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How Joe Lieberman helped the Democrats lose the election

By Ezra Klein

Since the election, there's been a lot of talk about what President Obama and the Democratic leadership could've done differently. I offered six ideas here. But there's been rather less discussion of what individual legislators could've done differently. Consider, for example, Joe Lieberman.

The health-care law doesn't really kick into effect until 2014. There are a couple of reasons for that. The most legitimate is that it takes some time to properly set up exchanges and subsidies, to dialogue with the industry and advocacy groups so the regulations work for both consumers and providers, and to give the various stakeholders time to adjust to the new rules and transition smoothly.

The less legitimate -- but perhaps more important -- reason was that self-described moderates in Congress (and eventually the President of the United States) arbitrarily decided that the bill shouldn't spend more than $900 billion over its first 10 years, no matter whether the bill cut and taxed its way to deficit neutrality. But for the system to work, it would have to spend more than that implied on a per-year basis. So the legislation's architects simply delayed its start. That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending. That got them to a per-year number that could actually work.

The problem, of course, is that this meant the bill didn't begin delivering benefits until 2014. But it was always possible to add provisions that would begin earlier, and thus would give the legislation supporters more quickly. A few of these -- for instance, allowing parents to keep children on their insurance until age 26 -- made it into the final law. But the most promising idea didn't. And it was Joe Lieberman's fault.

Late in the negotiations over the public option, a group of five conservative Democrats and five more-liberal Democrats seemed near to an unexpectedly smart compromise: Allow adults over 55 to buy into Medicare. This idea had a couple of different virtues: For one, it opened an effective and cheap program up to a group of Americans who often have the most trouble finding affordable insurance. For another, the Congressional Budget Office has said this policy would improve Medicare's finances by bringing healthier, younger applicants into the risk pool. Oh, and it's wildly popular with liberals, who want to see Medicare offered as an option to more people, and since Medicare is already up and running, it could've been implemented rapidly.

But Lieberman killed it. It was never really clear why. He'd been invited to the meetings where the compromise was developed, but he'd skipped them. He'd supported the idea when he ran for president with Al Gore, and he'd reaffirmed that support three months prior to its emergence in the health-care debate during an interview with the editorial board of the Connecticut Post. But now that it was on the table, he seemed to be groping for reasons to oppose it. About the best he managed was that it was "duplicative," which was about as nonsensical a position as could be imagined. Nevertheless, he swore to filibuster the bill if the buy-in option was added. The proposal was duly removed.

It's easy to say that this made for worse policy. Medicare buy-in was a smart, helpful idea that should've been included in the legislation. It's harder to say whether it had a defined political cost in the election: Liberals would've been a lot happier if they'd managed to add this to the law, and maybe more of them would've turned out to vote. Seniors might've been pleased to see Medicare's finances improved, and many of the people who would've been helped by the new rule would've been, well, their children. The law could've begun delivering benefits earlier, and maybe that would've helped its popularity. Polls of doctors and the public have repeatedly shown broad support for making Medicare available to more Americans.

Put all this together and it might've saved a few seats, or perhaps it wouldn't have saved any seats at all. Or maybe it would've changed everything. At any rate, it's the sort of thing that might've made a difference, and its absence was the result of one senator's incoherent intransigence. We're pretty used to looking for what the White House did wrong, and what the congressional leadership did wrong, but in a Senate where there were 60 Democrats for a time, there are a lot of cases where the decisions of one or two individual senators made a big difference to legislative outcomes. They deserve scrutiny, too.

By Ezra Klein  | November 11, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Health Reform  
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Comments

It's not Liebermann's fault.

It's Obama's fault.

He refuses to state what he believes in and refuses to fight for anything.

The reason so many conspiracy theories exist about him is because Obama refuses to say anything himself or to be clear about his ideas, beliefs, plans, etc.

The GOP is having a field day perpetrating any lie they wish, knowing that Obama won't speak up in his own defense.

For example, many people now believe Obama is fighting for elimination of SS benefits for anyone who has paid off their mortgage, the rationale being it's a form of means testing.

Wanna know why no one knows Obama had their taxes cut? Because Obama didn't tell them.

Wanna know why it took a year for Congress to pass the health law? Because Obama sat on the sidelines watching.

Wanna know why people are saying Obama wants to eliminate SS? Because he hired some idiots who are now saying we need to cut SS and also because Obama has never clearly or frequently old us what he will and will not protect.

Wanna know why gays voted for the GOP? Because Obama says one thing about DADT but then has his justice dept fighting reform.

Wanna know why the media keeps flip flopping on his stance about extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Because Obama is not clear what he will fight for and refuses to promise a veto of any plan that includes tax cuts for the wealthy.

And so on.

Posted by: lauren2010 | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, I think the solution here is for 26 Democratic Senators (current caucus is 51 + 2 independents) to propose a new caucus rule that the caucus leader can remove you from all committee assignments for failure to vote with party on procedural matters.
That won't happen under Reid, however, unless he's blindsided by it.

Posted by: ctown_woody | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course, your unspoken assumption is that Lieberman wanted to see healthcare reform succeed, Obama succeed, the Democratic party succeed. Are you aware of any evidence for that?

Posted by: bcamarda2 | November 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course, one could say Lieberman is partially Obama's fault.

"Obama endorses Lieberman for Senate, Apr. 1, 2006":
http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/04/02/164/90446

Posted by: treetop3 | November 11, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I vote/nominate Max Baucus for single-handedly destroying this presidency. He kept deliberating on the bill for way too long in order to get most leverage with the lobbyists. This in turn allowed the crazy scenes to occur during the recess. All the concessions made to the republicans lead to no where. The delay and the recess shenanigans really drew the ire of both left and right, and also prevented cap and trade from happening, which was to be the next item on the agenda followed by DADT. If things had happened fast, Joe would have had less ability to water down the bill and the democrats and the president would be in a much better situation now. This is my opinion and I am sticking to it!

Posted by: ns3k | November 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is a case where I think the media should have drawn more attention to what Lieberman was doing and forced him to defend his position. One senator should not have the power to arbitrarily kill such a promising proposal without being held accountable by the press or even his own party.

Posted by: mtgreen | November 11, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

I've got to say that this is a load of crap and you know it. In fact you say it yourself. It takes time to restructure 1/6th of the economy. For goodness sakes the Federal government and states can't even get the high risk pools right.


Most liberal groups point to the public option as to why they were despondent about the elections. that was finally admitted recently that this was bargained away from the White House at hospitals wishes. You want to place a lion's share of the blame somewhere put it there. If there was at least a public option it certainly wouldn't be in place yet but at least you could have gotten some liberals to go out and vote. Now that being said that also would have I believe pushed more conservatives to vote than did as well so there's two sides to that story.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 11, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

He deserves scrutiny? more like he deserves a swift kick in the tukas.

The reason he opposed the medicare buy-in is no mystery. His wife is a health care lobbyist. They opposed this measure because it would deprive them of quite a few customers.

Posted by: lcrider1 | November 11, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you do read your comments!

Posted by: flounder2 | November 11, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Ezra - Lieberman saw the light - that's what happened. Medicare is a bancrupt, unsustainable system that needs to be destroyed - not added to and Joe Lieberman now knows that. Wake up and smell the coffee!!

Posted by: jimkearney19761 | November 11, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman represents the interests of insurance companies... always has. Ohh, and Isreal. If this were about extending healthcare to Jews, he'd be all in.

Posted by: WmLaney | November 11, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Connecticut Democrats had sense enough to primary old Joe (Liebermann, Party of One).

Sadly, statewide, this logic did not prevail. Well, Spectre is gone, maybe Joe is next; coming up next cycle, we'll see.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | November 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending. "

Yep, its well known that lefties are lying dirtbags.

Posted by: krazen1211 | November 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I did not realize that Joe Lieberman had that type of power.

Maybe the Democrats brought it on themselves, huh!!
Seems they forgot who elected them to office!!

The Republicans seem to going the same way already, with ideas that someone gave them a mandate.

