Repeat After Me

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

They are never going to vote for any health care bill:

Two key senators criticized the most recent healthcare compromise Sunday, saying the policies replacing the public option are still unacceptable.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) both said a Medicare “buy-in” option for those aged 55-64 was a deal breaker.

“I’m concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option,” Nelson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Lieberman said Democrats should stop looking for a public option “compromise” and simply scrap the idea altogether.

Lieberman and Nelson were two of the ten Senators who crafted the god damned compromise. They are now shitting all over the compromise THEY crafted and saying it is a non-starter.

And if you ditch the compromise and the public option, they will find something else to grandstand about. For Nelson, he’ll be back to abortion. Who knows what Lieberman will start whining about, but I am sure Marshall Wittman is, as we speak, cooking up some fatuous bullshit.

They are both in the pockets of insurance and other industries who do not want this bill passed in any shape or form, so they will keep making excuses. They are not going to vote for any health care bill. Period. You might as well be taking input and courting votes from Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn.

And the fact that no one in the Democratic party has the balls to call Nelson on his bullshit is just disgusting.

*** Update ***

My bad. Apparently Lieberman was asked to be part of the group but declined. Probably cut into his time furrowing his brow while mugging for cameras.

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112 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome Senator?”

  2. 2
    Jrod says:

    It’s the second post in an hour since declaring “I have nothing to write about.”

    I wish I was half as productive when I get writer’s block!

    Edit: Oh, and about the post itself: It’s easy to “let” yourself be played for a fool when you don’t actually want to win. No, Charlie Brown doesn’t actually want to kick that football. He’d be shocked and dismayed if Lucy failed to yank it away.

  3. 3
    wilfred says:

    Lieberman is with us on everything except the war. And this. And maybe more stuff, but the point is that he is with us. Mostly.

  4. 4
    Gaffa says:

    The idea that there would be a full-scale health care reform is silly.

    The idea that this is not reform is also silly.

    This is an ugly process. Having walking sacks of ugly like Lieberman involved is not helping matters. Having a hideous mainstream press is even worse.

    Still, change happens.

  5. 5
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    having a 60 dem majority in the Senate has gone snafu.

    Time to fire up The Clown Cannon Okay, who wants to go first.

    And my dog is calling me.

  6. 6
    Death Panels says:

    Otherwise known as “Health Insurance Company’s”

    they probably couldn’t pass this either, but it’s nice to dream

  7. 7
    smiley says:

    Let’s see… one is from a state whose largest city is Omaha, the other is from a state whose largest city is Hartford. What do those two cities have in common?

  8. 8
    lambs fan says:

    I spend hours a day reading about politics and I must admit i don’t understand really why Lieberman was allowed to keep his gavel and seniority on chairmanships, he literally campaigned with the republican nominee…he’s a fly in the ointment that can’t save us but can only postpone the pain.

    why can’t anyone call him out, besides us?

  9. 9
    wilfred says:


    Ah! Well played.

  10. 10
    Libby says:

    These people are making my +4 sized morning after headache about a +8. Should have kicked HoJo out of the damn caucus a long time ago. And Nelson can bite me.

    So sick of CorporaDems.

  11. 11
    IndieTarheel says:

    I’m honestly at a loss to understand why Nelson is being taken so seriously. To me, he is an obvious clown.
    Maybe if he got hit by one of those Mohawk Grenades?

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Ruckus says:

    Yes, they are just working for their constituents, the ones who bought and paid for them.

  14. 14
    Micheline says:

    Completely agree.

    People should have noticed when Joe Lieberman made this statement a couple months ago:

    Lieberman, who had $1.4 million through June 30, said he was unsure whether he would run in 2012 as a Democrat or an independent.
    “Or a Republican,” Lieberman jokingly added. “I have all sorts of options.”

    This man has no intention to vote for cloture. He’s planning to run as a Republican in 2012 because his options running as an independent are limited.

  15. 15
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I find the persistent belief that there’s a Democratic majority in the Senate confusing. A majority of Democrats doesn’t deliver a Democratic majority.

    This country is backwards from Europe. In Europe you fight the election, then form the coalition. Here you form the coalition, then fight the election.

    At any given time we have in the US four or five parties, but only two labels. American politics is coalition politics. All coalitions can be split. The bigger the coalition, the more fault lines, and any coalition large enough to govern — around 55-60 votes — will also have at least one fault line along which it will split. Being able to fracture a ruling coalition won’t produce legislation, but it can stop legislation quite easily — and stopping legislation can easily command a bi-partisan block

    After a failure on HCR, within six months, Obama won’t be able to do anything, because a successful righto-leftist Congressional bloc, while unable to do anything, will be able to stop everything.

