Sunday, November 1, 2009

FREAK OF THE WEEK: U.S. Sen. Joe “Can you believe I used to be a Democrat?” Lieberman

File this one under: Still freaky after all these years.

Hard to believe that Sen. Joe Lieberman was once the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate back in 2000. But the years have not been kind to Lieberman. And in return, Lieberman has not been kind back.

Things really came to a head in 2006, when Democratic primary voters in his home state of Connecticut gave him the heave-ho, choosing the much more liberal Ned Lamont over the incumbent. But Lieberman did not go gentle into that good night. Instead, after losing, he launched an independent campaign – and won (with much Republican support).

Democrats were willing to play nice, however, and allowed Lieberman to keep his seniority as long as Lieberman caucused with the Democrats, becoming an “Independent Democrat” (whatever that means).

Then what did he do? Endorse Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama last year, even speaking at the GOP convention.

And yet, he still wanted to be welcomed back in the Democratic fold.

Now …. oops, he’s done it again.

Lieberman announced this past week that he would break ranks with the Democrats and not try to stop a Republican filibuster of health care reform if said reform included a so-called “public option.” (His support is particularly important since the Democrats need the entire 60-member caucus to block a filibuster.)

Strangely, his latest decision comes after years of voicing support for health care reform, including universal coverage. He has even called health care reforms “centrist” (a favorite buzzword of his).

Now, Lieberman argues that the public option is a bad idea because it would raise the deficit and increase taxes (which is false, but that’s a whole other issue).

Of course, Lieberman hails from the state that is the insurance capital of the country. So he was willing to say he supported health care reforms when it wasn’t a reality, but now that push is coming to shove, he is backing down and undermining the principle of universal coverage.

Nice to know that the older Lieberman gets, the freakier he becomes.