Sen. Ben Nelson moves towards supporting Senator Reid's health care bill, Everything might depend on Lieberman
Some who define it as a vote in favor of the Reid bill are misinformed, or are intentionally trying to mislead people. I remember that some in my party said the same thing—equating this procedural vote with a vote for a bill—when the Republicans were in charge. If your goal is to obstruct, that’s a convenient argument. . . .
Lieberman doesn't seem to be backing down, though the Democrats might pull the public option just to get it through the Senate. I don't think that removing the public option won't improve this bill very much. From Politico about Lieberman:
Sen. Joe Lieberman’s threat to filibuster any health care bill with a public option could kill health reform this year — and embolden Democratic challengers who’d like to send him packing in 2012.
But Lieberman doesn’t seem worried.
“I don’t think about that stuff,” Lieberman told POLITICO this week. “I’m just — I’m being a legislator. After what I went through in 2006, there’s nothing much more that anybody [who] disagrees with me can try to do.”
Lieberman left the Democratic Party in 2006 after liberal Ned Lamont beat him in Connecticut’s Democratic Senate primary. Lieberman defeated Lamont in the general election and returned to Washington as an independent, where he continues to caucus with Democrats — even though he accuses them of engaging in a bit of bait and switch when it comes to the public option.
“It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option,” Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered.
In fact, the 2008 Democratic Party Platform referred to the need for a “public plan,” and candidate Barack Obama referred more than once to the idea of providing people who can’t get private insurance with government-backed insurance similar to that which members of Congress get.
But Lieberman says support for the public option has now become a “litmus test” for Democrats, adding: “I thought Democrats were against litmus tests.”
Despite the strong words against some in his old party, Lieberman still entertains the idea of a reunion. Asked this week if he might run again as a Democrat in 2012, Lieberman smiled and said, “Yeah, sure.”
“I’m for health care reform,” Lieberman told POLITICO. “And, of course, this will all be over by then, and I hope we will be strongly supporting health care reform. I haven’t changed my thoughts about 2012, which is, I’m keeping all my options open. . . .