Both political parties are just plain ego centered and oblivious to the American voter.

Posted by: bkarpus | November 11, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"The less legitimate -- but perhaps more important -- reason was that self-described moderates in Congress (and eventually the President of the United States) arbitrarily decided that the bill shouldn't spend more than $900 billion over its first 10 years, no matter whether the bill cut and taxed its way to deficit neutrality. But for the system to work, it would have to spend more than that implied on a per-year basis. So the legislation's architects simply delayed its start. That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending."

Ezra, you are mistaken, It was the President who committed to 900 billion first not the othe way around. From Peter Orzag on the OMB website 6/8/09:

"In particular, the President has already put forward in his budget specific proposals to generate $635 billion for health care reform – with roughly half coming from Medicare and Medicaid efficiencies and half from limiting the itemized deduction rate for the wealthiest Americans to what it was when Ronald Reagan was President. In addition, last week in a letter to Senators Baucus and Kennedy, the President wrote that he will be laying out an additional $200 billion to $300 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings. That will take our total "pay-fors" to approximately $900 billion or more, and put us in a good position to fully fund health reform in a deficit neutral way."


Furthermore, you yourself were pretty happy with the number at one time. From your column on 9/8/09:


"That said, $900 billion is still less money than you really want for this plan. Something around $1.2 trillion is a better bet for doing this right. . . . But the fact that we're talking about $900 billion as opposed to $700 billion means we're in a much better place than we could have been."


Finally, the Medicare buy-in would have made this even more of a financial disaster since the actual number of estimated Medicare provider cuts was 250 billion over 10 years. We now know, and everyone admits, these will not only never happen, but the payments to providers will increase.

Since the total estimated savings in the bill was 140 billion, you're somewhere around 100 billion in the red before the ink was dry, even without an increase in Medicare payments

A surprisingly sloppy and poorly researched column coming from you Ezra.


Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman ... Oh yes. Didn't he campaign for McCain?

I would have stripped him of all his committee privileges, at least as chairman. And assigned him to a seat in the back of the Senate. In other words, make him earn back his position to any leadership post.

Oh ... isn't he also the Senator from Israel, who may actually aspire to be a Republican, anyway?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | November 11, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I am a diehard liberal. I voted for Obama, but now, I can't stand the man. The man has linguini for spine. I hope he fails. I hope he gets a primary challenge in 2012. The man we all came out for took our hopes and dashed them. He took lame victories in order to rack up accomplishments. Barack Obama is a joke and I hope he loses. What a jerk!!!

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | November 11, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Extremely sloppy work, Ezra, as others have noted.

Posted by: scarlota | November 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Journolist rationalization is getting better and better.

It was policy!

No, the policy is good. It was the communication.

No, the communication was good., it was Republican lies.

No, it was an independent Senator not running for election.

All funny!

The sad part?

By the time we reach October in 2012 they will be back to calling the voters a bunch of stupid racist.

I wonder if the Washington Post will still be business by then.

Posted by: TECWRITE | November 11, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman would have loved a filibuster. This pompous guy loves to hear himself talk -- on and on and on, slowly, self-importantly. A filibuster: perfect tool for a grandstanding windbag to show us all how bushing profound he is. As if.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | November 11, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I wish you hadn't reminded me of Lieberman's duplicity. It makes me angry. I would personally have bought into the Medicare for 55's plan, and lifted the burden of being uninsured off myself. We were so proud of this man back when he ran as Veep. Now he is just another smug ego-driven stooge.

Posted by: gposner | November 11, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, did you know this before the legislation was passed in Congress? Those of us on the right side of the political spectrum actually knew all this back then!

"The less legitimate -- but perhaps more important -- reason was that self-described moderates in Congress (and eventually the President of the United States) arbitrarily decided that the bill shouldn't spend more than $900 billion over its first 10 years, no matter whether the bill cut and taxed its way to deficit neutrality."

Posted by: Hazmat77 | November 11, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Hazmat:

BUT, it is in no way deficit neutral, as any honest estimate would tell you. See above.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

ctown_woody

"Yeah, well, I think the solution here is for 26 Democratic Senators (current caucus is 51 + 2 independents) to propose a new caucus rule that the caucus leader can remove you from all committee assignments for failure to vote with party on procedural matters."

Perhaps you fail to understand that Senators are elected to represent the people of their state and not the political parties. Your proposed rule would make Senators into puppets.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | November 11, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

exactly why do people assume that if they could buy into medicare that they could afford it? If you paid for Medicare part B like regular recipients you would pay up to $300+ a month for that. Then you'd need a supplement to pay for what Medicare Part A and B doesn't pay which is around $200 a month. Then you'd need a prescription plan that'd be around $75 a month or so. So if you're only paying $100 a month for the RIGHT to buy into Medicare you're upwards of $675 a month PER PERSON. Not so great a deal if you think about it.

But hey its much easier to just blame Senator Lieberman so why let me stop you.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 11, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

mtgreen ... if the legislation had been subjected to the light of day, and been debated on the floor of the Senate, the public would have known about the hidden costs and the legislation would have been defeated by those Democrats who actually have brains.

The financing scheme developed to pay for this monstrosity is flawed from start to finish.

Pelosi Healthcare was not enacted to help the people, it's goal was to insinuate government deeper and deeper into the lives of the citizens.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | November 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman's first concern is Israel.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

and then are we just going to assume that all the doctors that have some PROBLEMS with Medicare's payment schedule are going to readily accept millions more patients at Medicare's rates and it won't have any affect on the numbers that accept medicare patients? Anybody want to buy a bridge?

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

And Lieberman also shot down the House's version of healthcare reform. He certainly did have a lot of influence in the process and his role should be examined.

Posted by: jwyzalek | November 11, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This candle seems to be drawing more than usual number of wingnut moths. I wonder why.

The prominent mention of Lieberman, I'd wager.

Lieberman was one of the culprits. Baucus, Lincoln, Conrad, too. And Ben Nelson. And Bill Nelson and Tom Carper and Evan Bayh.

But that said? The most important thing in this piece is the recognition that the loss of the public option (in the Senate) was a significant factor in the loss of the House.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Sudden "incoherent" opposition likely means that someone got to Lieberman and changed his vote. This happened again and again with senators as they fussed and fooled with health care legislation. The irony is only three incumbent Democratic senators lost their seats (Spector, Lincoln and Feingold, the Democrats also lost 3 open seats they had held). Meanwhile the House and Obama's standing took the fall for Senate's dysfunctionality and inability to pass good House measures on jobs, financial regulation and health care.

Posted by: cassandra9 | November 11, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, the Medicare buy-in wouldn't be anywhere near that expensive with the influx of subscribers, of course. But even so, way cheaper than you can get comprehensive coverage on the open market as an individual.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not you agree with Ezra's take on this subject - Lieberman is a moron!

Posted by: therev1 | November 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This is an off-the-wall accusation... I'm kind of shocked by the author's extremely poor reasoning. It's Pelosi's fault and the fault of her cadre of wackos in the House like Waxman, Markey, Stark, Waters, and Woolsey. President Obama may yet prove to be a good leader (I think he's shaky but he's learning), and the key to his success and the country's success will be the fact that over the next two years, radicals like Pelosi won't be controlling the agenda. I strongly disapprove of the President, but understand he can still make things right and get a balanced approach to governing.

Anyone who seriously thinks that the Dems lost because they weren't liberal enough is either that much of an ideologue or simply delusional.

Posted by: chrojo01 | November 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

pmcgann wrote:

"visionbrkr, the Medicare buy-in wouldn't be anywhere near that expensive with the influx of subscribers, of course. But even so, way cheaper than you can get comprehensive coverage on the open market as an individual."

This is the old GM line of reasoning. If you lose money on each car you sell then surely the way to profitablility is to sell a lot more of them!

Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Why should anyone be surprised? Lieberman is a two-faced, lying, no-good horses's patoot. Do we need any more evidence than his performance at the 2008 GOP convention - sucking up to Goofy McCain the way he did? I don't know why anyone should take this self-seving fool seriously.

