The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Let's begin with the fact that Senator Joe Lieberman was asked to be a member of the so-called Gang of Ten composed of five left to progressive Democratic Senators and of five centrist to conservative Democratic Senators last week to hammer out a compromise in the healthcare bill but he failed to show up to two of the meetings and was replaced by Senator Tom Carper of Delaware. Despite his no-show, the Democratic leadership believed that they had secured Senator Lieberman's agreement to go along with a compromise the Gang of Ten had reached to overcome the impasse. Apparently not.

The story in the New York Times:

on Sunday, Mr. Lieberman told the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to scrap the idea of expanding Medicare and to abandon the idea of any new government insurance plan, or lose his vote.

On a separate issue, Mr. Reid tried over the weekend to concoct a compromise on abortion that would induce Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, to vote for the bill. Mr. Nelson opposes abortion. Any provision that satisfies him risks alienating supporters of abortion rights.

In interviews on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Nelson said the bill did not have the 60 votes it would need to get through the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders, including Mr. Reid and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, said they had been mindful of Mr. Lieberman's concerns in the last 10 days, so they were surprised when he assailed major provisions of the bill on television Sunday. He reiterated his objections in a private meeting with Mr. Reid.

A Senate Democratic aide, perplexed by Mr. Lieberman's stance, said, "It was a total flip-flop, and leaves us in a predicament as to what to do."

Here's what it would take to get Joe's vote:

Mr. Lieberman described what it would take to get his vote. "You've got to take out the Medicare buy-in," he said. "You've got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act, which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit."

The Class Act refers to a federal insurance program for long-term care, known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports.

Mr. Lieberman said he would have "a hard time" voting for bill with the Medicare buy-in.

"It has some of the same infirmities that the public option did," Mr. Lieberman said. "It will add taxpayer costs. It will add to the deficit. It's unnecessary. The basic bill, which has a lot of good things in it, provides a generous new system of subsidies for people between ages 55 and 65, and choice and competition."

Mr. Lieberman cautioned Senate Democrats to limit their appetite for expansive new programs.

"The bill itself does a lot to bring 30 million people into the system," Mr. Lieberman said. "We don't need to keep adding onto the back of this horse, or we're going to break the horse's back and get nothing done."

I wouldn't be bringing up horse parts there Joe, otherwise we might tempted to compare you to one.

Meanwhile Nebraska's Ben Nelson has different worries:

Mr. Nelson said he wanted to know the cost of the Medicare buy-in. "I am concerned that it's the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option," he said.

It should be noted that Senator Nelson was one of those aforementioned Gang of Ten pressed to find a compromise. It seems Senators Lieberman and Nelson are more interested in derailing the healthcare bill than in actively engaged in seeking a solution.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Senator Nelson said participated in the Gang of Ten simply "to be a friend of the process."

Well, with friends like that who needs enemies?

Tags: Medicare, Public Option, Senator Ben Nelson, Senator Joe Lieberman, US Healthcare Reform, US Insurance Industry (all tags)

Comments

65 Comments

Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

He's a tough negotiator. Progressives are weak at negotiating and meaning it. The president is acting as bystander. The outcome, therefore, is to be expected. The more we move the line for them- the more they see what more they can get. It is what I would do given the players. I am beyond being angry at him for being a jackass because I know that's the role he will play. Really, what e can change is us- not them.

by bruh3 2009-12-13 05:34PM | 0 recs
no real choice but reconciliation

We need to make the bill MUCH stronger and pass it with 51 votes. These people had their chance to go along with a reasonable compromise.

If Nelson and Lieberman are especially upset about the Medicare buy-in, let's expand that to make it available to, say, everyone over 40.