    Even if some HCR bill is produced, the next big Democratic bill after that — Stimulus II? — will not pass at all, thanks to Republicans on the right, and Democrats on the left. You saw the bloc begin to emerge on the supplemental budget vote. You saw it start to emerge on ACES, where Kucinich and DeFazio voted with Boehner. ACES passed by one (1) vote.

    What’s the downside for a non-cooperative congresscritter? Give arguendo Obama the power to call for new elections, like a European president, and if he did, they’re assured of a 95% incumbency return rate whatever happens at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Yeah, it’s more fun to be in the majority, but of the 256 Democratic reps, even in a 2010 blowout, 225 of them aren’t losing their jobs.

  16. 16
    me says:

    Heh, Berlusconi is in the hospital after getting punched in the face. I for one believe this is a great precedent and would like to see other world leaders get punched in the face. Dibs on Hamid Karzai!

  17. 17
    YankeeApologist says:

    Maybe we can get Taibbi to run against him in ’12.

  18. 18
    leo says:

    Reconciliation or (apparently) death.

  19. 19
    Gaffa says:


    “Or a Republican,” Lieberman jokingly added. “I have all sorts of options.”

    Is one of them not being an asshole?

  20. 20
    mr. whipple says:

    They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

    I was beginning to feel same, but I heard the Cleveland Clinic is adding 1,800 jobs, mostly drs. , and another huge Cleveland hospital is adding 800.

    They apparently know something we don’t, or are at least betting something is gonna happen.

  21. 21


    Really shitty legislators.

  22. 22
    wilfred says:


    Lieberman has been a scumbag for years on end – including when he ran with Gore. Selective blindness made him acceptable to a lot of people but he was the same then as he is now.

  23. 23
    Martin says:

    Omaha doesn’t have any big health insurers any longer. They were smart enough to bail out of that market and stick with life and other insurances, but the point probably stands.

    Regardless, nobody is looking for them to vote, just not filibuster. That’s the only goal here. And they do need to play their hand properly or else Reid can go reconciliation and these guys get nothing. I think Nelson is just trying to put enough material on the record to carry his re-election. I’m almost positive he’ll back down because the party rule (on both sides) is to not get in the way of procedural votes. He’s free to vote against the bill, but supporting the filibuster is expected to strip him of his committees and seniority.

    Lieberman most likely is trying to not draw a Democratic challenger given that his polling is seriously in the shitter. He faces getting chucked out of the Dem caucus, but that might be okay with him right now. If Reid concedes on that, it forces Lieberman somewhat to the right to make sure that he doesn’t lose to a strong Republican who won’t jerk the state around as much as he has. If Reid can make this work without Lieberman, CT could dump Lieberman for a proper Dem next time through. Watch and see how Dodd’s race shapes up – he’s picking up some, so it might work out alright – but things are pretty dicey for the more popular Senator from the state.

  24. 24
    Jrod says:

    @YankeeApologist: If Lieberdouche does decide to run as a Republican, he can no doubt count on endorsements from Obama and most of the Democrats in the senate, because Lieberman is a trusted colleague and a true blue- urk, sorry, just threw up on the keyboard a little.

  25. 25
    Brian J says:

    As I said in comment over at Brad DeLong’s blog, if someone like Matt Taibbi wants to make a difference, he needs to identify the competitive races and help find the people necessary to replace clowns like Lieberman. Obama may or may not support the same policies as you, bit his agenda is at the mercy of these people. (I was commenting on the financial system reform efforts, but it applies here as well.)

    Meanwhile, Elliot Spitzer’s call girl now has a column in the New York Post. I guess we should be happy that she isn’t writing for The Wall Street Journal.

  26. 26
    BR says:

    Ok, the question is what can we do about it?

    I’m sick and tired of just being pissed about this; we’re smart folks – let’s brainstorm.

  27. 27
    BDeevDad says:

    Well, Grayson has a petition to get rid of the threat of filibuster.

    We therefore call upon you to end this unfair system by using your power as Majority Leader to modify the rules of the Senate, to require only 55 votes to invoke cloture instead of 60. Only by doing so can we end delay that has held up so much crucial legislation, and enact the agenda that we promised the American people that we would enact.

  28. 28
    Lisa K. says:

    I’m sick and tired of just being pissed about this; we’re smart folks – let’s brainstorm.

    Reconciliation. They have gone too far to let it sink now.

    And let’s not kid ourselves any longer that Ben Nelson is bargaining in good faith.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Jrod says:

    @BR: Short of a new constitutional convention, which requires more votes than we could ever possibly get, the only way to reform the senate is for the senate to vote to do so.

    So yeah, I got nothin’.