Posted by: sameolddoc | November 11, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

pmcgann,

really? the influx of subscribers? Because all those subscribers like yourself would never be using the plan so it'd be just to have just in case. Also those subscribers wouldn't be claiming huge sums of monies and in turn wouldn't need the same offsets in premiums/receipts to warrant that low of a premium that you'd hope to get.

talk to someone on Medicare to see what full coverage costs. my figures are accurate.

Is it cheaper than on the open market, well I guess it depends on what type of plan you get on the open market. Some are more some are less. In states where community rating goes on then it wouldn't be much less than that.

do you not understand that doctors aren't going to be loving receiving medicare rates for these patients as opposed to private insurance rates or self pay rates? Or will their benevolence take over?

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is a weasel, except when he's being a bottom-feeding suckfish.

Posted by: Jerryvov | November 11, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I know what I'm paying now per month for a $3,500 deductible policy as a small business owner. The horror you're describing actually sounds pretty damn good to me.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm totally confused. I thought the "Shellacking" was due to the "distorting of TheOne/Pelosi ACCOMPLISHMENTS" by Fox News? Does Liebermann have a show on Fox too? When does it air, I would like to see it?

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | November 11, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If you want to look at the wingnut playbook go to:

http://delong.typepad.com/egregious_moderation/2009/03/william-kristol-defeating-president-clintons-health-care-proposal.html

That is a policy paper written in 1993 by Bill Kistol outlining the Republican strategy for defeating Bill Clinton's health care reform legislation.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is nothing more than a shill for the insurance companies, he does whatever his masters in Hartford tell him to do, they'll be taking good care of him when he gets voted out of office next time around.

Posted by: maxisgod | November 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is nothing more than a shill for the insurance companies, he does whatever his masters in Hartford tell him to do, they'll be taking good care of him when he gets voted out of office next time around.

Posted by: maxisgod | November 11, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If you want to look at the wingnut playbook go to:

delong.typepad.com/egregious_moderation/2009/03/william-kristol-defeating-president-clintons-health-care-proposal.html

That is a policy paper written in 1993 by Bill Kistol outlining the Republican strategy for defeating Bill Clinton's health care reform legislation.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Truth be told who doesn't know healthcare needs reformed. Problem is both sides of the aisle are so dug in to their own ideologies, that the good of the country isn't reason enough for either side to "negotiate". I'm a mgmt trustee on a UNION const. trade health/welfare fund. The Union Bus. Manager, talking to the fund consultant a few years ago was telling him how WELL Medicare Part D was working for the Union Bus Mgrs terminally ill mother. When I mentioned to the Union Bus.Mgr. that Medicare Part D was a Bush creation and was he thus giving Bush credit for it, his response was he wouldn't give that POS Bush credit for ANYTHING. It really does cut both ways in spite of all the vitriol on thes boards.

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | November 11, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Excellent column Ezra, one of your best.

The one important note to add is that they didn't need Lieberman's vote. 59 votes would have been more than enough. 51 votes could have gotten it through reconciliation, which is a process designed exactly for things like this, adjusting numbers to cut the deficit, which Medicare expansion would do. SChip was created in reconciliation, a whole new program. The public option could have been created in reconciliation. A Medicare expansion certainly qualified for reconciliation.

Why didn't they do it when they didn't need Lieberman's vote? One of two reasons - either they valued Lieberman so much that they didn't want him to oppose the bill even though they didn't need his vote. Or, the more likely reason, that these Senators didn't realize in their late efforts that the administration had already agreed with the industry back in July not to do anything like a public option or Medicare buy-in, and if talk of these ever started coming to light, the administration would shoot it down, as they did. Take your pick, but either explanation reveals that it's squarely the White House's fault - Joe Lieberman was irrelevant.

Posted by: michaelh81 | November 11, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

LIEberman isn't really a Democrat, but sits in the catbird seat, waffling between Democrats and Republicans.
Thankfully, his efforts to elect McCain were unsuccessful.
But would a Republican senator ever campaign for a Democratic prez candidate? ha!

Posted by: angie12106 | November 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to see if Liebermann seeks re-election in 2012, and if so what he runs as. I cannot see him being unchallenged in a Democratic Senate primary if he goes that route, and he would likely lose in such a primary provided someone who is more appealing to most Democrats actually enters the race, and Rep. Chris Murphy is widely expected to run. So will he run as an Independent to avoid any primary whatsoever, or will he change parties and run as a Republican? Perhaps that may depend upon any viable Republican steps forward?

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 11, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

And exactly why should Lieberman help the Democrats? They left him to dry when he was running for re-election. The last time I looked he is now registered as an independent. Stupid article.

Posted by: staterighter | November 11, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Ezra becomes evermore the consummate democrat stooge. Voters last week knew what pelosicare was and rejected it.

Posted by: jibe | November 11, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
You're an idiot. Reading your article accounts for 3 minutes of my life I will never get back.
Thanks

Posted by: gr8cntry | November 11, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

It was worth Alexander Hamilton's life that pro-slaver New Yorker, aaron burr NEVER became President of the United States.

It was worth having the election STOLEN from Al Gore (and the 77 thousand lives wasted in Bush's Iraq war) that self-interested joe lieberman was NEVER a heartbeat away from the office of President of the United States.

Posted by: project3 | November 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It was worth Alexander Hamilton's life that pro-slaver New Yorker, aaron burr NEVER became President of the United States.

It was worth having the election STOLEN from Al Gore (and the 77 thousand lives wasted in Bush's Iraq war) that self-interested joe lieberman was NEVER a heartbeat away from the office of President of the United States.

Posted by: project3 | November 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sir: Perhaps Lieberman thought better of the ridiculous idea that medicare to be expanded to 55 years old or better. My understanding is that it is about 30-40 trillion dollars underfunded, and adding more people would have probably made it alot worse. Doesn't anyone understand the future damage that is being done?

Posted by: aufie34 | November 11, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"I vote/nominate Max Baucus for single-handedly destroying this presidency. He kept deliberating on the bill for way too long in order to get most leverage with the lobbyists."
---------------------------------------
Don't forget about his insurance lobbyist girlfriend. I do hope they're happy together.

Posted by: shadowmagician | November 11, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is a communist stooge as are all the democrats. No such thing as a democrat party anymore. They've been hijacked by the communist party. You pathethic treasonous pigs. Get out of the United States and go to Europe or Asia.

Posted by: Lonemusketeer | November 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is a communist stooge as are all the democrats. No such thing as a democrat party anymore. They've been hijacked by the communist party. You pathethic treasonous pigs. Get out of the United States and go to Europe or Asia.

Posted by: Lonemusketeer | November 11, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I say the reason the Marxist DemocRats, were BIG LOSERS in the mid-term election; is the disbandment of the corrupted and deceitful JournoList!

Posted by: theaz | November 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

WmLaney wrote: "Lieberman represents the interests of insurance companies... always has. Ohh, and Isreal. If this were about extending healthcare to Jews, he'd be all in."

Well said! Lieberman cares MORE about Israel than the USA. So wanna hurt Lieberman? Hurt Israel.

Posted by: Garak | November 11, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

He took lame victories in order to rack up accomplishments...

WHAT?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 11, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I believe you have developed a bad rash of sockpuppetry.

Posted by: pmcgann | November 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

ARE YOU SERIOUS?

That is THE lamest excuse I've ever heard -- worse than even the Birthers.

Do the math. Jr High level will suffice. The reason they use 6 years of new spending versus 10 years of taxes and savings is --- IT'S NOT PAID FOR.

If they matched 10 years with 10 years, it would show the truth -- a quarter trillion dollars of new deficits. Check the latest CBO estimate.

Posted by: LibertyIssues | November 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Typical lunatic-left d-crat socialist-speak: It's not our fault, blame ________ (fill in the blank with anybody who is not a delusional d-crat socialist.)

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | November 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I think you are ALL right. Keep at it, the dirtier the better.
Oh, and send Joe on over.

