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The Democrats Blinked

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Posted on Dec 16, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By Joe Conason

By bowing to Sen. Joseph Lieberman and his obstructive pals in both parties on health care reform, President Barack Obama has confirmed what Republicans always say about Democrats: They simply aren’t strong enough to govern. Or at least the Democrats elected last year—and their colleagues in the Senate leadership—don’t seem to be.

Their moment of truth came when Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and self-styled tough guy from Chicago, urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to strip out the most progressive aspects of the proposed health care reform bill in order to appease Lieberman. Unless the Connecticut senator got his way, he threatened to join a Republican filibuster—conniving with a political minority to kill reforms that a majority of Americans have wanted and needed for decades.

Neither Emanuel nor his boss possesses the courage to call the bluff of the reform opponents and urge a victory for that majority through the legislative process known as reconciliation, which allows the Senate leadership to stuff a sock in the mouth of the filibuster. Instead, they have surrendered to the same forces that want nothing more than to frustrate and ruin them.

Not surprisingly, this spectacle of capitulation evokes disgust among many Democrats, surpassed only by the revulsion they feel as they gaze upon Lieberman’s self-satisfied grin. His inconsistency is designed not to achieve any principled outcome but to create turmoil in the legislative process.

He now says, for instance, that Americans between 55 and 64 years old must not be permitted to purchase coverage under Medicare, as Senate Democrats wanted. But that is precisely what he endorsed when he ran for vice president with Al Gore in 2000, when he ran for president himself in 2004 and as recently as three months ago, when he gave an interview on health care reform to a newspaper in his home state.


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Back when he was running for re-election in 2006, he sought desperately to persuade Connecticut voters that he shared their progressive views despite his support for the Iraq war. “I’m saying to the people of Connecticut, I can do more for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance,” he proclaimed during a debate with challenger Ned Lamont. “That’s what the Democratic Party is all about.”

By now we know that he doesn’t really care what the Democratic Party is all about—especially when the issue is achieving reforms of health care that have been a central objective of Democrats throughout his lifetime. He is said to care much more about avenging his defeat by Democratic voters in the primary three years ago.

But there is no need to speculate on his lowdown motives. Everyone knows he is a servant of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that have always paid his campaign bills and sometimes maintained his spouse, Hadassah, on their payrolls, either directly or indirectly. He is aggressively eager to block legislation inimical to their interests.

While observing the worst expressions of Lieberman’s character, the public has learned about the president’s defects, as well. Three years ago, Obama supported the Connecticut senator when few liberals would and then defended his senatorial privileges this year, even after he had endorsed and campaigned for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. Now Lieberman has repaid those favors with spite—and that smart, tenacious, cool leader in the White House did nothing but flinch.

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.

© 2009

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By ardee, December 31, 2009 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

christian96, December 31 at 6:39 am #

You basically are agreeing with me using diffferent language. So be it. However, your religious references are off track and I think you should stick to politics.

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By christian96, December 31, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Ardee—-My arguement is not flawed.  We have been
electing different people even though they are of
the same mold.  Try electing someone from another
mold such as Ralph Nader.  You are wasting your vote.
Our two party system has to strong of a foothold.
The Bible discusses a two-headed beast arising in
the last days.  Sometimes I think that two headed
beast is composed of Democrats and Republicians.

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By ardee, December 22, 2009 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

christian96, December 22 at 3:18 am

Your premise is flawed. We have NOT been electing different people, only different versions of the same people.

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By KDelphi, December 22, 2009 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

the worm—why in hell would we want to get Dems re-elected? maybe if GOP controlled everything, peopple would insist on something better…I know it was that way under Dubya, but, people hadnt lost half their savings yet…Obama will be re-elected if the GOP puts up someone ridiculous, and they may—goodie.

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By christian96, December 21, 2009 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

You people are CRAZY.  The definition of “crazy”
floating these days is someone who keeps doing the
same thing and expecting different results.  Now,
I’m lisening to some of you saying “WE GOT TO ELECT
DIFFERENT PEOPLE!”  Give me a break.  We’ve been
electing different people for years.  Has anything
changed? No!  That means you are CRAZY.

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maxpayne's avatar

By maxpayne, December 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Technically, Joe Lieberman is doing the right thing by trying to kill this monster of a bill. I don’t support that mf-er in general but for once he’s not a wimp unlike Sanders who was a huge disappointment.

Sallyport, “yours truly”, and tmginnova: We have a right to discuss the problem on this forum. If you think your super whatever, then try your luck but don’t tell us to do “make them do it”. They are supposed to lead, not MISLEAD. Failure to follow that must result in dismissing them at the voting booth. You are not fit to be a leader if someone has to “make you do it”.

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By the worm, December 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Here’s the latest:
With Nelson on board, health-care bill could pass by Christmas
By Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 19, 2009; 1:30 PM
“Reid’s package also would give patients the right of appeal to an independent
state board if an insurer denies a medical claim. And all insurance companies
would be required to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar they collect in
premiums on delivering care to their customers.” An individual’s ‘right to
appeal’ is reminiscent of the line spoken by a tobacco industry litigator in
‘Thank You for Smoking’. When asked by his son “What makes America great,
Dad?”, the corporate attorney replied “Endless appeals.” Thank you, Senator
Reid, but we’ve seen this play. But the next line in the Post summary of the
‘compromise’ reveals even more: “And all insurance companies would be
required to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar they collect in premiums on
delivering care to their customers.” The 80/20 ‘Compromise’ is by far the most
blatant admission that Reid et al have crafted yet another corporate bailout at
the citizens’ expense. Unlike Bush, Obama will not be re-elected. What are we,
Democratic voters, going to do to get Democrats next time? Let’s start now, as
the Republicans are well on their way reviving from their pre-maturely
announced death, just one year ago. How fast in this world of ‘instant
communications’ can political ineptitude be exposed! We cannot afford to let
the nation be governed against the interests of the people. We must start by
killing the 80 / 20 ‘Compromise’.