    We could maybe get some interest in a torches and pitchforks style of solution if we can pitch it as a new reality show. Otherwise I don’t think Americans are interested.

  31. 31
    Sly says:


    If you know people in Nebraska and CT, have them call their offices. That’s generally the best way to go. People who call in from out of state generally get put straight into the black hole of voice mail.

    Congressman employ the same rule for call-ins that complaint line operators do for TV networks. For every one person that is willing to voice their displeasure directly, there are likely thousands who will voice their displeasure at the polling station. That’s why demonstrations, by and large, are ineffective at producing immediate policy goals. A Senator or Congressman will look out over a crowd gathered in Washington and have no idea if any of them are his or her constituents.

    If you don’t know anyone in CT or NE, you can call your local Senator and fume to them. It may indirectly move the process forward.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    What bugs me is that I’m not sure what follows from this realization. I mean–if we could get the Democrats in Congress and the Administration to realize that the end game for Nelson and Lieberman is to vote against cloture to prevent the bill from passing where would we be legislatively? If you really think Nelson and Lieberman will vote against cloture isn’t the right thing to do to force the vote *right now* and make clear that any democrats voting against cloture will have a huge target painted on their back next time around and be punished severely right now (insofar as that can be done) and end the kabuki that this bill can be passed through the Senate at all?

    At that point you’ve drawn your lines in the sand for the voters and instead of letting the voters think “the democrats can’t get anything done” the story is “the insurance companies and lieberman and other stooges won’t let anything be done.”

    Then you split off the parts of the bill that the insurance companies can accept and pass those as a bill and you do everything else, including the full on public option, through reconciliation and you pursue a scorched earth policy against “centrist” dems until the next time you get enough Senators to push through a permanent bill.

    Basically, isn’t that what has to happen once you have accepted that Lieberman et al are going to kill this bill anyway they can? Accepting the polite fiction that these guys are considering for one moment voting for cloture is hurting us and helping them.


  33. 33
    asiangrrlMN says:

    They have no fucking intention of voting for anything outside of their self-interest, full stop.

    @Brian J: Hey! It’s hard out there for a ho!

    I’mma getting my rusty pitchfork ready. And, I’m sure I can fashion a torch somehow.

  34. 34
    Linus says:

    It seems so obvious. I’ve been saying for months that the Senate will never pass a health care bill. The rules have been perverted so that everything requires 60 votes, and there simply aren’t 60 senators who support or want to see any health care reform. Does anyone still believe that there will be a health care bill?

  35. 35
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    having a 60 dem majority in the Senate has gone snafu.

    Why do people persist in pushing the fiction that there are 60 Democrats in the Senate?

  36. 36
    BR says:

    My approach on calls is that I’ve programmed my senators and congressperson’s numbers (3 offices a piece) into my phone and call them daily. (I rotate so that they don’t catch on easily.) I think that’s a starting point:

    Program your senators/congressperson’s numbers into your phone and get into a habit of calling them and telling them whatever you post here as a comment.

    My thought on step two is to do local action: find local, sane mayors / state senators / etc who are in the district/state of the idiot-in-question (Lieberman, Nelson, Snowe, etc.) in Washington and contact them and ask them to make a strong statement on the issue in front of some press. It’ll both peg them as an up-and-comer for state-wide office and will put some local pressure on the idiot-in-question.

    That’s what I’ve got so far. Thoughts?

  37. 37
    PeakVT says:

    The big red button. Somebody. Push it.

  38. 38
    Martin says:


    That’s my point. Lieberman’s self-interest is to get re-elected and Reid probably has more of a role in that than the people of CT do, at this stage. Nelson is from a red state and needs to pull in enough independents to get re-elected. He’s making headlines that will help him get that. If he allows the bill to go to a vote and votes against it (while still allowing the bill to pass) and gets his ‘red state warrior’ headlines then everyone wins.

    One of the most important things to remember about politicians is that what they say isn’t at all what they do. People get elected on what they say, nobody in this country pays any fucking attention to what they do, with a handful of categorical exceptions. This isn’t one of those exceptions. Nelson will be remembered far more for his amendment than for his final vote (let alone his cloture vote). Relax.

  39. 39
    Will says:

    Reconciliation at this point, as excruciating and slow as it will be, will probably prove not only more productive, but also quicker, than dealing with these two complete jackasses ONE SECOND MORE.

  40. 40
    BR says:

    Agreed. Nelson isn’t going to be the main problem – Lieberman probably is. The guy has butthurt written all over him.

    Nelson is just doing the red-state-Dem two-step.

