This week’s winner of the “Biggest Effer of Government” award is none other than Orthodox Jew and Senator Joe Lieberman of good old CT. Lieberman—or “Joe,” as his friends would probably call him if he had any—has announced the he will vote to filibuster a health care bill with a public option.
Quick Senate rules primer: It only takes a 51 votes to pass a bill, but it takes 60 votes to end debate on a bill and actually move to that vote. Thus minority parties often kill a bill by refusing to allow debate to ever end; this is called “filibustering.” Senate rules state that debate automatically ends if no one is talking, so Senators are often forced to say random shit just to keep the filibuster going. In 1957, Strom Thurmond filibustered a bill (The Civil Rights Act of 1957—good job, Strom) by rambling for 24 hours and 18 minutes about topics ranging from the works of Shakespeare to his grandmother’s biscuit recipe.
But back to our friend Joe. He’s a Democrat-turned-Independent who still aligns himself with the Democrats, but a lot of his positions seem at odds with his stated Democratic leanings. Quick pop quiz: Which of the following has Joe Lieberman not done?
A. Support the Iraq War
B. Campaign against Barack Obama
C. Support Bush’s torture policies
D. Look like the bottom half of his face is melting off
It was a trick question—he’s done all of those things! So why is Lieberman opposing the public option? He claims that he’s worried about the cost, but that doesn’t make any sense; adding the public option would actually reduce the cost of the bill.
My theory: Joe Lieberman loves attention. Seriously. I think he’s jealous of all the face time moderate Republican Olympia Snowe was getting when the Democrats were trying to get her support. I think he wants to be wooed. Will it work? Only time will tell. And besides, the guy probably won’t even be a Senator for much longer. His term expires in 2012 and his re-election prospects are not looking good.