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By bill haywood, December 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IMPEACH OBAMA NOW!!! He is nothing but a corporate puppet.

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By john crandell, December 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

It’s Saturday morning and some jackass from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee just called seeking a donation, as like LAST year.

Yeah, I gave him an earfull. NOT ONE MORE CENT! And boy am I ever on easy street.

Obama: you’re not even a ‘Heartbreak Kid.’ Your savage dispassionate disposition, now, at a time which requires exactly an opposite type of leader, will lead to ruin. If Bill starts acting up, you’ll best know there’s trouble ahead.

I mean, just imagine it everyone: Bill and Hillary take a hike, Gore takes a hike, Dean is already off the reservation, add in Jerry Brown, Jim Hightower, Crawdad Carville and a couple of Kennedys and your ass will get booted back to Chicago quick. Only question is whether, or how much, Joe Biden desires to become this era’s Hubert Humphrey,

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By the worm, December 19, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

80 / 20 ‘Compromise’: 20 cents of every dollar - that’s 20 cents of every ?100
cents - by law (at least by the Senate ‘compromise’) can be retained by ?private
sector insurers to pay their bonuses, lard their bottom line, expand their ?
investments, etc. The Senate bill as now written provides that everyone in ?
America pay for private sector health care, in short, wasting 20 cents of each ?
health care dollar, piddling it off to middlers, who deliver no health care
whatsoever, require mind numbing paper work, jerk you around with ‘co-pays’
and ?‘contributions’, etc, but do not ever in any shape or form deliver health
care ?services to you. This is what the Senate has brought us. And here’s an
added ?insult brought by the White House to everyone who is not a private
sector health ?insurance corporate employee: Because both the right and the left
think ?citizens should not be mandated by their government to provide
corporate ?welfare for private sector health insurance companies with both
taxes (paid to ?corporations as ‘subsidies’ to cover the poor who cannot afford
to payoff the ?corporations) and premiums (20 percent of which are not used to
provide health care services), they have persuaded themselves that
independents will ?just love it! That’s a three- bagger: They have insulted
virtually everyone. And who are these political masterminds? Like Bush, they
were good at getting elected and, like Bush, very good at ignoring the
American people.

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By tmginnova, December 19, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Look, I agree about Lieberman, and wish the Dems were more disciplined. But wishing and huffing and puffing won’t make it so.
Over the loner haul, we should work on campaign finance reform and eliminating the filibuster (as well as replacing Joe L).
But if you really follow the votes, and want progressive change that helps people (rather than rhetoric), there are no good alternatives to the Senate bill.
Reconciliation has both procedural and substantive problems that makes it a dead end (unless you want to postpone jobs and climate change and everything else).
Let’s get real and move on to make this happen (unless your main interest is name calling and whining).

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By carl moore, December 19, 2009 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

“Our fealty is to treachery and war.” - - the u.s.a. ruling class.

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By the worm, December 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

So, White House and its pseudo-Democratic allies make this argument: “We
cant get any Republican votes unless we draft a Republican health reform bill;
so, we’re going to write a Republican health reform bill” (which they have
succeeded in doing). But, no Republicans will vote for it anyway. So, Obama
and his pseudo-Democratic allies make this argument: “You Liberals out there,
if you dont pass this Republican health reform bill, then health care will never
be reformed!” Well, yes it will, when Obama and the knuckle heads who
‘negotiated’ this bill are gone, the Republicans will move right in and give us
this bill. So, why, should we support Democrats who think we’re stupid enough
to want a Republican health reform bill ? There is no reason on God’s earth for
any Democrat in his or her right mind to support this trash. We can have this
anytime , under any Republican administration. We voted Democratic for a
reason: We wanted Representatives, Senators and a President who would lead
the nation in the best interests of the public. We didnt get that. That is no
reason to support the legislation they’ve ‘negotiated’; they have not acted in the
public interest.

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By BelizeanMike, December 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Enough of “the audacity of hope”! I am just hoping for some audacity from Barak Obama!

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By mandinka, December 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Looking at the picture how did Joe get into the WH? was this another break down in security?? I know barak was never vetted nor has Joe, the 2 of them look like they are stealing the silverware

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By bogglesthemind, December 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Sallyport/yours truly:

You hit the nail on the head!  Thank you.

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By Sallyport, December 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“yours truly” has it right.  It is up to us.  Stop standing around lamenting the
shortcomings of the party & Obama;; they were fully visible years ago.  It’s way
past time to take hold and build a truly progressive movement.  The peace
movement has got to be the leader.  Global warming can’t be fought without
ending the massively carbon-expensive military romping around.  Get the War out
of Global Warming and go on from there.  If the congress imposes the health
insurance mandate it will take a lot of tax resistance to scuttle that.  Communities
will have to set up their own local health care facilities.  Community gardens &
CSA’s will apply pressure to agribusiness. We must take on the needs of the
people as far as humanly possible.  Local barter economies and whatever our
individual talents can dream up.  We can’t go on being victims forever.  Either we
overcome the ruling class or it kills us.