  41. 41
    aimai says:

    I don’t think we can relax. First of all–its far from uncertain that its in lieberman’s interst to get re elected. He could easily get re-elected by supporting Reid. He only got in to CT last time because the voters thought he was going to act like the old lieberman and be a democrat. CT is royally pissed at Lieberman and generally want the health care bill passed. He is not pleasing his voters with this shtick. Lieberman is planning on retiring from the Senate to a well paid Insurance co. sinecure or think tank. I doubt if there is anything Reid and Schumer can offer him in support that will make staying more profitable than leaving.

    Nelson: maybe they think Nelson will “come around” after all this posturing. I don’t think the evidence is good on that. For one thing–the kind of posturing Nelson is doing at this point is purely washington in focus. I guarantee you that no one in Nebraska cares about cloture votes. If they are enjoying this grandstanding they will expect him to come through and continue to deny letting the bill move forward. If his intention was to vote against the bill (for political or philosophical reasons) later he could have done all of us a lot of good by simply saying that he couldn’t, in good conscience, vote against cloture *because that was a procedural issue* and then stating firmly that he would vote against the final bill if X or Y didn’t happen. That would have had exactly the same effect locally (making him out to be a reactionary republican in sheep’s clothing if that’s what floats his boat electorally) while not fucking over the leadership of his own party and the rest of his party.

    The fact that Nelson is choosing to so publicly derail and destroy all chance of a good health care bill is a pretty good indication that he’s either stupid enough, or corrupt enough, to plan on *not voting for cloture* or creating a disasterous situation in which progressives will vote against the bill. When betting on corrupt or stupid, evil or moronic, the smart money says “both!”


  42. 42
    gwangung says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    Why do people persist in pushing the fiction that there are 60 Democrats in the Senate?

    We’re seeing the practical effect of sane Republicans joining the Democratic Party; they swell the brand name, but not the practice or principles.

  43. 43
    Steeplejack says:

    @Joey Maloney:


  44. 44
    zed says:

    Just one detail, Lieberman was not in on the recent negotiations. He was asked to be, but refused to accept.

    Nelson however was.

  45. 45
    Steeplejack says:


    Dibs on President McCain.

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    Why do people persist in pushing the fiction that there are 60 Democrats in the Senate?

    even if you count Lieberman and Sanders, there still aren’t 60!

  47. 47
    mcd410x says:

    That Rolodex of volunteers that the Obama campaign gathered during the election run could come in handy putting together local phone banks to go after these senators … wouldn’t it? Wasn’t that the whole point?

  48. 48
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    I salute you, brother!

  49. 49
    Ruemara says:


    What BVD Dad posted just below you. And, write to Reid, and insist he make them stand their and wet their pants instead of quaking in his boots over just the threat of a filibuster.

  50. 50
    BR says:

    Yeah, but that’s not something we can do. That’s hoping for Reid to grow a pair, and that’s not happening. My best hopes are for everyone to 1. program their elected officials’ numbers into their phones to make daily calls and 2. contact other non-federal elected officials and have them make local public statements on issues.

  51. 51
    Martin says:


    He could easily get re-elected by supporting Reid

    Tell that to Dodd.

    I guarantee you that no one in Nebraska cares about cloture votes.

    I agree. So why are you acting as though they do? Nelson is leveraging a cloture vote, that he knows nobody in Nebraska cares about, into headlines because the media are falling for the gambit. Nelson can continue this right up to the day of the cloture vote, vote along with the Dems and he’s got his headlines and nobody in Nebraska still cares what he did.

    The fact that they aren’t playing this game with the actual bill vote tells you that Dems have sufficient votes for it. There’s no leverage there, so they go where the leverage is – the cloture vote. Nelson hasn’t derailed anything until the votes are in – he’s just causing people like you and Hamsher and Kos to get all wadded up and talking about him *which is exactly what he wants*. Calm down and he’ll stop.

  52. 52
    Martin says:


    They’re doing that. It’s not visible because there’s no election now.

    Have you met our media?

  53. 53
    The Sheriff Is A Ni- says:

    @mcd410x: “Hi I’m Ben Nelson. I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.”

    The DNC and the Blue Dogs learned their lesson from Lamont-Lieberman. It wasn’t a lesson in our favor.

  54. 54
    donovong says:

    There will be a health-care reform bill passed. It will not have a public option. And the two ladies from Maine will be the ones to push it over the line.

    I’m taking bets.

  55. 55
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Reconciliation at this point, as excruciating and slow as it will be

    Are you serious? How could reconciliation be worse than what is happening now? Really, how?

    Why do people keep bad-mouthing budget reconciliation?

    The DNC and the Blue Dogs learned their lesson from Lamont-Lieberman. It wasn’t a lesson in our favor.

