdicated responsibility to govern. They could at thye drop of a hat retake the right to govern, but they do not.

They are cowards, and do not deserve the name Democrat.


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
It's Obama's fault because he is the leader..... (4.00 / 1)
of the Democratic Party and he is not and has not ever led the party once since elected.

When will those who pray at the altar of Obama admit that he is NOT a progressive, he is a republican in Democratic clothes and he is not a leader.

You hoped.  You lost.


[ Parent ]
Crap. Just plain crap. (0.00 / 0)
And useless crap too.

It is the fault of the entire Democratic Party Senate Caucus, and the way forward toward democracy, removing the hijacking of OUR government, the filibuster.

Kill the filibuster, save democracy.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I don't see how this is productive to the conversation. (0.00 / 0)
Kill the filibuster, and you kill democracy.  And responding to a legitimate comment with profanity isn't going to convince anyone that you are right, but it probably will get you dismissed as an overzealous and hostile loony by others.

[ Parent ]
I don't believe it for a minute. (4.00 / 2)
Lieberman and Reid had an agreement that would let Reid say they had a deal when he knew all along that Lieberman would bolt - it gave Reid 10 days to puff up and strut (as if this crap bill is anything to strut about) before Lieberman did his deed.

And remember - Obama supported Lieberman in the famous CT election - he never once set foot in CT to support Ned Lamont (he even went from NY to Mass for his friend Deval - by train and with a day in between gigs - and never made a campaign stop.  And when he authorized a last minute e-mail, he went crazy when it went to a wider list of Dems than he claimed he authorized).  

Obama and Lieberman and Reid.  An Axis of Stupid.


Obama supported the democratic candidate, until he was not the democrat. (0.00 / 0)
He gave Lamont the maximum donation when he got the Democratic Nomination.

Criticism is important, accuracy is more important.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Not totally true.... (4.00 / 1)
Obama did not endorse the Dem Candidate.  I was in CT.  I walked, talked, donated, rallied, blogged my heart out for Lamont and everything I said in my comment was common knowledge.

Barack Obama stayed as far away from Lamont as he could possibly get.  I was particularly sorry to see Ned endorse Obama in 2008.

Hillary and Bill gave Lamont the max donation, too.  And they never set foot in CT for an endorsement even though they live in Chappaqua (I lived there myself for 18 years) and it's only 15 miles from the CT state line and they probably went to dinner in Greenwich numerous.

The Democratic Party backed Lieberman except for token monetary donations.  Obama was the most visible Dem (up and comer) in the Party and he made it quite clear by his omissions that he supported his mentor, Joe Lieberman.

Hey - now he got what he hoped for.


[ Parent ]
Puma (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I am sorry for calling you a puma. (0.00 / 0)
Not good.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I am sorry for calling you a puma. (0.00 / 0)
Not good.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I was a life-long Democrat. No more. (4.00 / 1)
That's how serious I take what is going on.


[ Parent ]
hahah-- so what are you now? (0.00 / 0)
so you are a puma?

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
No. I'm one of those Dems who won't vote. (4.00 / 1)
You know, one of the 40% who won't bother anymore.

[ Parent ]
I feel for your fatigue and frustration, but no one ever said this was going to be easy. (0.00 / 0)
"I am useless, but my shame makes me try and prevent others from acting as well, so my shame will be spread even further, it won't dilute my shame, but I will have company."

It is not a very rousing call to inaction.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
You're not really making a case. (0.00 / 0)
Attacking people by calling them "PUMAs" when they express their disillusionment isn't the way to win allies or influence people.  I notice that this is something of a pattern with you.  Why, after all the letdowns, should we stay with the Democrats?  Is this Open Left, or is it Open Democratic Party?  Somehow I don't think it's the latter.

[ Parent ]
I do not have to make a case to work as hard as I can, as we all can, (0.00 / 0)
to keep the republicans from power.

There is no other duty so strong.

Next is to remove the Conrads, Liebermans and Nelsons so that democrats, and Democrats, can govern.

If that is not clear to you, you need cleaner glasses.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
You do if you want to convince people over to your way of thinking. (0.00 / 0)
But maybe that's not your intent.  I've met my share of people who are only concerned with telling people what and how to think on a given subject as opposed to actually making a case for why they should do it.  I guess you fall into that category.

[ Parent ]
I meant, obviously, that the case for working to prevent republican rule is a priori (0.00 / 0)
I meant, that the case does not need to be made.

And welcome to openleft, or welcome back, if you have been recently banned.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
AND, I will never forgive Obama.... (4.00 / 1)
....for what he didn't do in Connecticut.  

I never put my heart and soul into any election as much as the one to unseat Lieberman.  And we could have beaten the bastard if someone with balls had stood up and done the right thing.  Obama had his chance and he failed miserably.  Much like I am seeing right now.


[ Parent ]
P.U.M.A. (4.00 / 1)
Party Unity My Ass

That is PRECISELY what needs to be said to Mr. Lieberman.

He has clearly broken ranks with the Democratic Party and the calls to protect him are calls to Party Unity. My Ass! Why should Party Unity be extended to Lieberman?

Same for those who want someting more substantive than the current HCR bill. It is the calls for Party Unity that keep them in line and voting against the interests of their consituents. My Ass! If the bill fails to address the issues in a comprehensive way. You bet My Ass I'd vote against it, even as the corporoDems and blogs scream about Party Unity.



"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Or something . . . (0.00 / 0)
What needs to be done is to govern, to stop pretending they need Lieberamns vote, they do not, it is a fallacy, and they need to be held accountable. End the filibuster forever.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
The Senator from Aetna (4.00 / 2)
hy di you call Lieberman independent? He is owned by Aetna. He is the Senator  representing Aetna.

And Aetna, of course, is that muy sympatico heathcare insurance company... (4.00 / 2)
...that so much regrets it simply has to raise its premiums, probably resulting in kicking 600000 customers into the cold. The company is so sorry, but they can't help it, those folks are standing in their way towards higher profits! And those trump everything, of course:
http://www.examiner.com/x-8543...

Really, what's not to, uh, well, let's be honest, HATE?


[ Parent ]
This is no surprise! (4.00 / 1)
If not Lieberman, than it would be Ben Nelson.  He has also threatened a filibuster without the Stupak language, which has already been defeated in an up or down vote.  Lincoln and Landrieu are not sure votes either.

The only way to have fixed this was to not take reconciliation off the table without a blood oath from all 60 that they would never vote against cloture on HCR.  Once Reid took that off the table all these Senators were free to act however they wanted.

This is disgusting, but emanantly predictable.  I have figured for months now that the bill would not get through, or would be so watered down that it would be worthless by the time it got through.

Terribly disappointed, and not sure how we get past this.


If Lieberman keeps it up, (4.00 / 1)
maybe Reid, Rahm and Obama will make him POTUS.  

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