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By mandinka, December 18, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Lets see the vast majority of the american public has said NO to obamacare. And yet the author acts as if there is a ground swell of people for it. The Dem’s demonized the insurance companies because focus groups said it would plat well.
Yet the real villains in the ongoing health care increases are the trial lawyers.
Even Harvard baraks called college of record said that 25% of all medical tests and 15% of all hospital admissions are done for defensive medical reasons not because they are needed. Defensive medicine adds $350 Billion to healthcare costs every year, coupled with malpractice premiums staring at $100K per year for even a GP and you quickly see who is at fault. Butttt trial lawyers are the single largest group contributing to the democratic party.
We have 5% of the worlds population and 485 of its attorneys fix this and most of this countries problems go away

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By Inherit The Wind, December 18, 2009 at 9:12 am Link to this comment


Your interpretation that Byrd was getting the FBI to WV as his swan song when it’s one of many relocations of Washington agencies that he instigated.

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By coco, December 18, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Democrats don’t have the backbone to lead and republicans are just to dumb, lazy, and dishonest. Its no wonder China is going to slaughter use into oblivion something in the next 50 years.

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By anaman51, December 18, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Whatever happened to doing the right thing? Whatever happened to promoting legislation for the good of the nation? Now each piece of legislation that comes from the Democratic camp is only seen by the Republicans as another opportunity for them to showcase their ability to strongarm the opponent into submission. The simple truth is that the Dems refuse to stoop to the level of lying, pandering and bill-blocking that has been polished to an art form by the two-legged carp on the other side of the aisle. When was the last time the Republican Party introduced a piece of legislation aimed purely at improving the lot of the common American, without leaning toward making one of their supporters richer?

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By christian96, December 18, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind——You made the comment “Your
interpretation is wrong.” What do you mean?  How
was I wrong?  You seem to imply that moving some
offices from Washington to eastern West Virginia
has greatly improved the life of all West Virginians.
West Virginia still ranks near the bottom of a list
of states for literacy, employment, etc. I just
watched a program this morning on LINK TV about
the negative effects of mountaintop mining in West
Virginia. Back in the 70’s oil companies owned many
coal mining companies.  I don’t know about today.
I haven’t kept up with it.  I live in Florida now.
I’ve been away from West Virginia for years.  I go
back periodically to visit relatives and friends.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 18, 2009 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

christian96, December 18 at 3:35 am #

Has anyone heard of Obama appointing a committee to
study health care plans of other nations?  That would
have been the intelligent move to make.  Speaking of
democrats, Sen. Robert Byrd(D-WVa) has recently secured 328 million dollars to build an FBI complex
in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He is old and ready
to die.  He is feeling guilty of screwing the people
of West Virginia for years.  In the 1970’s I went
to his office in Washington to speak to him about
widows being left out of a coal contract.  His
response to me was, “Well, you can’t please everybody.”  He then rose from his chair and escorted
me from his office.  It was obvious who he was interested in pleasing.  The oil and coal companies.


You have some great stories, C!  However, your interpretation is flat-out wrong.

Back in the 1986, the Dems re-took the Senate after 6 years of GOP dominance on Reagan’s coattails.  They held it until the debacle of 1994.  In that time Byrd headed one of the committees on appropriations—I forgot which one.  At the time, WV was in a terrible state, so Byrd began the process of moving Federal agencies and offices to the Eastern spur of West Virginia, where it’s closest to DC.  Essentially, he exported WV’s recession to Northern Virginia and Maryland by moving agencies from those states to his. 

It wasn’t practical, it didn’t make sense, and it puts agencies too far from the seat of government in Washington, but he couldn’t be stopped as a powerful committee head, and the people of WV LOVED him for bringing in jobs and they kept re-electing the prick.  What you are seeing with this new FBI complex is the LAST of those moves.

I don’t know about oil in WV, but I sure can’t see Byrd bucking the coal mining companies—the OTHER lifeblood of that state.

Are you surprised he gave you the bum’s rush?

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By truedigger3, December 18, 2009 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

By pundaint, December 18 at 4:26 am #

Democrat Surrender Monkeys!

The Democrats pretend to surrender, but they are collabrators and part and parcel with the enemy from day one!.

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By Observer, December 18, 2009 at 1:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Lieberman succeeds in sinking Obama’s chief domestic priority – health care reform – or waters it down so much that it alienates Obama from his liberal base, Obama may find himself essentially the captive of the neocons, needing their blessing to maintain any political viability in Washington.
Sleazy Joe is a predictable Israeli Agent.
Lieberman has been careful not to connect his disruptive behavior on health-care reform to his support for Israel, but there can be little doubt that a chastened Obama, either defeated on health care or forced to sign a bill that liberals will view as a betrayal, will have much less political capital to expend in applying pressure on Israel.

A hobbled Obama won’t be able to push Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt expansion of West Bank settlements or to take other steps that might lead to a Palestinian state. Obama also could be pushed around himself if Israel – itself an undeclared nuclear power – decides to launch airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Israel explanation for Lieberman’s behavior on health-care reform is the one that seems to make the most sense.

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By pundaint, December 18, 2009 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

Democrat Surrender Monkeys!

