Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lieberman: The Prime Exemplar Of Political Corruption

My Anti-Lieberman Week continues with a look at his corruption and "forgetfulness." Regarding corruption, Holy Joe has been handsomely paid off by the insurance industry and has ensured that nothing competes with this private monopoly charging increasingly unaffordable rates:

The aim of [allowing people over 55 to buy Medicate plans], like the public option, is to provide more choice for consumers and more competition for the private insurance industry. And that industry, you will not be surprised to hear, has been very, very good to Mr. Lieberman.

...Mr. Lieberman has taken more than $1 million from the industry over his Senate career. In his 2006 re-election campaign, he ranked second in the Senate in contributions from the industry. He doesn’t seem to have forgotten that.

Then there's Lieberman's convenient forgetfulness. What was his response when asked about the support he expressed for Medicare expansion as recently as September?

This week, when there actually seemed to be a compromise on health care that did not focus on Mr. Lieberman, he announced that he would block the package if the Democrats included a terrible idea — allowing people between 55 and 65 to buy Medicare.

He presented this as a principled effort to keep down federal debt, but when a Times reporter asked about his 180-degree turn, he said he had forgotten taking his earlier position until the Democratic leadership reminded him about it over the weekend.

So that's it, then? "Umm...I forgot"? This from a senator who constantly states that he's driven by principle? Even if we accept this absurd proposition, why has he so quickly changed his mind? Perhaps he remembered again the $1 million from the health insurance industry.

The health care debate has exposed just how corrupt and broken our political system is. With most of the public and the majority of senators and members of Congress supportive of a public option, the will of the people will not be realized. Thanks to the filibuster, a few senators can thwart vital legislation. Thanks, too, to the lack of campaign finance reform, politicians can be bought off by health insurance lobbyists. Are those politicians going to turn around and vote to increase public financing of elections? Joe Lieberman, who has threatened to filibuster health reform for weeks and has had cash shoveled at him by the health insurance industry, is the prime exemplar of the corruption deeply embedded in our political culture.

(Click on the cartoon to enlarge.)

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