Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And In This Corner, Rosa DeLauro

What’s wrong with allowing people to buy into Medicare at the age of 50 or 55? Besides the fact that it is going bankrupt, is inefficient and can barely sustain its current population?” – “the chief,” a commentator on the blog site Connecticut Local Politics

“The chief” may or may not be a citizen represented in the U.S. House of representatives by John Larson, a Democratic Rep. from the impregnable 1st District or Rosa DeLauro of the 3rd District or embattled Sen. Chris Dodd, all of whom are frustrated by Sen. Joe Lieberman’s opposition to a public option in the health care bill and a provision that would extend Medicare benefits to beneficiaries who are 55 years of age and up.

It hardly matters at all what district “the chief” resides in; he is represented in the U.S. Congress by a delegation in both the House and the Senate that is wholly Democratic. And that delegation is marching in lockstep with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who wants both a public option, leading down the yellow brick road to a single payer health care system, and an extension of Medicare to citizens 55 and older, despite “the chief’s” misgivings.

Rep. DeLauro was so flustered by Lieberman’s opposition – not to mention the resistance of many in the Congress to a bill that would force Catholics in the United States, many of whom would rather follow the Pope in matters of faith and morals than DeLauro, to pony up tax money for abortions – that she said, in a frequently intemperate moment, senator Lieberman should be “recalled.”

There is no provision in the United States for recalling senators who disagree with DeLauro on matters of public policy. But of course DeLauro is free to call for Lieberman’s impeachment; that’ll teach him!

In so doing however, she also would have to call for the impeachment of other congresspersons, some of them Democrats, who think, along with “the chief,” that using a seriously under funded and potentially bankrupt Medicare system to cover many more people is not economically prudent.

State Sen. Edith Prague, according to one report, was among the disappointed. Asked about Lieberman’s health care position, Prague buried her head in her hands and asked plaintively, “Can you help me get my vote back? I voted for him. What a mistake. What a disappointment he has come to be. He holds the ace. It makes me sick to my stomach to think he would deny health care to so many people. He holds the ace card. He's the key.''

Putting on his psychologist’s hat, Democratic State Rep. Chris Caruso of Bridgeport defended Lieberman from charges on the left that he was positioning himself for political favors or, worse, that he was the playmate of powerful insurance interests in Connecticut, once called the insurance capital of the world. None of this was true. Lieberman’s opposition related directly, Caruso said to the senator’s “loss in the Democratic primary in 2006 against upstart Ned Lamont and his complete abandonment in the general election by the party's liberal wing.”

Said Dr. Caruso, “He's had this complete sea change in the last six or seven years, and he's betrayed his own roots and beliefs. I think in this case it's a clear vendetta. I'm really surprised at the pettiness and vindictiveness that he's showing. ... Anyone who looks at it in any other way is trying to come up with nice things to say about him. It's a vendetta.''

The Nedster made him do it.

Lieberman good naturedly rejected the psychobabble.

"The great thing about winning an election is you don't have to seek revenge. I didn't come away feeling vengeful.''

Ex-Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker, who did  lose a senate race to Lieberman, surfaced long enough to say that at some future date Lieberman would be held accountable for his actions.

"Very frankly, if he doesn't want to be held accountable...on an issue as important as this,” said the father of Connecticut’s income tax, who declined to run a second time as governor after its difficult passage through a legislature of broken arms and bloody noses, “it's not going to bode well for him in the future. The state is very much for health care reform. There comes a day of reckoning.''

But not for everyone, as Weicker knows; some, who decline to put their courage to a vote, get away Scott free. Weicker’s day of political reckoning never came, and it’s doubtful anyone would presume to lay him on a couch for therapy to explore his frequent betrayals of his own party. The bottom line on Connecticut present budget is more than twice what it had been in the early 90’s when the Weicker tax was written into law.

And the present budget deficit is enough to make an angel cry, not to mention Prague or DeLauro or Larson or Dodd or Caruso.


Politico today has a story out that helps to explain why Lieberman's opposition may help Obama in the long run:

"In effect, Lieberman spared Obama from having to make a difficult choice down the road — between liberal supporters who wanted the Medicare expansion and two big constituencies whose opposition could have scuttled a bill."
Someone should tell DeLauro.
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