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By christian96, December 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

Has anyone heard of Obama appointing a committee to
study health care plans of other nations?  That would
have been the intelligent move to make.  Speaking of
democrats, Sen. Robert Byrd(D-WVa) has recently secured 328 million dollars to build an FBI complex
in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He is old and ready
to die.  He is feeling guilty of screwing the people
of West Virginia for years.  In the 1970’s I went
to his office in Washington to speak to him about
widows being left out of a coal contract.  His
response to me was, “Well, you can’t please everybody.”  He then rose from his chair and escorted
me from his office.  It was obvious who he was interested in pleasing.  The oil and coal companies.

Report this
bogglesthemind's avatar

By bogglesthemind, December 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

The Democrats did not blink.  But they enabled all of us to be blindsided by
Obama and his corporate cronies.

The insurance cartel’s plan, like the financial cartel’s, has worked.  There’s still a
small chance that the ObamaCare plan will fail.  Let us fervently hope

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of
Congress. But I repeat myself.” ~Mark Twain

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By Timmay, December 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its great to see a lot of posts that don’t buy into this wounded aquiescing stuff on the part of democrats. They are going to make concessions, not because of the pressure from across the aisle, but because they share the same obligations to insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

People say we should just pass the bill as “a good start.” Well, I still can’t stomach that the insurers and pharm guys never truly showed any outrage because they knew all along the end product would be enticing. Hey, what nice guys for offering to inject $600 billion into Medicare Part D.

Of course, that is not lost money, because the people who receive it will ultimately spend more as it nudges them towards name brand drugs, away from the generics which have seen a giant increase in sales this decade.

The move towards broader coverage and the reining in of medical cost is a long way off. Lets say the public option drastically cut cost like in other counties’ health care models. Those countries heavily subsidize their medical schooling. Here, we have run away tuition hikes that won’t end anytime soon. Oh, and they spend a tiny fraction of the malpractice insurance our physicians face, because the don’t have a pathetic lawsuit culture.

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By wildflower, December 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

RE Dwinn: “Lieberman is playing a bigger game. . . he also wanted to destroy what was left of Obummer’s political capital in order to render him impotent to act against Israel’s interests.” 

I think you’re right about this, which ultimately means he is undermining his own country.  What else can be said - the guy is a real louse.  He rambles on and on about debt and how much it would cost to provide healthcare to U.S., but where is his concern and where is the dickering about debt and cost when it comes to the $114 billion dollars that U.S. doles out to Israel every year – a country that has universal healthcare.

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By lichen, December 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

The democrats did not “blink,” they are right wing scum who wanted corporate, privatized, for-profit, exclusionary healthcare all along, and leibermen helped them.

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By the worm, December 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

“Democrats Herald Passage of Republican Health Care Plan ! “Thought it was a
headline from The Onion, but it was what the Democrats have done to the
American people. They are disgraced.

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By the worm, December 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

No one can imagine the Bush White House saying ” We dont give a hoot in Hades
what the conservatives think about it; we’re going to do this anyway!” But that is
exactly what the Obama White House has said “We’re going to do this and dont
give a hoot in Hades what the liberals think!” Well, Bush was smart enough to play
to his ‘base’ and it got him re-elected. Obama is politically inept and his first term
will be his last with nothing to show for it, but more war, a massive bailout, failed
health reform and a ‘Jobs Summit’.

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By the worm, December 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

Soon, the headlines will read: “Democrats Herald Passage of Republican Health
Care Reform Bill!’ Really, what is the point of continuing this so-called ‘Reform’.
Take your licks. Do something rational for 51% of the vote and dont stick the
American people with either having to pay for private sector health insurance or
subsidizing private sector health insurance for those too poor to pay. Both ways,
you’ve disgraced yourselves, harmed the taxpayers and failed to improve health
care. STOP !

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By joell, December 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

all of you Obama   whiners are a sorry lot. it was obvious to anyone with a lick of sense that O was a front man for corporate america.

no one rises that fast without some very powerful interests in the background   orchestrating it; and the last thing they wanted was “change.”

what was so amazing is that millions actually believed that Obama’s election was the result of a genuine grass roots movement.

do you really believe the corporate media would cover ANYONE as a serious presidential contender,  unless he had been thoroughly vetted in terms of preserving the status quo.

i caught a lot of flack for voting Ralph Nader; and damn near everything he predicted about Obama was correct, and it happened even more quickly than i thought was possible.

Nader was correct in describing you as “frightened liberals.” its not the democrats who don’t have any balls. if   you want to find the real culprit for this mess we’re in now, take a long look in the mirror.

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By yours truly, December 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here we are fighting the good fight - troops out now, single payer, break-up & tightly regulate banking & finance (to name but a few) - by ourselves with not only no help from our elected so-called represntatives but with their opposing us.  Opposing us, that is, despite their having seduced us into voting for them with promises of Change We Can Believe In and Yes We Can.  Except the politico’s (especially candidate Barack Obama’s) We turns out to be the first person plural personal usage of this pronoun instead of the people in general usage, but who knew at the time?  Which informs us only that President Obama isn’t our leader, but not that we’re leaderless, being that the task before us - to change the world - demands that everyone be a leader.  And the reason changing the world is now our task is that those who were supposed to act in our behalf have abdicated their responsibility in exchange for a few pieces of gold.  What’s more, it’s futile for us to waste our time & energy trying to fix the system,  what with time running out on account of perpetual war + global warming + economic meltdown = doomsday.  Which means, ready or not, that it’s up to us.

