Sunday, December 13, 2009


Josh Marshall:

It's starting to seem like it may just be better for Dems to try to make a deal with Olympia Snowe, kick Joe Lieberman out of the party and be done with it. The leadership in the senate thought that Lieberman was on board with the latest compromise. But in an appearance on Face the Nation and later in a sit-down with Sen. Reid, Lieberman said he'd join the Republican filibuster if the Medicare buy-in remained in the bill.

... he seems to keep upping the ante just when the rest of the caucus thinks they've got a deal.

... Lieberman just doesn't seem to be negotiating in good faith. He keeps pulling his caucus to some new compromise, waiting a few days and then saying he can't agree to that either.

Kicking him to the curb is the obvious move. But if Democrats aren't going to do that -- if they still believe there's hope -- they should try approaching the Lieberman problem in a way that's exactly the opposite of what they've been doing.

Instead of going out before the press after a negotiating session in which he seems, yet again, to be (temporarily) placated and expressing cautious optimism about his vote, do the opposite -- tell the press, "Senator Lieberman has indicated to us that he may be on board, but he's made noises like this several times before and he always manages to find some reason, some excuse, to say no. In fact, we seem to have two Parties of No in this town -- the Republican Party and a one-man Party of No named Joe Lieberman. So we assume that there's just no point at which he's ultimately going to choose helping his constituents get the health coverage they need over giving us the shaft. We have to operate on the assumption that giving us the shaft is a much higher priority for him, and he's never going to be on board. We have to assume that every time we move closer to his last stated position, he's going to move the goalposts, and that cycle is just never going to end with him."

Would it work to negotiate with him and then verbally cut him off at the knees? Probably not, but so what? There's a 0.00001% chance it would shame Lieberman into acting on his constituents' behalf -- but that's 0.00001% better than the chance that doing what Democrats are doing now is going to work.

So, what the hell, they should try it.

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