Right now this is little more than a giveaway to private insurance companies. I don't want to be locked into subsidies for people to pay premiums that increase faster than the rate of inflation every year.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-13 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

Ain't gonna happen. It won't be a "bipartisan" bill. Obama will never put aside his post-partisan shtick.

by tarheel74 2009-12-13 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

Yup. I think you're right. Reconciliation looks like the only option left.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-13 05:49PM | 0 recs
News flash PUMA

it already isn't a bipartisan bill.

by ND22 2009-12-13 06:16PM | 0 recs
But can it work?

Don't get me wrong, I'd love nothing more than to go the reconciliation route.

But I've heard mixed things on whether reconciliation can actually produce an effective bill.

I was hoping someone on the inside could give a list of the pros and cons.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-13 06:50PM | 0 recs
well, it's already clear

that we can't get 60 votes in the Senate for anything worth passing.

Right now this bill would be the biggest Christmas present the insurance industry has ever had.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-14 03:53AM | 0 recs
It'e entirely possible

we just can't pass anything.

by ND22 2009-12-14 04:35AM | 0 recs
Why stop at 40?

My dream is to lay down an ultimatum: say vote for cloture or lose your chairmanships, and watch a reconciliation bill with a robust PO proceed.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-13 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Why stop at 40?

My nightmare is that the 2 dems who oppose it now will then become 12 and the that will be that...

by vecky 2009-12-13 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Why stop at 40?

2 or 12, either way we are not going to pass decent legislation.

listen, they've tried have absolutely zero consequences for the turncoats, and it has gotten us nowhere. they've tried it over an over, spanning years, in fact. maybe it is time to start having consequences for screwing the party and the american people.

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Why stop at 40?

That's true... it's the heart of the matter. Dems like Ben Nelson voted for the Bush tax cuts and got zero consequences...

by vecky 2009-12-14 12:14PM | 0 recs
Let Ben and Joe actually vote against the

healthcare reform to defeat. We'll see how they get re-elected.

by louisprandtl 2009-12-13 07:09PM | 0 recs
Joe's not up until 2012

He really doesn't care if the democrats lose control of the senate. His Republican buddies will reward him by letting him keep his chair for his "independence".

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-14 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

It is easy to be a tough negotiator when you are not only indifferent to passing a health care bill, but would actually prefer that one does not pass. Lieberman has said numerous times that he doesn't even think now is the time to make any changes in health care. Negotiating with Joe is like negotiating with a Republican. I think Lieberman actually wants to be kicked out of the Democratic caucus. It is probably the only chance he has for winning re-election as a Republican.

by Lolis 2009-12-13 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

THe conservadems have the weaker hand here because their power to influence o utcomes can be taken away in several ways, they can be threatened on other bills , etc. The only way one can accept your argument that they are the sole parties here capable of being aggressive is to buy, for example, the inexplicable decision by Reid (just to name one example) to take reconciliation off the table. And, what of the pork that goes to various states? You are telling me that they don't have cherished programs that can be threatened in their states? What about chairmanships? What about cutting off the financial money they receive from industry by cutting off their access to the president? The argument as you frame it basically means progerssives need to just lie down now and give up. It is only true however sol ong as we ignore what sticks and carrots they have but are refusing for some unknown reason to use.

by bruh3 2009-12-13 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Like what other bills? Cap and trade?... oops, need Lieberman there too. Much of that stuff has already been tried... there is a reason why 17 of the 20 or so conserva-moderate-dems have bought onto the plan.
Now you need to have something specific that applies to Lieberman.

The only remaining case it to go reconciliation - for which there may not be 50 votes. Personally I prefer they pass the bill with the snowe trigger, try to make the trigger have some bite in conference and attempt to pass the medicare buy-in via reconciliation. Since it's strictly a budget issue it should not fall foul of the Byrd rule.

by vecky 2009-12-13 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Riiight. Okay if you say.

by bruh3 2009-12-13 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

What specific screws can be used on Lieberman to prevent him filibustering? You keep saying they exist...

by vecky 2009-12-13 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Why not just allow them to filibuster?  Let them stand up in the chamber day and night reading the phone book, with the American people watching?

by orestes 2009-12-14 05:54AM | 0 recs
If I'm not mistaken, they don't have to do this

I have heard conflicting reports, but someone said that nowadays, they only have to announce their intention to filibuster, not to actually physically filibuster.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-14 07:56AM | 0 recs
Because you can't

in order to do that, 50 Senators must be present in the chamber at all times...otherwise any Senator can note the absence of a quorum and the Senate goes into a quorum call until 50 Senators are present.

