It looks as if there’s going to be no alternative to caving in to Joe Lieberman’s blackmail if we want a heath care bill. And having done so, Reid won’t even have an excuse to kick Lieberman out of the caucus. Nor is it clear that he’d want to; just this week Lieberman was the 60th vote for cloture on the debt ceiling extension.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remember what he did, or that revenge is a dish which persons of taste prefer to consume cold.
Hadassah Lieberman makes a lot of money lobbying for Aetna. Joe Lieberman gets a ton of campaign contributions from Aetna. I don’t know whether that connection explains Lieberman’s subservience to the interests of the health insurance industry, but Aetna no doubt thinks it’s buying influence with Holy Joe.
In addition to its interest in policies general to insurers, Aetna no doubt has lots of particular interests: lots of things it wants the Congress to do, or not do. If I were Harry Reid, I’d make sure that, from now on, Aetna loses on every single one of those issues, and I’d tell Aetna why.
Related thought: If the only reason we need Lieberman’s vote is because Olympia Snowe doesn’t want to play. Fine. Reid should figure out some provision Snowe really, really wants in the bill, or doesn’t want in the bill, and tell her that if she forces to deal with Lieberman that provision is going to come out the way she doesn’t want it to come out.
The kind of stunt Lieberman and Snowe are pulling shouldn’t be free.