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By Taobhan, December 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The anger is palpable from progressives who feel betrayed by the rather flaccid leadership shown so far by the Obama administration and the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.  The signs were fairly obvious from the outset that this was going to be the outcome.  Now that the veil of illusion is almost fully removed, what can one do?

I understand the anger, especially among those liberals who worked hard for a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic administration.  They expected more but they didn’t understand how deeply in thrall the Democratic party had become to corporate interests.  This betrayal was inevitable but what do now?

Implicit in the behavior of our Democratic leaders in Washington is the attitude of “you’ve got no place to go, fools. Are you going to vote for Republicans?”  In the face of this kind of intransigence, I see only two options: re-take the Democratic party from corporate America (which will take years of effort) or try the 3rd-party route, which has not been viable in the U.S. for many years.

The task is much, much harder than progressives ever imagined and the “change” they thought they were getting is as far away now as it was during the Bush years.  So, it’s time to channel the anger and use it effectively.  We can start by punishing those elected officials who are guilty and who are vulnerable when they re-run.  They don’t get our votes, our support nor our donations.  But it’s going to take a concerted effort over a long period of time to re-build the Democratic party into one that serves the people rather than corporate interests.

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By Dwinn, December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lieberman is playing a bigger game.

Sure, he wants to help his insurance buddies, that’s right.

But he also wanted to destroy what was left of Obummer’s political capital in order to render him impotent to act against Israel’s interests.  Not that the Preznit was ever going to do anything contrary to Likud’s wishes.

But now with this final blow, Obummer will just bide his time until he hands the white house keys to Sara Palin and her VP Hillary Clinton.

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By christian96, December 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Which side are you on?  That question was asked in
a song about the union versus the coal company when
I was growing up in a coal mining town in West
Virginia.  The ultimate question involves God versus
the devil.  The Bible says God loves and blesses
those who help the poor.  President Obama, WHICH
SIDE ARE YOU ON?” If you choose God then you’ve got
to do the work of God.  You got to take a stand
against the “fat cats.”  They’ve made their choice.
They have chosen to be on the devil’s side.  The
odds of them going to heaven is about the same as
me going to Mars this afternoon!  Talk to congress
President Obama.  Look them straight in the eye

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By KDelphi, December 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

Lieberman is the foil, fools! Pay no attention to the most powerful man in the world, with majorities in both Houses…

and they had best lay off of Dean—he’s alot more popular than Obama right now.

Over here—blame Lieberman! Over here—Blame Dean!! If all else fails, blame GOP! (“now GOP has majority, Obama just cant do anything”—as oppposed to WHAT he is doing now??)

A classic sign of immaturity—never taking responsibility for your own failures…the Dems have screwed themselves so hard, they HAVE to be sore…maybe they can re-import pain pills from, thats right, they cant.

No worries—we’ll pay for their Rx’s, as we cannot afford our own..gawd..even worse than I could ever dream

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By nikto, December 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is a 3-dollar bill with legs.

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By Dan, December 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Obama is not bowing down to Lieberman. This is the bill he has wanted from
the start.  And unfortunately, at least for the American people, it is nothing
more than a gigantic gift to the private insurance companies. Which proves
that Obama is nothing more than yet another corporate spokesmen. While less
extreme than Bush and Cheney, Obama is essentially following the same
disastrous trajectory. You see it in his decision escalte the war in
Afghanistan,his refusal to put any regulations on Wall Street or restore habeas
corpus, his reinstatement of the Patriot Act and the continuation of warrantless
wiretapping, his instistence that war criminals in Israel and in the United States
go unpunished, and his increased reliance on miltary contractors (aka
mercenaries) to fight the unpopular and arguably illegal wars in the Middle
East. This is not, as Robert Fisk rightly points out, a man of peace. And anyone
who still believes that he is is as foolish as those Norwegian who gave him a
peace prize.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, December 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Is this a question of cowardice or corruption?  I say it’s more the latter.  Lieberman is the Democrats designated public face for the massive, sneering corruption that has complete control of the party . . . or perhaps I should say “gang”.  Holy Joe is the narcissistic sociopath who will gladly tell anyone willing to listen to his loquacious vomit of words to go shove it.  He relishes the role.  As for Obama . . . rot to hell!  Even that’s too good for you.

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By DaveZx3, December 17, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

As has been said multiple times, “it is not about Lieberman” 

Lieberman is like the last second field goal by the other team that loses the football game for your team.  It is not that the field goal beat you, as much as it is that you failed to win the game, which includes not allowing the other team to get in field goal range with seconds left. 

This health care reform should have been a no-brainer for the Dems.  Who would really resist a well-thought out fair health care reform bill that cut deeply into the pockets of big insurance, big pharma and big lawyers, except for big insurance, big pharma and big lawyers, including their various lackeys. 

But the Dems so far have not been able to deliver, instead, apparently, crafting a bill which rewards big insurance, big pharma and big lawyers. 

Get a law degree if you need a job.  Just think of all the work that will be generated by the millions of people who will be fined for not buying insurance from a for-profit insurance company.  Can that possibly be constitutional?  Sounds like lawyer work to me.  And they still have all those tort billions to fall back on.

I have stated on many previous posts that insurance is a stupid way to pay routine medical bills.  It is a reasonable remedy for the catastrophic injury or disease, but fails miserably for the routine.

Health care reform needs to include a better solution for routine medical bills rather than an insurance mechanism.  I could suggest about ten different methods if the powers that be are that incapable. 