You also need to get the American people to watch...which wouldn't happen either.

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Because you can't

Please provide support.  This is not my understanding.

by orestes 2009-12-15 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

Can you quote when the last time Obama has talked about bipartisanship or when he has said he expected this bill to get bipartisan support? I didn't think so.

I support dividing this bill into two at this point. It seems to be our only option.

by Lolis 2009-12-13 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

off the top of my head, he did it in his big speech about health care. he even gave personal shout-outs to snowe, etc.

that also happens to be the last time he really made a big speech about health care reform.

so, um, yeah, the last time he spoke about the issue to the American people, he kept up the post-partisan stuff.

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 05:50AM | 0 recs
Thanks

but you really shouldn't have bothered. I am tired of people and their selective memories. I am getting shafted, I have a family member with a chronic condition and I see my premiums rising and in some cases benefits denied. I supported the Democrats for real healthcare reform and instead I am getting window-dressing.

by tarheel74 2009-12-14 06:12AM | 0 recs
Would you prefer he piss on her?

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Would you prefer he piss on her?

yeah, because the two options are to praise her in the most public way possible, or to "piss on her"

do you always use false dichotomies?

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 08:23AM | 0 recs
no, just sounding as ridiculous as you

Olympia Snowe cast a vote to pass a healthcare bill out of the final committee, she risked her entire career to do it, she's obviously more willing to negotiate than a couple members of the Democratic caucus and you're getting your underwear all tied up in knots over a fucking shout out at a speech?

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: no, just sounding as ridiculous as you

I agree.

now how does that support your position that the only two options were high praise in an extremely public way, or to "piss on her"?

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 09:07AM | 0 recs
a shout out

is high praise in a public place?

Jeez, if only

by ND22 2009-12-14 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: a shout out

damn, you really like to quibble, huh? are you arguing just to argue now?

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

Giving shout-outs to people on the other side of the aisle is not the same as saying he will not pass a bill unless it is bipartisan, which Obama has never said. Obama gave a shout-out to John McCain because he used one of the ideas McCain had during the campaign in his own health care proposal.

Everybody says Obama wants a bipartisan bill over a good bill, but nobody can find a quote of Obama or even Gibbs or Axelrod saying anything of the kind. Reporters even commented on how the WH did not make a big deal out of Snowe's vote in the Finance Committee. It is obvious the WH preferred to include Snowe in negotiations but I think it is pretty clear why - they knew they could not count on Lieberman.

After the stimulus, the WH quickly realized they could not count on getting Republican votes. Since then, Obama has not emphasized the importance of getting Republican votes. Obama does still talk about incorporating ideas that are popular among Republicans, but obviously that is an appeal to independent and Republican voters, not lawmakers.

by Lolis 2009-12-14 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: no real choice but reconciliation

i was answering the question: "Can you quote when the last time Obama has talked about bipartisanship or when he has said he expected this bill to get bipartisan support? I didn't think so."

I answered it. I'm sorry that you don't like the answer. but here's some more "bipartisan" talk from the speech:
_

"Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together..."
_

"There are those on the left who believe that the only way to fix the system is through a single-payer system like Canada's, where we would severely restrict the private insurance market and have the government provide coverage for everyone. On the right, there are those who argue that we should end the employer-based system and leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.

I have to say that there are arguments to be made for both approaches. But either one would represent a radical shift that would disrupt the health care most people currently have."
__

"And it's a plan that incorporates ideas from Senators and Congressmen; from Democrats and Republicans - and yes, from some of my opponents in both the primary and general election."
__

"To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end - and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.