    A certain someone idiotically backed Lieberman in that race rather than Lamont. Now his entire legislative agenda is threatened. But don’t blame him! He’s only president!

  56. 56
    The Sheriff Is A Ni- says:

    I should clarify a bit, just in case.

    Here’s the lesson of Lamont-Lieberman: Incumbency plus a GOP with no shame equals Reid and the DNC having zero leverage over the Blue Dogs. Not when they can just cross the aisle without any fear of repercussion from the electorate.

  57. 57
    Napoleon says:

    @mr. whipple:

    I was beginning to feel same, but I heard the Cleveland Clinic is adding 1,800 jobs, mostly drs. , and another huge Cleveland hospital is adding 800.

    Huh? I live in Cleveland and haven’t seen this anywhere. Are you sure of this?

  58. 58
    Feebog says:

    If Reid wanted to play hardball, he would simply tell these two chumps that if they continue to oppose the public option or this latest “compromise” that he will pull the plug on individual mandates. And maybe up the number on the employer mandates as well. The only reason the insurance companies think this whole thing is a good deal is that they expect another 30 million americans will be FORCED to buy insurance from them. Take that away and you would see these two insurance tools STFU.

  59. 59
    Napoleon says:

    @The Sheriff Is A Ni-:

    Not when they can just cross the aisle without any fear of repercussion from the electorate.

    Cross in what sense? If you mean actually become Republicans are you kidding? The teabaggers are complaining about people that are very right wing and have always been Republicans. There is not a single person in the Dem caucus that if they crossed over would not draw an automatic primary challenge.

  60. 60
    Sly says:

    They’ll vote for a bill if it protects their own little fiefdom at the expense of the rest of Americans.

    Country First, hippies!

  61. 61
    maus says:

    @mr. whipple: “I was beginning to feel same, but I heard the Cleveland Clinic is adding 1,800 jobs, mostly drs. , and another huge Cleveland hospital is adding 800.

    They apparently know something we don’t, or are at least betting something is gonna happen.”

    Or you’re out in fairlyland and there’s no causative link, which considering the pathetic industry give-away we have before us now is bound to be the case. No other healthcare-related organization is doing this, ESPECIALLY the ones with lobbyist ties.

  62. 62
    danny6114 says:

    Take the Reform out of #HCR and you got yourself a deal!

  63. 63

    A couple things, both Nelson and Lieberman are ’06 winners meaning there is another 2-3 years before anyone can begin to challenge them for their seats. Politicians do count on voter’s short memories other than bringing home the bacon.

    The size of the reliable Democratic Senate vote means that there are some real levers, Chairmanships, Committee Seats, and especially Earmarks. Keep in mind that those levers lose most of their efficacy if they are public before the fact. Voters tend to not like their representatives being threatened by out of staters, that includes other Senators. Lieberman/Lamont was at least partially that, and the Republicans playing electoral games.

    Senators are reluctant to cut other Senators’ throats (especially Democrats) so they will do a balance calculation, on this hand – on that hand regarding future legislation. If you want a guess, mine would be that Lieberman has reached a tipping point and a vote against cloture would sink him with the Dems. Nelson is another matter.

    Any hammer actually applied to these two wouldn’t have effect until the ’12 election cycle. That is a ways out. The Democratic Caucus isn’t full of pussies and apostates but there will be some close calculating done before they start down a GOP purity purge.

    I am an advocate of beating Lieberman senseless, however.

  64. 64
    mistersnrub says:

    Dems should say, to quote my grandmother, “Leiberman, gai kakhen afenyam.” (Go shit in the ocean).

  65. 65
    Davis X. Machina says:

    There will be a health-care reform bill passed. It will not have a public option. And the two ladies from Maine will be the ones to push it over the line.

    It will then be harmonized in conference in the House with their earlier version, and the conference report that emerges will be a.) unpassable in the Senate (Nelson, Lieberman, Lincoln, etc…) or b.) unpassable in the House (Blue Dog-Purity Caucus ad-hoc coalition — Skelton, Herseth, Cuellar, Ortiz, Kucinich, DiFazio…), or both.

    The Republicans don’t need to kill HCR, the Democrats will do it for them.

    And it will be Obama’s fault, too.

  66. 66
    jcricket says:


    Repeat it.

    Just like the “threat of the filibuster” is good enough to get all sorts of stuff thrown your way, the threat of bypassing you entirely should be good enough – esp. for fuckwads like Lieberman and Nelson.

    And frankly, if we pursued reconciliation and Nelson/Lieberman “retaliated” by becoming Republicans, I think it would be to our longer-term benefit. Right now it’s all “our fault” if we don’t get Lieberman and Nelson on board.