Next, they will be recommending oil change insurance for your car.  That ought to certainly reduce the cost of an oil change.  While I am on that subject, just think about what an oil change might cost if all you had to do was flash your insurance card.  I would bet at least twice what you can get it for by shopping around.  Would anybody challenge that?

The house and senate dems suffer from a severe lack of leadership, direction, courage and conviction.  The WH has similar problems.  Are the repubs any better?  NO.  Is the general population any better?  NO. 

I am of the opinion that any people get exactly the leadership they deserve.  Does that sound cruel?  Maybe, but about 240 years ago a bunch of men were willing to die to be free from tyranny. 

“Give me liberty or give me death” are scary words today.  As is the motto of my birth state, NH.  “Live Free Or Die”  I have always loved the coiled serpent and the words “Don’t tread on me”.  I wonder what he does when you tread on him? 

I think the boomer generation never came to grips with the significance of those words.  It must be hard to be an atheist and consider having to die for freedom.  They think democracy equals freedom.  They think that if you vote, somehow, freedom follows.  This is the lie they are fed.  They vote, then sit around complaining about who they elected for four years.

If religion is the opiate of the masses, voting is the opiate of the democrat. 

Freedom comes from fighting for it, day in and day out.  But I am afraid the boomers in general do not have the will to fight.

I say tyranny must be squashed immediately, whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head, and this is hardly ever accomplished without the shedding of blood.

Not that I am being inciteful, because I believe that we are not that far gone, and not truly under tyranny, per se.  It is more greed at all levels that we suffer from.  Our personal greed enables the greed of our institutions and leaders. 

I think it could be as simple as voting everyone out of office in the next election, and electing non-political types in their place. Also, fire 20% of the non-elected bureaucrats every two years.

Character is much more important than technical expertise when it comes to politics.  You can hire technical expertise as long as you have the character to manage them.

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By mrfreeze, December 17, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

As I read down this thread (my oh my, there are some ANGRY people commenting) I was wondering what would have happened had McCain won the election?

On thing is certain: our political system is broken and is incapable of addressing and/or solving “big picture” issues.

As for the Democrats: Whoopi Goldberg once said on Bill Maher’s program about Democrats: “There isn’t a single ball between them!” She couldn’t have been more correct.

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By Howard Mandel, December 17, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Quoting Lewis Black: The Democrats are the party of no ideas, and the Republicans are the party of bad ideas.

Fact is they are both hopelessly corrupt. Congress is a job for rich people, who want to be filthy rich; or for filthy rich people who want to become obscenely rich. Look at the returns of the average congressional stock portfolio (900% to 1200% while in office). Besides the scandalous fund raising and lobbying sytems which everybody talks about, is the fact that these people peronally profit off their votes every day. There not technically criminals, because they write the laws that govern there own behavior. They are much worse.

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By RdV, December 17, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

The alternative possibility-(unthinkableto these clueless centrist insiders so far behind the curve they are taken aback when their careful constructs collapse with the latest tumbling polls)IS that this has been Obama’s plan all along.
  The evidence is accumulating on every issue. He is not who he said he was or who we thought he was from war to the environment. What thinking person still believes he is an honorable but weak man when it comes to healthcare(or as Obama reframes it as: health Insurance reform).He is complicit and the sooner everyone reaches that realization—as unpleasant as it may be, the better for us all.

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By truedigger3, December 17, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Re:By Geez Jan, December 17 at 10:34 am #

I agree with you 100%. You gave a perfect discription of Obama and the Democratic party and the naives who voted for them.

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By myxzptlk, December 17, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Let’s see what Obama’s reaction is to Lieberman’s treachery.  If he fails to call
Lieberman out, and fails to pressure Reid to rescind Lieberman’s committee
chairmanship, then we have all the evidence we need that Lieberman is doing
Obama’s bidding by blocking any measure that doesn’t abet the interests of large

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By sharonsj, December 17, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Funny thing is, I was contemplating moving to Cuba, if I could get my Social Security sent there.  It’s warm, the people are friendly, and they have cheap health care.  And I know enough Spanish to get by.  On the other hand, I still prefer being an American, even if I’m daily shamed and enraged by the politicians, the banksters, the multi-national corporations and the military-industrial complex.  I’m just trying to figure out whom to vote for in the next elections other than “none of the above.”

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By thecrow, December 17, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

The Machine has a better, more charismatic, more photogenic salesman. That is all, and that was obvious in 2008. Your “progressive” President just gave a Nobel acceptance speech defending the “Bush Doctrine”. The “Left” is co-opted and complicit. The corporate puppet show continues.

September 11 is the missing scale in the armor, the Achilles heel. Draw the bow if you really want “change”. Otherwise just lay back and enjoy the show.

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By Amon Drool, December 17, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

geez….the dems must figure the repubs are really hopeless cases when it comes to the 2010 mid-terms.  forcing people to buy health insurance from private corporations will not have any electoral consequences?  not fighting for a medicare buy-in, that is favored overwhelmingly by the public, will go un-noticed?

hedges’ column on monday quoted mike gravel as saying that obama was “arrogant and cynical”.  scroll up to the picture accompanying this story…ya think?

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By starfish, December 17, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Obama is The Gutless Wonder.

He has not shown any leadership on the healthcare issue and can hardly take his eyes off himself long enough to do the basics as president.

