Will Joe Lieberman Vote Against Health-Care Reform?
This morning, Joe Lieberman told Don Imus that he couldn't vote for the Senate Finance Committee's bill. "I may have made a major error focusing on red state Democrats and overlooking Lieberman," writes Jonathan Chait.
I could be proven wrong on this, but I'm not that worried about Lieberman. His name hasn't come up in any of the conversations I've had with Senate staffers about wavering members. And Democrats actually have a lot of leverage over Lieberman. They're in the majority, and likely to stay that way. He's chairman of a committee that he wants to keep, and that he needs Democratic votes to retain. Nor does he have enough friends left in the Senate to protect himself from reprisals if he defects on such a high-profile vote. In fact, plenty of Democrats would be all too glad to strip him of his power and prove that there are consequences for crossing the party. That would make his remaining years in office pretty miserable.
And for what? It may be that Lieberman's anger is such that he means to launch a kamikaze mission against health-care reform, but that's not been evident in his actions thus far. Meanwhile, Snowe's presence on the bill means his defection is unlikely to kill the legislation but certain to make the next few years of his life unpleasant. Ironically, for such a steadfast Middle East hawk, it's a lot like why even a nuclear Iran is deterrable: Lieberman has too much to lose, too little to gain, and hasn't proven himself irrational thus far.
Photo credit: By Chip Somodevilla -- Getty Images
October 13, 2009; 4:37 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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