Posted by: quattlebaum | November 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

There's a more general truth implied in the article, which is that a substantial amount of the dithering and general fecklessness of the first two Obama years can be attributed to clueless congressional Democrats -- Lieberman is clearly in the clueless category even though it's unclear he's a Democrat...

Posted by: mjohnston1 | November 11, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Ezra

You have hit the nail on the head. This was a beautiful compromise. It would have created a downward pressure on the prices without big structural changes. I clearly remember Lieberman killing it.

He singlehandedly destroyed it, and of course the Republican Senators were more interested in politics than in their country at that time.

Posted by: rocky | November 11, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Ezra; desperately casting about for others to blame Obie's and the Dems incompetence on.

ROFLMAO

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 11, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman needs to lose any leadership position, period.

Posted by: timothyhogan | November 11, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ezra

You have hit the nail on the head. This was a beautiful compromise. It would have created a downward pressure on the prices without big structural changes. I clearly remember Lieberman killing it.

He singlehandedly destroyed it, and of course the Republican Senators were more interested in politics than in their country at that time.

Posted by: rocky | November 11, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Joe's a walking disaster, not only to the DEMS, but to the nation. Connecticut DEMS rightly declined to nominate him, but the perverse CT voters elected him as an Independent. Independent my Aunt Fanny; he's so committed to Israel he'd be elected to their Knesset in a heartbeat!

Posted by: JONWINDY | November 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Most people do not like Obama because he is a black man. As a white man, I see the subtle racism towards all black men on a daily basis. The conservatives are rabid when you talk about him...it is because he is a black man. I am not saying that they hate him...they are just scared of the "black man" rising to any type of power or having any type of control over them. It scares them to death. People will then say what about the leader of the Rep National party, Mike Steele. He is just there so that they can point to him and say "See we aren't racist". Even now they are conspiring to get him out of his position. He has served his purpose. Lieberman, however, is a snake. He is an great example of a how and why Washington just isn't working for the common person anymore. He didn't get something he wanted so he left the democratic party and sided with the opposite side just to get back at them. He is now purposly doing every thing in his power to cause the downfall of the Democratic party. It's all so juvenile, but they are playing with our country and the lives of all it's citizens. They all sicken me. The USA is ready to crumble and we have ALL politicians to thank for it. I say it is time for the Average Joe's out here to grab their guns and start firing them at the government. When the government is NO LONGER for the people and by the people....it is the obligation of the people to take back the country. These politicians are out of control and unless we want to see the downfall of our great nation, it is time to take it back. The US Revolution is ready. It's time to revolt.

Posted by: dhendrix3 | November 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons for Dems failure is Healthcare reform. I blame Joe Lieberman for not killing it upfront with republicans - he voted to let it to the floor and killed filibuster.

Posted by: igorkh | November 11, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Political maggots like Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Blance Lincoln destroyed the image of the Democratic majority. Of course, President O'Bama was no help. He should show leadership ability instead of being a wimp.

Posted by: tmd678 | November 11, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Political maggots like Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Blance Lincoln destroyed the image of the Democratic majority. Of course, President O'Bama was no help. He should show leadership ability instead of being a wimp.

Posted by: tmd678 | November 11, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Political maggots like Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Blance Lincoln destroyed the image of the Democratic majority. Of course, President O'Bama was no help. He should show leadership ability instead of being a wimp.

Posted by: tmd678 | November 11, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ezra, for having a memory. So few pundits do.

Posted by: mypitts2 | November 11, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

What a load of bulshlit. It takes plenty long to do all that this abomination of a bill is, and 2014 is plenty fast. And the numbers -- meaning the cost -- are pure fiction. This bill has no hope of coming in at even a third of its projected cost. We have a bill deing administered by the same kind of people authorized the Big Dig in Boston. For those who care about taxpayer funds and cost over runs, the Big Dig was projected to cost $1.8 Billion in 1985. The interest cost alone will amount to more than $7 Billion and the total cost is more than $22 Billion. Eerily, Congressman Barney Frank joked, "Wouldn't it be cheaper to raise the city than depress the artery?"

With any luck, the bill will be strangled by the GOP and if there was a shred of integrity at the Washington Post, Ezra would be sent packing.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | November 11, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Because he's the closest thing today to a Truman-Kennedy Democrat, Joe is an anomaly in the Senate's Democratic caucus, and testament to the fact that folks living in the great state of Connecticut have not always been unable to exercise the franchise judiciously.

However, as some folks have noted, he could have voted against sending Obamacare's legislative embodiment to the floor.

On balance, however, he deserves credit for not leaning so far to the left as to become completely unbalanced.

Posted by: Gonzage1 | November 11, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, your unspoken assumption is that Lieberman wanted to see healthcare reform succeed, Obama succeed, the Democratic party succeed. Are you aware of any evidence for that?"

This is a good comment and set of questions. Klein himself says he finds Lieberman's opposition to the Medicare expansion inexplicable. If we apply Occam's Razor it might bring us back to a simple explanation. Maybe Lieberman wanted Obama to fail like Limbaugh wanted.

Posted by: mypitts2 | November 11, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Sure Lieberman had a lot to do with it. So did "Democrats" Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln(who pronounced the public option DOA--now her Senate position is DOA). Add moderate Republicans Olympia Snow and Susan Collins who held the bill hostage. Add the late seating of Al Franken and the early seating of Scott Brown and you see that this bill, while undoubtedly flawed, is darn good and achievement that leftists have been trying to accomplish for over 100 years. But instead of trumpeting this victory, progressive whined that it wasn't enough. Fox and the Republicans were only to happy to death panel it, while the so-called mainstream media colluded and let the lies fly or at best, swatted at them with flyswatters. Why do you think the right is so angry and willing to lies and spend limitless funds against HCR? THEY know what it means. THEY know how important it is. I wish a few on the left did and were willing to claim it and fight for more.

There will be be Democratic primary challenges in 2012. Not for Obama--unless he capitualates on extending tax cuts for the rich-- but on spinelss Democrats who seem to believe Karl Rove's spin.

Posted by: wd1214 | November 11, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

It's laughable contemplating Medicare buy-in would have swayed voter support to Democratic candidates on election day. What don't you understand about a majority of citizens opposing Obama-care? Do you seriously believe an additional membership infusion into an already unsustainable program would win converts? Is the left the last bastion who believes Obama-care is cost neutral, or reduces future deficits?

Posted by: ecrutle | November 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

This "enlarge Medicare plan" was simply an attempt to move further along the path to socialized medicine. Lieberman did the right thing. And thanks, Ez, for giving food to the anti-Semitic gourmands. How very liberal of you.

Posted by: hsaper7 | November 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

It's still a good idea and would be a good way of keeping insurance companies honest. Is there any way to get around the 60-vote filibuster threat?

Posted by: patr2 | November 11, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

your whole argument is lame brained,
Better Then Ezra'
cuz the belief the US government and
a few dozen health insurance exec's
will create a fair system to
american TAXPAYERS...
is laughable!!!
what about your unjust wars?
what about defunding the Iraq war?
what about single payer?
what about 1 in 8 children in american
go to bed hungry, but we have $600 million for the palenstinian Authority?

what about multi millionair Nutsy Pelosi
talking about 'us poor people'

go back to temple and stop hating jews...

Posted by: simonsays1 | November 11, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein's comment: "The most legitimate is that it takes some time to properly set up exchanges and subsidies, to dialogue with the industry and advocacy groups so the regulations work for both consumers and providers, and to give the various stakeholders time to adjust to the new rules and transition smoothly." is sheer utter garbage and a perfect factual example of the prevarication Mr. Klein spews with his deception, misrepresentation and omission of facts. The fact is that the implementation of Obamacare was conveniently scheduled for phased implementation (including Mr. Klein's 2014 reference) to minimize the billions, likely trillions that Obamacare will have on the 10 year federal budget forecast. Mr. Klein is simply and unambiguously a shill for left wing extremist politics. He is a fraud to the facts. Mr. Klein knows this but he continues to obfuscate the facts to fit his fraudulent and fact less agenda. And that is a fact!!