The ONLY things Obama cares about are (1) himself, (2) his re-election, and (3)his place in history.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, December 17, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Nice suggestion AmEx and I concur with the thought although the cops here are as crooked as you can find anywhere on this rock.  And I will buy my ticket when the heros of Wall Street of swinging from lamp posts outside the NYSE and the politicians are running for their lives from the angry mob.  It’s time folks to accept the fact that our country is broken and in the hands of the criminal class.  It’s time to take back our homeland!

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By glider, December 17, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

“they have surrendered to the same forces that want instead, nothing more than to frustrate and ruin them”

Oh please please please stop this apologist bullshit narrative of the poor Obama administration really wanting true reform but being frustrated by those bad guy conservatives.  Wrong wrong wrong!!!  Get it through your extremely thick f***ing skull that this result is what the Obama administration wants!  It is entirely consistent with all their appointments, actions, and bribes.  Forget about listening to all their rhetoric and clear your minds.  They are serving the same corporate masters just from a slightly different angle.  Why is this so hard for some to comprehend?  Please get a clue!!!!!!

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By bozh, December 17, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tactics change but basics remain.The basics are that rich people rule everywhere, save in some socialist lands.
That’s the fact numero uno. In US the rule of the rich, richer, and super rich people appear near apsolute.
Conclusion numero uno: nothing happens that the near-apsolute rulers don’t want to happen.
Conclusion numero duve: wars are on. Numero tre: more wars to come; followed by no healthcare for decades or centuries; no two or three party system ever if near-apsolutists get they way!

Actually, the near-apsolutists are now just a millimeter away from being apsolute rulers! tnx

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By amex, December 17, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

And to think, I was actually pondering moving back to Amerika after the insurance leaches were neutralized.  But why?  If one of us falls off the steps and breaks something here, they just fix it and move on.  Oh, and the police are here to help, not to taser you.  Oh, and my kids are fluent in two languages!  Oh, the locals mind their own religious business!

Fuck you - Obama, and fuck the rest of you fascist maggots running Amerika into the 3rd world.  I’m done voting!  I’ll be back when the revolt starts.

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By rickru, December 17, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ender. I’m afraid you’re correct. I fear that things are going to get much, much worse. The creeps that hold the cards, through blind avarice and greed, always push humanity to the very edge. What they seem to forget is that when they succeed in marginalizing us into poverty and near slavery, what follows is brutal and ugly revolt. Look at the French Revolution and the Bolsheviks for how ugly and nasty it can get. We have many heavily armed disaffected people in this country who would be happy to act all of this out and the elite are arrogant enough to think that they can insulate themselves from it. There were a lot of heads that unfairly rolled in France, but the blind with rage masses weren’t really bothering to discriminate between those truly responsible for their misery and the real actors.

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By ender, December 17, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Yup richru:

We are not going to scare the ogliarchy that run us with any vote.  They can invalidate that instantly.  Think of the brilliance of their plan.  All of the media is in a few hands.  They can falsify enough news to cover up a voter rebellion or an armed revolution.  They can stop all electronic communications except short wave radio and they’ve almost made those illegal so u rarely see anyone with one.
The only question left is how far down is it profitable for the ogliarchy to push America’s middle class?  I’m pretty sure we will find out within a few short years.

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By rickru, December 17, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Geez Jan. Dead on. I have had to deal with much self recrimination for being such a fool as to believe that Obama is anything but a corporate lacky. I wanted to believe that finally there was someone willing to lead, but I allowed myself to be fooled. Now I’m dealing with friends who say that by voting Green or Socialist I’m throwing my vote away, but I remind them by voting tweedle dee or tweedle dum I’m already throwing my vote away. I will not vote for any corporate candidate again. I’m done with them. The system has to collapse for there to be any hope for my kids and grandkids.

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By noxo, December 17, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who exactly is Senator Lieberman?  He is obviously in the good graces of the real power in the U.S. (and I don’t mean the puppet Obama).  And who are they, the real power holders?

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By thecrow, December 17, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Lieberman is the godfather of DHS and is still Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Secret Service is a component of DHS.

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By Anarcissie, December 17, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

’...I will vote Green or Socialist….’

There is a Congressional election next November.  In order to have a Green or a Socialist to vote for, however, you’re going to have to do a lot more than threaten to vote one way or another on a blog.  Until it looks like it’s going to cost them votes, money and volunteer help, the Mr. O and the Democrats will keep moving to the right.  They don’t mind if y’all progs whine and cry as long as you follow them.

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By truedigger3, December 17, 2009 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Joe Conason wrote:
“The Democrats Blinked”

The Democrats had their eyes closed from the very begining and they didn’t just blinked lately.
The law was already written several months ago. Remember the conference between Obama and the health care industrial complex comapanies at the beginning of summer.
The insurance and pharmaceutical companies got all that they asked for. There will be no public option and no limit on pricing or rate increases and the insurance companies will get another 30 million customers by force of the law.
It is all a taxpayers’ money giveaway to the health care industrial complex. What a charade.!

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By Ed Harges, December 17, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

And when the Democrats lose power, the usual suspects will push the lie that it
was because the Democrats went too far to the “left”, and that they need to move
even farther to the right in order to regain power.

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By ender, December 17, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

I haven’t read the bill, but I have to trust Howard Dean on this, that without a public health option, medicare expansion or heavy new insurance industry regulation, there is no health care reform and progressive Senators should kill this bill.  Then the Democratic Party should kill Joe Lieberman, or at least strip him from every committee and the caucus.
If the Dems pass an unfunded Federal Mandate that does nothing to curb cost or cover Americans that can’t afford coverage, the Republicans are going to hammer them out of office with this until they get a majority back.

