Reporter's Note: The voters have once again been polled about President Obama. The short story is, half of them think he’s doing a decent job, a little less than half don’t, and the rest are off buying shoes, or eating lunch, or something like that. The longer story is that he is wrestling with some tough issues and paying a political price. Thank goodness he gets free advice every day in my letter to the White House.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
Is there something I don’t know about Joe Lieberman? Does he cheat at golf, or steal pens, or never pick up the check during Senatorial Happy Hour? I ask only because I am a little puzzled by all the venom being sprayed at him by many of your Democratic pals this week over the health care debate.
Certainly I can understand the frustration of folks who felt like he was proving to be a stumbling block to their dreams of having a government option for health insurance as part of this reform package. I get the equation: The measure could not pass without his vote; he wouldn’t give it if the public option remained in the legislation; so it was dropped to get him to play along. What I don’t get, (and I’m really not trying to be a wise guy about this) is what’s wrong with that?
I thought the whole point of democracy is that we elect people who we believe represent our interests (ha! I laugh every time I say that) and they duke it out over the issues. And that means sometimes they disagree. And sometimes they disagree down to the last vote. But it seems to me if people on the losing side in any debate want to be mad at someone it should be their leadership for letting the issue come down to such a fine line. Could Lieberman’s vote (or the vote of some other Senator) eventually make or break this legislation? Technically yes, but you could just as easily say every single person who votes against it is the “deciding” vote; why didn’t the proponents of this measure do a better job winning them over?
If you have reason to expect some kind of dirty dealing, I guess that would be a different matter. But I haven’t seen evidence of that here, any more than I do in pretty much every contentious vote up on the Hill. And btw, isn’t that what politics is all about?
One more thing: Although Lieberman generally votes with the Democrats, he had to run as an Independent to keep his seat because the party bosses were not exactly in his corner. Why is everyone so surprised now that he’s not going out of his way to be in theirs?
Just wondering. If you have any insights on all this, give me a call. I’m always ready to hear the case against a lawmaker, but in his case, I’m not sure I’ve heard it yet.
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