Posted by: justthefacts14 | November 11, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I am sorry that your comments seem to attract all the amnesiacs on the right and the suicidal lefties! They allowed a man like Boehner,(who has all corporate lobbiests on his speed dial,) to assume poewer. Most of these whiners and complainers are as shallow as a coat of paint and have no strategic sense, or patience, to realize that Obama will be judged as one of our greatest presidents!

Posted by: fadedink | November 11, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Democrats allow Liebermann to caucus with them, but the guy acts more like a Republican. He shadowed McCain for the entire campaign, correcting him and being his wing man, so why does anyone think that he will be of value to the Democrats?

Look at the wind and you know where he is going.

Posted by: ronjeske | November 11, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, did you miss Lieberman's Republican/Independent conversion supporting the Iraq war? His opposition to the Medicare buy-in aka a foot in the door for Medicare for all/dreaded single-payer Socialism[!] is all of a piece with his Democrat apostasy. He just isn't man enough to say so.

Posted by: ixam | November 11, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I think Ezra Klein is dead on.

Posted by: dostrov | November 11, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear "fadedink",

Your denial of the facts is proof positive of why Obama is a Jimmy Carter clone, one and done. But do please continue your denial of the obvious.

Posted by: justthefacts14 | November 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Some believe Liebermann's a Tea-Bagger wanna-be. That just ain't so. He's in bed with them helping them call the shots. He and de Mint have a thing for each other.

De Mint controls the tea-baggers, Liebermann controls the party.

After all, he's nothing more than the Mad Hatter in drag.

Posted by: chamateddy | November 11, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

This is about the stupidest article I've ever read on any topic.

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | November 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

JOE LIBERMAN BELONG TO THE LIKUD OF ISRAEL HE IS NOTHING BUT A TRAITOR TO THE UNITED STATES A MOSSAD ASSET AND ZIONIST NEO CON SERVING THE WAR MONGERS OF ISRAEL.
HIS GOAL IS THE DESTRUCTION OF IRAN. WHICH REPRESENTS A CHALLENGE TO THE ISRAELI DOMINANCE IN THE REGION.
HE WILL DO ANYTHING (INCLUDING RISKING THE LIFE OF YOUNG AMERICANS) TO SERVE THE ZIONIST AGENDA. I SURELY DID NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA BUT IT IS OBVIOUS THAT HE IS NOT IN FAVOUR OF BOMBARDING IRAN SO JOE "TURN COAT" LIBERMAN PUSH FOR A REPUBLICAN RIGHT WING REPLACEMENT MORE INCLINE TO USE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX TO SERVE APARTHEID ISRAEL.. REMEMBER AIPAC IS IN VIOLATION OF THE FOREIGN AGENT ACT, AND LIBERMAN IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FOREIGN AGENT WHO NEVER FOUGHT A WAR IN HIS LIFE BUT LOVE TO SEND AMERICANS TO GET KILL IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
EVERY FASCIST PIECE OF LEGISLATION RESTRICTING OUR LIBERTIES IN THE NAME OF SECURITY JOE LIBERMAN WAS BEHIND IT...SCREAMING AL QUIDA ! AL QUIDA. THIS TRAITOR SHOULD PUT HIS MONEY WHERE HIS MOUTH IS AND ENLIST IN THE ISRAELI ARMY.

Posted by: reykool | November 11, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats don't even need a gun to shoot themselves in the foot. They call Joe Liberman. Joe has been making an ass of the Democrats 15 years and as dumb as they are they just keep going back for more.

Posted by: Leo10 | November 11, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

the author is obviously a biased liberal hack. He should consider writing a sports
column on bowling or golf where there are no political elements to confuse him.

Posted by: jimsr121 | November 11, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Joe is a very nasty man. He is a Zionist on steroids.

Posted by: jewishmother | November 11, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

We don't have to worry about Joe too much longer. He will switchg allegiance to the GOP so that he can start building tea party and Sarah Palin support for his next election. Joe is about Joe and nothing else.

Posted by: AnRod | November 11, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

We don't have to worry about Joe too much longer. He will switchg allegiance to the GOP so that he can start building tea party and Sarah Palin support for his next election. Joe is about Joe and nothing else.

Posted by: AnRod | November 11, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Pray tell what poll said doctors are in favor of adding more people to Medicare. My doctor said he is no longer taking Medicare patients because of the low payments and mammoth new rules and paperwork. Two other doctors I use have also decided not to take any new Medicare patients. Polls by medical organizations(other than the AMA which has less than 17 percent of doctor as members) show more and more doctors are refusing Medicare patients. So where would all these doctors come from to treat millions of new enrollees. I really wish the Washington Post would do a bit more research before spouting the Democratic line. Maybe, just maybe, Leiberman has a little more sense than a Washington Post columnist.

Posted by: harris2 | November 11, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Ezra....the problem with the bill was that it wasn't big enough, expensive enough, and intrusive enough. Taxing for 10 years to pay for 6 years of benefits.....and then what?! The Democrats lost because the independents could see the gross dishonesty and cynical manipulation of the parliamentary procedure to pass this monstrosity. Don't blame Joe Lieberman. Blame Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama.

As a reflex liberal, it may be hard for you to realize that most of the population is NOT liberal, and that most of the population CAN see through the smokescreen, and recognize when they have been had by a president who campaigned as a moderate, then quickly swerved to the left. Maybe not enough left for you, but way too far left for the majority of the country.

Posted by: robrosenq | November 11, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Rocky wrote:

"You have hit the nail on the head. This was a beautiful compromise. It would have created a downward pressure on the prices without big structural changes. I clearly remember Lieberman killing it."

Could you explain to me how adding millions of new subscribers to a program that loses money on every subscriber creates downward pressure on prices?

Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:
I like your stance on politics but I can't stand the way you write. You have a penchant for using compound words such as "would've, could've, etc. etc." I don't know if you are trying to save space on your computer hard drive? Maybe you are having your column printed somewhere so it saves ink and paper, but I don't know about that. Certainly it is not easier to type those words. I know it makes it more difficult to read with all of those compound words in your writing. Give us all a break and do a better job of writing and keep helping the Dems when you can.

Posted by: shermrob | November 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Ezra's memory is faulty, see my post at 2:41.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

For the sake of "The People" and the efficacy of the Democratic agenda, Joe has to go!

Posted by: MCunningham122 | November 11, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Zionism is blackmailing this government since Obama did not applaud Operation Cast Lead.
If you read Israeli press, the level of hate that is spewed to Obama pales any terrorist’s threat.
And if you want more proof tell me why the Jewish business community do not hire unemployed Americans after being fatten up with stimulus money? Because they act as one disciplined regiment, with one goal: kick Obama’s knees.
Lieberman is intended in dragging Obama down, with all his might, because he is a fanatic puerile Zionist soldier. How have we allowed these nefarious individuals to dwell inside us, beats me.
Who invited him in and why was Lieberman invited to something so important to America as Health Care Reform discussions when he is obviously foreign to America.
Somebody, please, kick him out of the US Senate.
Or is it that ALL OF OUR POLITICIANS are so cheap that prefer to sell out America and prefer to grab to their seats to risk the Zionist wrath?

Posted by: SouthStar | November 11, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman has no problem with the American taxpayer giving Israel billions of our tax dollars every year which helps the subsidize their univerasl healthcare coverage, Yet he is does not feel Americans should get the same. Joe Lieberman is a traitor to the American people.

Posted by: metroman76 | November 11, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Folks, Ezra is clearly wrong on an Econ 101 basis and it's not brainiac stuff to see why.

If you set up a Medicare buy-in program the people most likely to be involved are those who are least likely to be profitable to the program. The people you get will be those who will consume the most care and the most expensive care. That's why they're coming to the program.

