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Thursday, 29 October 2009 14:00

Joe Lieberman is Our GOP Hypocrite of the Week for Promising Real Healthcare Reform, Then Tanking It

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Joe Lieberman

You're probably already aware of why Gawker might be referring to Joe Lieberman as "a sanctimonious, thin-skinned, self-satisfied monster. And a pious, amoral scumbag. And a narcissistic, deluded underminer who Joe Liebermanrepresents everything that is wrong with the United States Senate. And a war-mongering, concern-trolling religious zealot. And, generally, a bastard. And probably a racist."

His de-facto defection to the Republican Party on the healthcare reform bill in the Senate has been widely explored this week. Many have pointed out that Lieberman has to straight-up lie in order to defend his intended vote against the public option. It make sense that he'd need to lie, lying down with the GOP as he is.

This video from two different campaign events in 2006 archived by DailyKosTV shows Lieberman touting his support for universal healthcare and a public option as a reason to send him back to the Senate. You can watch the mash-up here, but we've taken the liberty of culling the relevant text below, with our own emphasis:

On July 6, 2006, Lieberman promised "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.

Then, on Oct. 23, 2006, he said that he had already "offered a comprehensive program. Small business health insurance reform, plus something I call MediKids to cover all the children in America on a sliding fee basis up until the age of 25. MediChoice to allow anybody in our country to buy into a national insurance pool like the health insurance pool that we federal employees and members of Congress have." Lieberman also promised to "cover 95 percent of those who are not covered now, and... reduce the pressure on rising costs for all the millions of others."

So, Connecticut voters, how's that working out for you? Oh, you say the guy you sent to Congress is standing in the way of all those things? And that his name is Lieberman too?  What a coincidence!

Furthermore, Lieberman's aforementioned lies about the cost of the public option are not just misleading, they're hypocritical. When one considers how much the senator has enjoyed spending taxpayer money on government-run programs up until now, the whole small-government, fiscal conservative act rings a bit hollow. As Robert Scheer of Truth Dig points out (emphasis ours):

"I think that a lot of people may think that the public option is free," said Lieberman, one of the Senate's big spenders, in a suddenly frugal mood. "It's not. It's going to cost the taxpayers and people that have health insurance now, and if it doesn’t, it's going to add terribly to our national debt."

This from a senator who, as much as anyone, helped run up the national debt since 9/11 by pushing to raise the military budget to its highest level since World War II. It is a budget inflated by enormous expenditures on high-tech weaponry irrelevant to combating terror, such as the $2-billion-a-piece submarines -- produced in his home state of Connecticut -- that he claimed were needed to combat al-Qaida, a landlocked enemy holed up in caves. The same week that he and others in Congress passed a $680-billion defense bill larded with pork of the sort he has always supported, Lieberman is worried about the impact of a very limited public option on the debt.

Lieberman, whose state is also home to insurance companies that are opposed to any consumer-friendly medical coverage alternative, boldly stated that his opposition to even the most limited version of a public option should not be surprising: "I think my colleagues know for a long time that I've been opposed to a government-created, government-run insurance company." Perhaps during his filibuster to prevent a vote on the public option Lieberman can square that position with his longtime support of the massive government–run insurance programs Medicare and Social Security

Maybe he can also take that time to justify his strong support for the government bailout of troubled banking and insurance companies that has tripled the federal deficit this year to $1.4 trillion. Is AIG not now a "government-run insurance company," and doesn't the $185 billion of taxpayer money tossed at that sorry enterprise add up to more than twice the yearly cost of the health reform package? And that's without considering the trillions of tax dollars put into play to shore up Citigroup, Bank of America, GM, Chrysler and those other suddenly socialized sectors of American corporate life.

Whew. That should be enough to strip that "independent" label right from his title (perhaps we should follow Paul Begala's lead and insist it stands for "insurance industry"). And that's why Joe Lieberman is our GOP hypocrite of the week.

Remember our motto: So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.

Catch up with you soon.

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This is Joe Lieberman's fourth GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award. He also won the award on Nov. 21, 2008, Feb. 15, 2008 and Aug. 11, 2006. You can see a list of all previous nominees here.

Image courtesy of NathanF's photostream on Flickr.