And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have."
__

"Finally, many in this chamber - particularly on the Republican side of the aisle - have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine.

I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It's a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today."
__

This is the plan I'm proposing. It's a plan that incorporates ideas from many of the people in this room tonight - Democrats and Republicans.

And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open."
___

ut those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here - people of both parties - know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patient's Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities."
__

"That large-heartedness - that concern and regard for the plight of others - is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character.

Our ability to stand in other people's shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together.."
____

"In 1965, when some argued that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did not back down.

They joined together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind."

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 08:37AM | 0 recs
Did you leave out the part

where he said he'd veto a bill that gets zero Republican votes, cause that's what we were looking for.

Including Republican ideas that are good aren't a terrible thing, because conservatives have some points when it comes to healthcare reform. Sure the GOP will vote no anyway, but who cares if they're good ideas?

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Did you leave out the part

what you are doing is called "moving the goalposts" and is a dishonest way of arguing.

for reference, the exact question I answered was:

""Can you quote when the last time Obama has talked about bipartisanship or when he has said he expected this bill to get bipartisan support? I didn't think so."

and I listed multiple quotes from Obama "about bipartisanship"

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 08:53AM | 0 recs
and did he say he expected to get

bipartisan support? No...see what you're doing is called grasping at straws.

Even President Bush spoke about bipartisanship...didn't make him bipartisan.

by ND22 2009-12-14 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: and did he say he expected to get

wow, just wow.

the poster asked for quotes from obama talking about bipartisanship.

I then cited quote after quote about where he talked about how he/dems embraced working with the other side, and the value of that.

and then i get the goalposts moved to "you are wrong because he didn't say that the bill will get a bunch of republican votes".

why can you not admit that obama talked a bunch about "bipartisanship"? anybody reading the exchange of posts can clearly see that the challenge to find quotes was laid down, and that I supplied the quotes. that you are unwilling to acknowledge that just shows how entrenched you are in a specific position that you can't even admit when that challenge was met.

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 09:07AM | 0 recs
No

the poster asked for quotes where he explicitly stated he wanted a bipartisan bill. I can find quotes from fucking John Boehner talking about bipartisanship.

by ND22 2009-12-14 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: No

wrong, wrong, wrong.

the poster said "Can you quote when the last time Obama has talked about bipartisanship or when he has said he expected this bill to get bipartisan support?"

and that was in response to another person's post saying that Obama is set on keeping up his "post-partisan image"

and then I pointed out quote after quote about Obama saying that his health care proposal is bipartisan and contains ideas from both sides, and how he's personally working with the other side on it, etc.

What part about "when is the last time Obama talked about partisanship" that you don't understand?

at this point, I am no longer interested in discussing this with you. you are being blatantly dishonest and you refuse to discuss this in good faith.

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: No

edit: it should read "when was the last time Obama talked about bipartisanship"

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Strip him of his chairmanships, kick him out of the caucus, don't allocate any funds from the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC towards his re-election campaign, and provide a shit load of funding for anyone who will run against him.

He is a traitor and needs to be kicked out of the fucking party.  Then, he will really be independent.

by agpc 2009-12-13 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

Loose Lieberman and go with Snowe.

by vecky 2009-12-13 07:31PM | 0 recs
doesn't solve anything

because Snowe also opposes anything that would improve this bill or give people choices beyond private insurance.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-14 03:54AM | 0 recs
What if I need health care...

...just from watching the health care debate?

I am a religious person, and words to describe the likes of Joe Lieberman fail me.

He senses a vacuum, and lacking any principles has no problem putting hismelf in the limelight.

He intends only to hand the progressives who dared challenge him in 2006 a defeat.

He has shown no regard for the country.
He has shown no regard for the Senate. He has shown no regard for his party.

45,000 people die each year in this country due to a lack of health care, and he's making this all about the netroots.

