Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On why Lieberman still has limited uses

A lot of liberal bloggers (myself included) are still mad that Lieberman was punished for his actions during the campaign. By all rights he should have been stripped of his committee chair on the Homeland Security Committee (he's been abysmal in oversight) and possibly tossed out of the Democratic causus.

So why wasn't he? Why did president Obama give the word that he didn't want Lieberman removed (while still fobbing off Lieberman to Biden when he did call)

Two words: Legislative priorities.

It looks like Obama's first priority is to overhaul health care. His selection of Tom Daschele for Health and Human Services shows he is serious about dealing with the problem. The issue for Obama is that he will need every vote he can scrape together to get legislation passed, and that includes Lieberman. I don't think a lot of senate republcans will flip on the issues. They are pretty lock step in calling any kind of fair health policy 'socialized medicine' and they will not see reason on this issue.

Now Lieberman gets a lot of money from the insurance industry, and had he been kicked off his committee posts, he wouldn't hesitate to side with them and oppose any kind of reform. But he DID get to keep his committee posts, and keeping them depends on having the good will of the president and Senate Democrats. I don't think he'd hesitate to sell out the insurance companies to hold on to his committee chair.

Now what about the war? For me and many liberal bloggers, this ought to be the first priority. So why isn't it? again priorities. I believe President Obama wants both Health Care reform AND and end to the war, and the only way to get both, is to do health care first.

Liberman won't flip on the war, he'll sell out a lot of things, but I don't think he'd sell out (what he thinks) is in Israel's best security interests. I happen to think Israel would be a lot more secure with a more diplomatic approach to 'The War On Terror', but Lieberman is convinced a military solution is the only one. And he won't vote to withdraw troops, and if we tackled the war first, he won't vote for anything else on the Obama agenda. ON the other hand I think a lot more Republican senators will flip on the war then on health care. Fiscal Conservatives see the war a big waste of money (as they also see health care reform) and would vote to end it, and in that case Lieberman's oppostition will be neutralized.

So as I posted earlier, Lieberman is being used for the greater good. We will get better health care options, AND we get to end the war.

I do allow the chance that I may be wrong. And if, in six months time there is no signficant movement to reform health care, and no significant move to end the Iraqi occupation, I'll eat my words on this blog. But give me six months.

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