So what you're doing is making the program even more insolvent than it already is. Again the GM analogy is helpful. If on average you lose money on every item you produce, or if a subscriber costs more than you receive from them in revenue, you NEVER break even or become profitable unless/until you reach the point where you completely control the market and can set your own prices.

Two other examples of this are AOL and the Post Office. AOL is a little tiny company today, instead of a giant because it spent much more on acquiring new subscribers than it received in revenue per subscriber.

Similary the Post Office is not UPS or Fedex today because by law it has to maintain the least profitable operations. No matter how many post offices there are and what business they do, USPS can never make money because it has no pricing power without a monopoly, and on average, it loses money on each one.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 11, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is an adult betrayed by his own. Ezra is a whiny college girl. The only difference between him and a 10lb bag of pig $hi+ is the bag.

Posted by: carlbatey | November 11, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

In my earlier post I should have used the word "contractions" rather than "compounding."

Posted by: shermrob | November 11, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman's betrayal of the Democratic party can be traced back to his performance when he debated Chaney in the Gore vs. Bush presidential champaing. Chaney came away looking good or at least not the Darth Vader he is.

Posted by: dave131 | November 11, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Solid analysis.

Providing healthy older Americans with a tangible benefit would have helped Democrats in that important voting segment. Senators such as Lieberman and Baucus are owned by health care and pharmaceutical corporations. Their actions watered down the benefits of the legislation for consumers so much that it pleases relatively few people.

Republicans and Tea Party members oppose it on predominantly philosophical grounds. Independents oppose it because of the added burdens to both consumers and businesses coupled with meager tangible benefits that accrue to broad numbers of citizens.

It is badly drafted legislation with no hope of modification given the Republican's majority in the House.

Posted by: JMAV | November 11, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"So the legislation's architects simply delayed its start. That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending. That got them to a per-year number that could actually work."


Maybe the fact that the math doesn't add up is what got them into trouble.

Bad policy and a bad economy is what caused the democrats to lose. For democrats to conclude differently is to live in a state of denial.

Posted by: postfan1 | November 11, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is a rat who will do anything to hurt the Democrats. He's still angry from 2006 when the CT Democrats turned him out. I can't wait until this Rasputin is voted out in '12.

www.thebeardedcrank.com

Posted by: thebeardedcrank | November 11, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

A few comments:

@treetop3: Please note the date of your supposed "gotcha". In April of 2006, Lieberman was primaried by Ned Lamont. Obama, in APRIL, endorsed Lieberman. Lieberman lost the primary. Obama then endorsed the Democratic candidate, Ned Lamont. Lieberman ran as an independent.

Facts, my dear Watson. Facts.

Second, the "public option" was not a campaign promise of President Obama. He advocated "universal health care" which would include "exchanges where you could get the same quality insurance as members of Congress get." The public option was born in committee.

Third, two proposals -- Medicare for all and Medicare early buy-in -- were floated and failed to get real traction in the Senate. Lieberman was not the only Democratic opponent, only the most vocal. Recall also that Ben Nelson of Nebraska "sold out" for the now rescinded "Cornhusker Kickback." Max Baucus put the screws to the public option on the Senate Finance committee. No amount of presidential pressure would have changed that. The Finance committee, with Sens. Lincoln, Conrad, Baucus, among other would have-- DID -- sink the public option over the vehement protests of more liberal Democrats.

Frankly, Democrats need to stop blaming President Obama for the things they don't like in the health care bill. I don't see Ezra blaming Rep. Bart Stupak for inserting unnecessary anti-abortion language in the House version that threatened to derail the bill at the last minute.

What cost the Democrats the mid-term elections was failure to run aggressive campaigns on their accomplishments, ceding the health care debate in angry town halls to the Republicans and a doggedly sluggish economy. Instead of blaming President Obama, these Democrats should have made certain that each of their districts got stimulus money and should have challenged any governor who threatened to turn it down.

President Obama's name was not on the ballot. Each Representative or Senator up for election is wholly responsible for the success or failure of his or her campaign.

It's time to quit whining, quit licking your wounds, walk it off and get back in the game.

In the words of Vince Lombardi, it's time to "score, da** it."

Posted by: jade_7243 | November 11, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

No politician in my lifetime has disappointed me more than Joe Liberman. I'll be glad when he's out of office.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | November 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Remember what you thought of turncoats and backstabbers?----------------the lowest.

Posted by: kacameron | November 11, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere along the way Joe Lieberman corrupted. It's been a sad thing to watch. This reform absolutely should have delivered some tangible benefits on day one.

Posted by: SarahBB | November 11, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, I think the solution here is for 26 Democratic Senators (current caucus is 51 + 2 independents) to propose a new caucus rule that the caucus leader can remove you from all committee assignments for failure to vote with party on procedural matters.
That won't happen under Reid, however, unless he's blindsided by it.

Posted by: ctown_woody | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

---------------
ctown_woody, your an idiot.

Do you click your heals together and give the nazi sallute when ever that pelosi speaks. Everything she says is gospel according to you>

Tell you what num nuts. I am a conservitive, but I don't agree with everything the party in power says. I also do not want any repulican/conservitive representive not speaking or voting how he/she feels is correct. Thats why I vote for specific people.

Tell you what. You just gave me another reason to have liberals. You talk about loss of freedoms, but then show what hypocrits you are by statements like that.

God, I hate liberals. With every breath I take, I hate liberals. There is no such thing as a good liberal. No chit. All I have to do is point to the numerous statements like yours to back up that point.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | November 11, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, I think the solution here is for 26 Democratic Senators (current caucus is 51 + 2 independents) to propose a new caucus rule that the caucus leader can remove you from all committee assignments for failure to vote with party on procedural matters.
That won't happen under Reid, however, unless he's blindsided by it.

Posted by: ctown_woody | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

---------------
ctown_woody, your an idiot.

Do you click your heals together and give the nazi sallute when ever that pelosi speaks. Everything she says is gospel according to you>

Tell you what num nuts. I am a conservitive, but I don't agree with everything the party in power says. I also do not want any repulican/conservitive representive not speaking or voting how he/she feels is correct. Thats why I vote for specific people.

Tell you what. You just gave me another reason to have liberals. You talk about loss of freedoms, but then show what hypocrits you are by statements like that.

God, I hate liberals. With every breath I take, I hate liberals. There is no such thing as a good liberal. No chit. All I have to do is point to the numerous statements like yours to back up that point.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | November 11, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Once again it's the system. If a candidate declares for a party in a primary and is defeated, he should not be allowed to run under a different standard for the same final election.

Posted by: kacameron | November 11, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

With any luck at all the good people of Connecticut will finally and absotively posilutely vote two-faced, vengeful little jerk Whinerman out of office at their next opportunity so we'll no longer have to put up with his lies and behavioral problems.

That fine day can't come too soon.

Posted by: binkynh | November 11, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little late to this dance, but ....

After the '08 election, Reid told Lieberman he was out as a committee chair. OBAMA asked Reid to let him stay. Reid almost booted him again during the health care fight. OBAMA asked him to stay.

As to why, count to 60. Reid worked a miracle getting this bill through the Senate. As to why Lieberman is a miserable excuse for a human being, take LiberalBasher. What would do for that slug? Nothing. He's too busy twisting himself into a pretzel of hatred to serve any useful purpose in society. In 2006, liberals decided to unload Lieberman. They lost. Why did he react by sticking it to them? What would YOU do?

As for Obama not getting it done, Obama has done more than many would have thought humanly possible to save this country from the destruction wrought by the mass murdering moron and his collection of criminals and cowards who preceded Obama (Hi, LiberalBasher). WE failed. WE backed Obama. WE wanted hope and change, and then sat back and said, "Way to go, Barack! Now do the changing while we sit back and hope!" So, as an example, the geniuses at moveon.org who actually think Howard Dean's head is useful for something more than as a hat rack fought the health care bill instead of trying to round up support for it and applying pressure. Then they decided to take out conservative Democrats like Blanche Lincoln and succeeded only in making them more vulnerable in the general election, so now, instead of a conservative Democrat who might vote with us occasionally, we have another right-wing hater of humanity (Hi, again, LiberalBasher). Meanwhile, Republicans and their racist, antediluvian cohort, the Tea Party, counted on collective amnesia to get them back into office, and we sat around and waited for sweet reason to prevail. Reason does not prevail when you are trying to deal with idiocy and dishonesty (Let me say hello not only to LiberalBasher, but to his friend John Boehner, who helped to shield Mark Foley's little problem after joining in the mass murder of more than 4,000 American soldiers because George W. Bush was too coked up during his National Guard service to prove his manhood then and had to prove it later. Hi to George Will and Charles Krauthammer, their accessories, while I'm at it).