How dare he feel that he sets the agenda? How dare he? That this bill is too large? The Senate revolves around you?

Simple:
The DSCC, DNC, and DCCC must defund any opponent of Healthcare Reform.
It's time to being reconcilliation back to the table, and Joe's chairmanships, and his precious sub base in Groton. And Israel.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-13 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

That 45,000 number is inaccurate to say the least. The number was based upon flawed math to put it bluntly.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

ok, what's the real number then?

how many deaths are ok for you?

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

That number was based upon false assumptions. The Harvard group that did that study based it upon the following method, which as someone who deals with statistics and data can tel lyou was deeply flawed. They did a study whereby they took some 9000 ppeople who were unininsured and "tracked" them, for lack of a better term dating back to 1994 I believe. 6 years later they followed up to determine there status. Those who had died were assumed to have died without insurance simply because at least 6 years prior to that, they had no insurance. They made no attempt to determine if those people had insurance at the time of death, they only assumed they did not, since 6 years prior they had no insurance. They than extrapolated the data across the population to come up with the 45,000 figure. Terribly flawed, and when you sue those number to justify a policy change, even worse

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

1 death due to the lack of insurance is too many.  

Period.  

The answer is 1.

by Hammer1001 2009-12-14 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

The Harvard study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, was peer reviewed.  I'm certainly going to take the results over the opinion of some conservatard blogger.

The Institute of Medicine did a study in 2002 which showed 18,000 deaths due to uninsurance.

Is 18,000 an acceptable number to you?

by lojasmo 2009-12-14 08:44AM | 0 recs
we're all waiting for answer Buckeye

not that we expect one.

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:52AM | 0 recs
Don't you know?

The words of random two-bit bloggers carry more weight in the progressive blogosphere these days than actual peer-reviewed journals.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-14 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you know?

BEB is not a progressive...

by vecky 2009-12-14 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you know?

None are acceptable...but when people start throwing out bogus numbers that are based on flawed studies, you mean to tell me you dont question it? Or are you that friggin dumb?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 02:50PM | 0 recs
Then this whole argument is irrelevant

people die because of lack of affordable or gettable healthcare, why are we parsing over what the numbers actually are?

by ND22 2009-12-15 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't you know?

Yes thats how we ended up with a moron like daily Kos....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 03:08PM | 0 recs
Daily Kos is not a person

Markos Moulitsas is the founder of Daily Kos, and quite possibly the most influential progressive blogger. But if you were rooting for McCain, then yeah, I could understand how you'd be angry at him.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-14 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Daily Kos is not a person

Yeah....Kos is a terd.....after he posted tha crap onhis blog cheering the brutal murders and mutilations of american contractors in Iraq, he pretty much showed his colors....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

Actually jackass, that study was cited by peers as you call them as being deeply flawed......oh that right I forgot, Liberals are smarter than and know the answer to everything...thats why almost every liberal idea has failed is rejected by the american populate....your just to blind and arrogant to realize your ideas are dont work......

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

Both the studies I cited were peer-reviewed prior to publication.  If the methodology was not sound, they wouldn't have been published.

As I said, the claims of some mendacious conservative blogger/troll are not anything I'm going to give much credence to.

by lojasmo 2009-12-28 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

That's not an accurate description of the methodology involved. But it is clear you obviously think you know more than they do based on 5 minutes on the interwebs. So pretentious.

by vecky 2009-12-14 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: What if I need health care...

actually it is a pretty accurate description becuase thats exactly the methodolgy they used....much like flawed junk science that claims global warming is man made....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-14 02:54PM | 0 recs
If that number is 1, would it make any difference?

by ND22 2009-12-14 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

you didn't answer my questions.

what is the "real" number then?

and how many deaths are ok for you?

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The Ben and Joe Pony Show

sorry, that was supposed to be in response to buckey's post, above

by jeopardy 2009-12-14 07:12AM | 0 recs

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