    I’m not an ideological purist (see RNC’s purity test), but if someone’s not going to even vote for cloture on the signature agenda-item for Democrats, they’re not a Democrat. Period.

  67. 67
    Kirk Spencer says:

    fwiw, I don’t want them to get rid of the filibuster. I think there is need for a tool by which the minority befuddles the majority. However, I have a different solution: make it hurt.

    Here’s the key problem. A few decades ago the rule was that the bill on the floor was the only thing that could be considered. If a filibuster was in progress, nothing else happened.

    These bright fellows came up with the idea that they could ‘get things done’ if other business weren’t blocked by that bit.

    A filibuster used to be a dual-edged blade. If a party put it up for discussion, the party that didn’t want it had to pay the price of looking like obstructionists. A recent history example is the effect of Gingrich shutting down congress under Clinton.

    The tools for keeping a filibuster going are ugly — a party that WANTS to filibuster CAN filibuster without having to read the phone book. But the reason nobody bothers is that things can still get done.

    I’d like to see the dual tracking stopped.

  68. 68
    jcricket says:

    @Kirk Spencer: I don’t think the filibuster is needed anymore. There are hundreds of other rules in the Senate that slow things down allowing even an individual Senator to gum up the works. Plus we have House v. Senate, Presidential veto, the court system, etc. – we have an over-abundance of checks and balances.

    And the Senate is non-democratic/representational by nature, and given population trends increasingly headed that way.

    I think if Democrats, at all, want to earn some kind of reputation for getting shit done they have to kill some of the worst House and Senate rules that allow for endless delay by recalcitrant minorities.

    And yes I know we’ll be in the minority in the future. I think we’ll be ok.

  69. 69
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @jcricket: No, the majority of senate things to ‘slow things down’ are traditions, not rules, and most of them (the holds) are more formally declarations of intent to filibuster.

    That’s really important to note. Because filibustering is so painless the threat at any stage is sufficient to bring the delay.

    Prior to 1972 the threat was warning there would be a fight, and the hold could be ignored — at which point the senator making the hold had to be prepared to put up or shut up. (See Strom Thurmond’s famous 24+ hour filibuster). By 1975 the fact the fight would be a sideshow made the declarations of intent to fight more painful for those who wanted the bill.

    Yes, it’s counterintuitive, but making the filibuster more painful would probably result in less use.

  70. 70
    jcricket says:

    @Kirk Spencer: I’m fine with keeping the filibuster if it can be (re?) turned into a tool that’s difficult to invoke and comes at a big cost to the users and requires extra-ordinary coordination and discipline amongst the minority party.

    IOW, if Republicans had to personally be there for 24×7 every time they filibuster, recalcitrant Dems had to bend over and act as chairs for the filibustering Republicans and not a single thing Republicans wanted to get discussed/looked at was considered, maybe the filibuster would be ok.

    If we can’t do that, let’s kill it.

  71. 71
    harlana pepper says:

    I am SO afraid it is the forerunner to single-payer health care! It’s, it’s just TERRIFYING! People might actually, you know, LIKE it and stuff. Eh meh gaaawwwd, noooooo!

  72. 72
    Jules says:

    What a pair of hypocritical bastards…

    and just a min ago a Sen. Burr(R) whined again that the Republicans were never “invited to the table” and did not get to take part at all.

  73. 73
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @jcricket: Yeah, that’s my point.

    It’s easy to invoke because all it does is delay the bill and only the bill – there’s no other penalty. Despite all the shows and what people think, actually having a filibuster is fairly easy.

    For example, when he’s ready the standing senator (the one ‘speaking) calls a quorum. Now the senate has to go through a roll call with some formal curlicues to ensure there are enough people present for the Senate to be in session. In the meantime the standing senator gets a respite – sits, drinks, whatever. Then the standing senator stands up, and calls the quorum. The instant there’s no quorum the senate closes for the day and business starts up the next day as per schedule — at which point the standing senator calls the quorum. There are also means of passing the ability back and forth and delaying the call, which means the standing senator can cope with some biological urges.

    The choices are to make using the brakes expensive or taking away the brakes. Since I’d rather have the brakes around, I’ll take expensive.

    Not that I get a choice in the matter.

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    Morbo says:

    “Regulatory capture” in action. How do we make that phrase part of the national conversation?

  76. 76
    The Republic of Stupidity says:


    Seeing as Senators Lieberman and Nelson are sooooo intent on giving the American people the finger…

    I see it only right, fair, and just that we return the favor

  77. 77
    Silver Owl says:

    Funny, the DNC just called me asking for money. I told the person that I was not contributing to the Democrats as a party until Dems supported me as a sentient human being with the right to be free in my own nation.

    He can thank Stupak and Nelson personally for my revulsion towards the democrats as a party.