Thank you, and good night.

Posted by: TruthtoPower4 | November 11, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Medicare? You mean the program more and more doctors refuse to participate in because reimbursements rates are too low? You mean the program that's broke? I'm sure allowing people to sign up for Medicare at a younger age would make it's finances much better.

Posted by: RobT1 | November 11, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

It is simple. Politicians such as Lieberman are always keen to ingratiate themselves to those who provide them with campaign funds. In Connecticut, I gather, the Health Insurance industry is not ungenerous in providing campaign 'funding' for 'their' politicians. Shamefully those politicians who receive Health Insurance dollars and kickbacks do not recuse themselves from the debate but instead allow themselves to be used as pawns in blocking legistlation that might otherwise cause insurance industry profits to drop. Even more shamefully the President and other Democratic leaders allowed this all to happen without challenging such despicable activity that borders on corrupt. Welcome to Democracy!

Posted by: Ex-Mil | November 11, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Solid analysis.

Providing healthy older Americans with a tangible benefit would have helped Democrats in that important voting segment.

Posted by: JMAV | November 11, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse


Yes JMAV that would make sense IF healthy older americans would have opted for this at say $400-$500 a month's cost (approx at a minimum what it would cost to buy into it. But healthy older Americans would do what they do now, opt out of coverage instead of paying exorbident prices (whether it be medicare or private insurance).

The answer that not one person on here has stated is that provider costs are NOT transparent and way too high compared to the rest of the world. Still waiting for Ezra to do a piece on that (although i'm sure he's done one occasionally over the last couple years but not enough to dent the consciousness around here.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 11, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious to me that Joe Lieberman cares about two things- protecting the insurance industry and trying to get the U.S. to fight Israel's battles. This allows Netanyahu to not have to make a serious attempt to negotiate.

Posted by: jp1943 | November 11, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious to me that Joe Lieberman cares about two things- protecting the insurance industry and trying to get the U.S. to fight Israel's battles. This allows Netanyahu to not have to make a serious attempt to negotiate.

Posted by: jp1943 | November 11, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is about Lieberman and whatever will get him attention! He's a lot like Sarah Palin that way. He's also a turncoat, now calling himself an Independent because he'll vote or support whatever makes him the most money, and sometimes it's on the other team, so he had to be a free agent. He is a very unprincipled character. Oh, was something in the interests of his constituents?? They don't even come into the picture!

Posted by: Maerzie | November 11, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is about Lieberman and whatever will get him attention! He's a lot like Sarah Palin that way. He's also a turncoat, now calling himself an Independent because he'll vote or support whatever makes him the most money, and sometimes it's on the other team, so he had to be a free agent. He is a very unprincipled character. Oh, was something in the interests of his constituents?? They don't even come into the picture!

Posted by: Maerzie | November 11, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman's third constituency, after Israel and big insurance, is his vendetta against Democrats. By the way, is there any reason in that in January 2011 he should retain his committee chairmanship. No, but "Noodle Spines" Reid will let him stay. Give him the boot!

Posted by: BBear1 | November 11, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I was hopeful for a bit that John McCain would select Lieberman for his VP - but that was not to be.

While that was sad, I was pleased that the Democratic party was not selected by the Teaparty as its target to integrate and destroy.

The Democratic party shares many of the same goals as the Teaparty, balancing the budget, equal rights for everyone, and less wars, etc.

The good news was that because the Democratic President is black, the Teaparty decided to go with the Republicans. That was a good thing.

In the long run, I expect the Republican/Teaparty marriage to be the Democratic Party's salvation.

Politics this year in the Republican party will be interesting - neo-cons against isolationists, christian right against Liberiterians. Don't forget Sarah Palin for President! That will be a hoot.

In South Carolina who will Gov. Haley support - Mama Grizzley who she paid to come and endorse her, or Romney who gave her approx $100K to run her election? I hear Gingrich is also coming courting SC support.

There's going to be Fun in the Sun in SC...

Posted by: SCVoter | November 11, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I was hopeful for a bit that John McCain would select Lieberman for his VP - but that was not to be.

While that was sad, I was pleased that the Democratic party was not selected by the Teaparty as its target to integrate and destroy.

The Democratic party shares many of the same goals as the Teaparty, balancing the budget, equal rights for everyone, and less wars, etc.

The good news was that because the Democratic President is black, the Teaparty decided to go with the Republicans. That was a good thing.

In the long run, I expect the Republican/Teaparty marriage to be the Democratic Party's salvation.

Politics this year in the Republican party will be interesting - neo-cons against isolationists, christian right against Liberiterians. Don't forget Sarah Palin for President! That will be a hoot.

In South Carolina who will Gov. Haley support - Mama Grizzley who she paid to come and endorse her, or Romney who gave her approx $100K to run her election? I hear Gingrich is also coming courting SC support.

There's going to be Fun in the Sun in SC...

Posted by: SCVoter | November 11, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Always fun to see Tailgunner Joe's brain being channeled through Drugster Rush's mouth and regurgitated by the right-wing brain trust!

Posted by: revbobbylee | November 12, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

The answer to Lieberman's not supporting a medicare inclusion in the health insurance bill is $$$$$$.

His major supporter is a for-profit health ins. co.which would probably lose some customers and probably told him to not support.

He has always done their bidding and yet keeps his gravy jobs courtesy of Reid and gets reelected by sheep in his home state.

Posted by: acjcrc | November 12, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Assuming that the buy in was voluntary. The buy in privilege is a guarantee to bust the entire program not enhance it. That way lies “adverse selection” a building block in insurance. It guarantees that primarily the sick will buy in. The healthy save their money and hope to make it to 65. I am no fan of Lieberman’s. He does whatever he is paid to do. In this instance he did the right thing.

Posted by: alf1052 | November 12, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Scapegoating is cool! Making up extraordinarily complicated scapegoating scenarios and rationales is, in the words of Ted, "most excellent".

Another nice, warm steamer dropped from Ezra Klein hindquarters.

Posted by: pyellman | November 12, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

As usual Klein misses the point. Whats the point? How about wasting a year+ on attempting and finally passing a poor excuse for a heath reform bill waste a waste of time when the unemployment rate was sky high. Whether or not the health reform bill will save the government or the taxpayers or the insureds money wouldn't be know until 2014. And what do we have to show for it, legislation that increased the dependent coverage until 26 years of age, no prexisting, which the majority of group policies didn't have anyway. Coverage for newborns which most group policies covered. The rest takes effect after we have paid for it until 2014.

The Democrats and the unrelenting Pelosi are to blame. The Rules Committee blocking the normal legislative process is to blame.

Wake up Ezra. The fact you are paid for your misinformed comments is a joke.

Posted by: fedupwithgovernment | November 12, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Plain, unadulterated bullshit. If you think o9ne out of 100 milion people understands the fine points of the reform you live on another planet

Posted by: arnoldsegal | November 12, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse


The Speaker of the House ordered that no one would be permitted to know what's in the bill until the bill was passed.

Posted by: hunter340 | November 12, 2010 5:36 AM | Report abuse

"The health-care law doesn't really kick into effect until 2014. There are a couple of reasons for that. The most legitimate is that it takes some time to properly set up exchanges and subsidies, to dialogue with the industry and advocacy groups so the regulations work for both consumers and providers, and to give the various stakeholders time to adjust to the new rules and transition smoothly. "

BULL! The health care law doesn't kick in until 2014 because in order to lower the cost, the democrats wanted people paying into it for 4 years without receiving anything in return.