The Dems aren’t just spineless, they are self destructive.

If they pass this bill in this form I will vote Green or Socialist but never for a Dem again.

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By Geez Jan, December 17, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

People who think that Obama and the Democrats are in this position because they’re weak and they “blinked” are unable to grasp just how much Obama and the Democrats played them for chumps. Obama never had any intention of doing anything to health care in America that didn’t benefit the health insurance industry. Obama couldn’t care less about is supporters, never mind the American people in general. And forget the poor and needy.

Obama works for Wall Street and corporate America. He said what he had to say to get elected, and many people were suckered. Now those people refuse to accept that they were conned, so they concoct elaborate theories about how Obama was out-maneuvered or lacked spine or had no choice or some such nonsense. In fact Obama is doing exactly what he wants to do.

It’s not that I don’t sympathize. I know that it’s not easy to accept you’re a chump. But for those who voted for Obama, particularly progressives, that’s what you are. And the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can get pissed off and perhaps not let it happen to you again in 2012. And that would be a good thing. The Democrats are a corporate party, period, and election after election they move farther to the right.

You want to talk about cowards? Progressives who voted for Obama instead of Nader are cowards.

Here’s a counterpoint to this article:

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, December 17, 2009 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Haven’t you guys figured this out yet?  Lieberman is the perfect wrecking ball for the Democratic party.  They can now exclaim, with complete sincerity, that they tried to fix the busted system but bad old Joe wouldn’t let them do it.  Obama never wanted health care reform ... he wanted the promise undelivered.  And Joe gave it to him.  I would not be surprised that all this Joe support by Obama was part of a grand deal they struck back in 2004 at the last Democratic convention.  It gives Obama cover to make all these sweeping promises and yet protect his corporate sponsors and still come out smelling like a rose.  Brilliant strategy!

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By Tim Kelly, December 17, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It would be beneficial if more people understood this is not a matter of “weakness.”  The purpose of the Democrats is to stop anyone from defeating the Conservative Agenda.  The Republicans carry the Agenda forward, the Democrats prevent anyone from stopping it.

But in the 2010 elections, the “liberals” will be beating about with clubs, threatening anyone who doesn’t vote for Democrats, by pointing out how the loss of a single Democrat in the Senate may prevent “filibuster-proof” legislation from moving forward.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 17, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

No spine, no balls, incompetent capitulators.  That has marked the return to leadership in the House and Senate by Democrats since their startling victory in 2006, that was immediately squandered by the leadership (if you can call it that) of Reid and Pelosi.

I don’t know why Reid and the other 58 Dems and Independent didn’t just say to Lieberman: Support the filibuster at your own risk. You’ll lose ALL your committee positions and have to BEG the GOP for seats on those committees.

No balls, no spine, no brains, no guts.

As a Democrat, I am thoroughly disgusted.  It’s not rocket science.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 17, 2009 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

To the contrary, this idiot noticed that every cave-in in this legislation, was prompted by chief-of staff Emanuel urging the congress to give Joe “what he wants”. It might be useful to connect the dots and ask yourself why did Obama want Lieberman around, who has shown time and again what an unethical whore for corporate interests he has been all along.
So sorry folks but it is about Lieberman, who presents a fine example of how the craven democratic party refuses to slap into the legislative dark hole where he most certainly belongs.

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By ardee, December 17, 2009 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

When Lieberman first challenged Lowell Weikert for his Senate seat he noted that Weikert was running for his fourth term. Lieberman noted that three terms were enough and the Senate needed “new blood”.

Lieberman is currently serving his fourth term in the Senate and seems to be proving his own words prophetic indeed.

But, as KDelphi noted, this is not about Joe Lieberman…...

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By Steve E, December 17, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s right Liarman is not the issue. He is just a bit player in this charade
promoted by Obama and Rahm. They themselves are mere puppets to the
Corporate Cabal. Until the American People realize they have been hoodwinked
they are doomed by one slick operator.

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By ChaoticGood, December 17, 2009 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

Democrats need the poor, and sick.
Republicans need the rich and paranoid.
Both Democrats and Republicans need the fearful.
Choose your poison, choose sides and shake your fist at the other faction.  You might feel better.

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By liecatcher, December 17, 2009 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

The Democrats Blinked

The Republicans farted.

The charade of a two party democracy continues.

The Oligarchs & Fascists win & we the people get
screwed again.

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By KDelphi, December 17, 2009 at 12:36 am Link to this comment

This isnt about Lieberman, you idiot!

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By thebeerdoctor, December 17, 2009 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

It would be helpful to realize that then Senator Obama went out of his way to support Senator Lieberman’s reelection over more progressive candidate Ned Lamont (whatever that means). A question: Have you ever heard a disparaging remark uttered by the sitting president, about Senator Lieberman?

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By Occasional Observer, December 16, 2009 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Democrats didn’t blink so much as wink. Much of the Senate bill could be enacted through reconciliation; 41 senators could be dared to vote against the rest. We didn’t need Lieberman to enact re-importation reform, but it was dropped.

The only explanation for the health care reform debacle is that it’s been one big charade. Until this becomes the lead line we’ll go on forever this way. That seems to be the point: kill movement politics and reduce us to trying to buck up a political party that appears weak when in fact it’s just a cynical collaborator in a monumental scam.

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By Shift, December 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

The Thousand Points of Death campaign continues unabated.

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