    Why are the old white men so disgusting these days? Lieberman, Stupak, Nelson, Reid not to mention the plethora of old white men the republicans have doing stupid chit too.

  78. 78
    Alex S. says:


    if what you’re saying is true, and I am moving towards agreeing with you, it means that America has become ungovernable. Medicare/MedicAid will be dismantled after their insolvency in 8 years. The Democrats will lose 3-4 seats in 2010, effectively gridlocking the Senate because noone will ever get 60 votes for anything. Obama’s 2nd term, if it happens at all, will be a repeat of Clinton’s 2nd term, only with even fewer regulations and even more unproductive bubbles. America will decline. This is all so very depressing.

  79. 79
    The Republic of Stupidity says:


    the favor

  80. 80
    Tsulagi says:

    They are never going to vote for any health care bill.

    Buck up, sure they’re going to vote for a bill. Republicans haven’t yet gotten every last thing and compromise on their wish list, but they will. Have faith. Of course, even though the final bill will likely look like something they would have wrote if they were in the majority and could string sentences and numbers together, they’ll call it the greatest threat to America ever voting against it.

  81. 81
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    Because saying there are 58 democrats plus one Soshulist, one Lieberman independent demorat, 5 purple hens and a partridge in a pear tree is hard work and takes up too many soundbites,

    Oh, and plus it sounds better for drama that dems are un united and not unto blame for everything.

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    OK. Now I’m pissed. This is ridiculous. People are going to die as a result of this shit.


  83. 83
    Martin says:


    Benefits are already capped for most individuals. Nothing new here. The problem without capped benefits is that hospitals could go to town on tests, longer stays, and so on and the insurers would be mandated to pay. What people are seeing as a windfall for insurers is trying to avoid a windfall for care providers.

    These trade-offs are going to be ongoing until single payer shows up. They’re unavoidable – but they’re still progress – pretty good progress even.

    And even the best health care bill won’t stop people from dying, even from preventable things. That’s not a valid litmus test.

  84. 84

    Along with this post I took official leave of absence from all duties until Feb 2010. That is Co Chair, Caucus Chair, Delegate, etc. Where this will go from there is open to question.

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    toujoursdan says:

    This was one of the most frustrating things to get used to when I moved here from Canada. In Canada, the party gets together in caucus, debates and votes on its agenda, runs on it and then the individual MPs are expected to vote for the party’s agenda (except on a conscience vote) else lose their status in the party.

    I don’t understand why someone would run, get support from a party and then vote against its interests.

    I also don’t believe in purity tests (and parties like the Liberal Party of Canada are pretty diverse) but when it comes to agenda items the party should caucus, decide on a agenda, run on it, follow through on it and then let the voters decide whether they should stay in power in the next election.

  86. 86
    Tsulagi says:

    You got that right, Martin. When President Obama during his HCR address to Congress in September said…

    We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick.

    Notice careful use of the word “should.” “Should” isn’t the same as “won’t.” Also if they’ve already reached an annual or lifetime limits, effectively they wouldn’t have coverage so they wouldn’t be charged. Technically correct. Later in the same speech three months ago…

    They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime.

    Again, pay attention to the words. Arbitrary. If caps are in the final bill, they will not be arbitrary. They will be carefully chosen.

  87. 87
    Martin says:

    @Tsulagi: And there will most likely be some remedy for these cases in a revision. Medicaid could fit this task, but the look-back provision usually screws it up. That might get fixed. We’ll see.

  88. 88
    burnspbesq says:


    The fact that it’s not new doesn’t mean that it isn’t intolerable.

    Carriers pay actuaries pantloads of money to accurately predict their future exposures, and should be pricing based on sound actuarial analysis. If they fuck up, that should be on the shareholders, not the policyholders.

  89. 89
    burnspbesq says:


    They will be carefully chosen.

    Carefully chosen to leave policyholders without coverage when they need it most. God forbid that an “insurance” policy should involve actual risk-shifting.

  90. 90
    Autboy says:

    sorry. the dysfucntionality of our politics is mind-numbing

  91. 91
    Remember November says:

    The US Senate- where good ideas go to die.

  92. 92
    Autboy says:

    @wilfred: Fuck Joe Lieberman. Disclosure: I have had 2 glasses of Pinot

  93. 93
    Dino says:


    Create a bill that significantly “bends the curve” to get it by the budgetary requirement. Health care costs are killing/will kill this nation. Pinch the insurers, pinch the medical providers, pinch the seniors, pinch the unions etc. Emphasize the cost savings and throw it back into the “fiscal conservatives” faces. They have been acting like children for ten months now, time to treat them like children.