Posted by: ahashburn | November 12, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, and it's wildly popular with liberals"

That's all you need to know.

It was Lieberman's revenge for liberals support of Ned Lamont.

Posted by: pj_camp | November 12, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

pj_camp,


maybe you're right. Kind of like how liberals and progressives primaried Blanche Lincoln.

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 12, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, wake up, get off whatever hallucinogen you may be on (herbal, chemical, high on life) and get over it. The Liberal Democrats lost because of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi dream (nightmare) team fanatic obsession to change (I won't even say transform) this country despite the public's views.
Healthcare reform was nothing but the liberal attempt to co-opt a huge portion of the economy to government contral and re-distribute the wealth. Nothing about healthcare was reformed.
Libermann had nothing to do with the Dem's self-inflicted governing debacle.

Posted by: pielusztcontractor | November 12, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman huh, have some more Kool-aid! Now that I am through laughing over this story lead line, I will respond. The Democrats lost because they blindly supported Obama as he led the country to increased economic disorder, increased unemployment, continued war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and destruction of wall street, banks, manufacturing while promoting communism, socialism, progressivism and liberalism. Compared his "claims" during his campaign to the actual results we have in front of us. As a teacher, his grade is an "F" on all of his agenda. Many of his actions border on treason which will be pushed in the months to come.

Posted by: Templeton62 | November 12, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Why did Joe oppose the Medicare buy in? I'd lay odds the insurance industry based in Connecticut pulled the "short string" they have on good ole Joe amd the Senator from "big insurance" jumped.

Posted by: dwatson1 | November 12, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I loved the comment in the article about how Medicare is "an effective and cheap" program. As long as we continue to ignore its unfunded liability that is even greater than that of Social Security, I suppose low wattage intellects could conclude it's "cheap"- again, assuming we do not account for the enormous tab we are building for our kids and their kids.
So, this inside the beltway genius (Mr. Klein) thinks it a solution to add even more people at age 55 (just around the age when heart attacks and cancers emerge). And this brilliant move would somehow have helped their children who will have to pay for this lunacy by bringing more "healthy" people into the system?
And let's not forget how "effective" the program is either. Medicare gets to dictate prices to providers that are below the cost of providing the services. Then, providers shift the financial and administrative costs of Medicare to private insurance, slowly killing that resource.
If anyone is really interested in Medicare's "effectiveness", take a look on a graph of health care costs from 1950 to present and see what happened to the curve after 1965- when Medicare was enacted. That will give one an insight into exactly how "effective" and "cheap" the program really is.
Donald Duck would also look equally "effective" if he could run a program like that.
Perhaps the government should consider mandating warnings on road signs (similar to those on cigarette packages) leading to inside the beltway: "Warning, staying too long past this point will be hazardous to your ability to think rationally".
Thank God for Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: jameswardpa | November 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Crikey, Klein, this is stupid even for you. But then, you consider Medicare "an effective and cheap program." Enough said.

Posted by: SukieTawdry | November 12, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Ezra, for another intelligent commentary; it is unfortunate how quickly we forget what happened only months ago.

Posted by: rkamai | November 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If the author can't think of another reason for Lieberman's course of action, perhaps all that remains is either the conclusion that Lieberman is incompetent or stupid (which seems unlikely), or the alternative, that he intended the logical consequences of his actions (meaning it was purposeful sabotage).

Lieberman isn't above political treachery, so the latter sounds perfectly plausible.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | November 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Obamacare is a mess because it was produced like "Heavens's Gate". The original Social Security act was maybe 50 pages and totally understandable even to the most obtuse congressman. The new bill is a monster, based on conditions that prevailed in the '70s and not undated to those of today. It is as though Waxman had pulled it out of his drawer, blew off the dust, and dropped it into the hopper. All the changes just pulled it apart, so that its fails to remedy what its sets out to remedy.

Posted by: RobbyS | November 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Liberal writers will give you facts, but they don't give you context. For instance, they'll say that for some inexplicable reason, so and so started spraying the house with water. A more moderate source will tell you that the house was on fire.

The liberal was accurate, but without a context, there was no way to understand what actually happened. I would need to hear Liberman's side before I believed that he behaved in an arbitrary and puzzling way. I might not agree with Liberman, but I think there was a motive for his behavior, which we're not getting here.

Posted by: Beatrix1 | November 12, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Liberal writers will give you facts, but they don't give you context. For instance, they'll say that for some inexplicable reason, so and so started spraying the house with water. A more moderate source will tell you that the house was on fire.

The liberal was accurate, but without a context, there was no way to understand what actually happened. I would need to hear Liberman's side before I believed that he behaved in an arbitrary and puzzling way. I might not agree with Liberman, but I think there was a motive for his behavior, which we're not getting here.

Posted by: Beatrix1 | November 12, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh how obvious, it's not Pelosi's, Reid's, Obama's or the Democratic party's fault.

It's mean ole Joe Lieberman's fault, now I understand.

Wow dude, your smart!

Posted by: johndoe14 | November 12, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I think this gets at Obama's number 1 political problem which is centrist Dem senators who leave the Dems ununited against a GOP that is united. I think Obama got about as much from them on health care as he could and I also think they resent him for making them vote for it without the cover of some GOP votes. The real goal of the LieberBayhNelsonLandrieuEtAl wing seems to be that nothing should ever pass the Sentate without some GOP votes and, also, of course that when the GOP is in control, nothing should pass without some Dem votes, which they happily provide for nothing.

Posted by: gregspolitics | November 12, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Please, Ezra -- stop marching in lockstep to the beat of Obama's propaganda drum. You embarrass yourself. The real reason the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" doesn't start in earnest until 2014 is to allow time for the Democrats' Enron accounting gimmicks to be employed to give the program a four-year head start in tax collection before the program starts spending outlays like a drunken sailor. This four-year cushion of revenue collection prior to the program taking effect is the only way that the Dems could mask the legislation's odious fiscal odor and claim that the final price tag was "only" $900 billion over ten years.

Posted by: alchartreux | November 12, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

This is laughable. So congress passes one of the most unpopular bills (as is) in the last 20-30 years. People are livid because they view the bill as too liberal and because congress used its power to deal with gutting its current healthcare system instead of jobs bills. Ezra's response lets blame mean old Joe Lieberman. Talk about out of touch.

The only thing more predictable than some progressive liberal blaming Joe Lieberman for something, is an arab state blaming Israel for lord knows whats. Ezra is still living in denial about the elections.

Posted by: Natstural | November 12, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you're great and I read this blog every day, but please don't ever use "dialogue" as a verb again.

Posted by: 74mk | November 12, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

One other point that is commonly confused regarding Medicare Supplemental Insurance is the annual open enrollment period. For Medicare Supplement there is no annual enrollment period. You may change a Medicare supplement policy at any time. This differs from Medicare Advantage and Medicare Rx plans. For expert advice consult one of the many experts at the Senior Advisors Group.

Posted by: cjbailey42 | November 13, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

If the provision to allow a individual to select Medicare at 55 yrs of age was approved, the private health care companies/major insurance companies, would lose a great deal of business.

The state of Conn. is over loaded with private healthcare companies...which have been a major supporter to Sen. Liberman and in addition Mrs. Liberman works for one of the major carriers.

The question is was Liberman looking out for the American people's interest or the interest of what was best for his wife and the companies that have given so much support over his term.

Posted by: meyer390 | November 13, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

IT IS A BAD BILL!

That is all. I'm all for reform, but that was not what I signed on for. It is structurally unsound, too cumbersome, and will completely disrupt peoples' health care leading to deaths while they attempt to implement it.

They should have crafted a better law, and maybe 58% would not be in favor of complete repeal. Reading it would not hurt either.

Posted by: katorga | November 15, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes its hard to tell if Lieberman is the Senator for the Insurance Industry or for Israel, but its always one or the other.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | November 16, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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