    Let Obama publicly lose his cool. The media will eat it up. The contents of the bill (other than cost savings– public option is helpful in this regard) are secondary. He has to apply the discipline of a parent. Those who voted for Obama will be re-energized. It is a perfect opportunity to confront some very entrenched interests.

    He can rail against special interests who are subverting the common good. He can point to their immaturity, irrationality, and avarice. Most people are not really paying attention. But the spectacle of a President calling out a significant portion of our nation will carry the national conversation beyond the teabaggers and into the general public.

    Then apply this model to the financial and energy debates. This President must be more forceful with his own party and the general public.

  94. 94
    Fleas correct the era says:

    Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) both said a Medicare “buy-in” option for those aged 55-64 was a deal breaker.

    I doubt Our Nation’s Only Media would think (or bother) to ask, but is there anything that wouldn’t be “a deal breaker”?

    Thank God Lieberman is with us on everything that doesn’t matter, because — Harry? — he’s sure not with us on anything that does.

  95. 95


    Could Alan Grayson be a bigger douchebag? I mean, I’d like to get rid of the whole Senate, so the filibuster is sort of an after thought, but the Majority Leader doesn’t have some magical power to change cloture rules whenever he feels like it. And I don’t really see how spreading misconceptions like that is going to help progressives achieve anything. It got Grayson’s picture on another webpage though.

  96. 96
    Martin says:


    It’s not intolerable – we’re tolerating it now and have been for 233 years. The question is does this make things better, worse, or no different. Arguably, it makes it marginally better because the cap will be known and uniform and it will put pressure on care providers to not exceed this magic number. Right now there’s a cap but it’s inconsistent and so there is no magic number.

    It’s not great, no, but it’s tolerable and at least marginally better than things are now. Remember, Medicare has caps on tons of things, and yet we’re looking at it as an almost ideal system.

  97. 97
    Steaming Pile says:

    Ay, carumba! If I were the Majority Leader, I’d just hold the damned cloture vote, and let these clowns twist in the wind. “Oh, I’m sorry Joe, I thought you were on our side. Hand in your gavel.”

    There should already be people feeling out primary challenges for the ’10 people. Including Reid, the big puss. If the threat of a primary suddenly became the reality of a primary, you’d bet these people would have a much more enlightened attitude.

  98. 98

    “Oh, I’m sorry Joe, I thought you were on our side. Hand in your gavel.”

    I’m not sure how many times this is going to have to be pointed out, but It. Does. Not. Work. Like. That.

  99. 99
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I’m not sure how many times this is going to have to be pointed out,

    I figure at least 23 trillion times.

  100. 100
    rp says:

    Reconciliation. Just fucking do it.

  101. 101
    Steeplejack says:


    Because, in America, party affiliation is not an actual philosophical position (or set of positions), it’s just a brand name under which to get yourself elected.

  102. 102
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:


    Apparently it was a model of the Cathedral of Milan. That must have really hurt, because that cathedral is SHARP.

  103. 103
    Nick says:

    @Napoleon: No, but they’d almost certainly survive a primary, especially if it’s an open primary.

    Lieberman would never get ousted in a GOP primary in Connecticut, Republicans love the guy…Nelson might in Nebraska, but he’d still have a really good chance.

  104. 104
    Nick says:

    @Steaming Pile: and how will you respond to endless Media crowing of “HEALTH CARE FAILS! DEMOCRATS FAIL!!!! MAJORITY LEADER STEAMING PILE FAILS!!!!!!

  105. 105
    Nick says:

    @mcd410x: Yeah we’ve been doing that, it shouldn’t shock you that Nelson and Lieberman don’t really care about what the people in that rolodex have to say.

  106. 106
    John L says:

    Join the Facebook group “Loathing Lieberman”

    God, how he makes my blood boil and my bowels loosen.

  107. 107

    @Brien Jackson:

    It. Does. Not. Work. Like. That.

    The Caucus approve the Committee seats and can strip them. The Caucus can also strip any earmark. DSCC and DNC funds are discretional. It is quite possible to sufficiently strip these pricks of influence to make them electoral poison and useless to lobbyists. Such a decision would require a good majority of the Caucus. Reid cannot just make the Caucus take any line of action, they have to go along.

    For the next couple months they can get along without me.

  108. 108
    Smerp says:

    Please read and consider. If you are on the Twitter, do it now.

  109. 109
    matt says:

    Fine lets have nothing at all…its better than this abortion of a bill is. The dems have proved that no number of deaths is worth infringing on corporate profits and any rep or sen who votes no and loses his job next election will be guaranteed a lifetime sinecure at one of the insurance or pharma companies. Whores all of them…sold out their voters in less than a year!

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