I know that since Joe LIEberman pissed in the punch yesterday many of us on the left have been apoplectic over it. By in large the questions have been asked over and over again to the effect of "What will they do about Joe LIEberman?". Meaning what will Harry Reid do? Will he threaten LIEberman with his seniority and committee chairmanships? What will President Obama do? Threaten to campaign against him and run him out of the party and politics? Cut off all of his earmarks?
That is all find and good, and if you have read this blog for any period of time you know that I have no problem and in fact encourage Democratic leadership to cut LIEberman off at the knees. And that was before he was threatening a filibuster. But here is the thing, there is another way of looking at this.
It is time to ask what are our progressive leaders in the Senate willing to do to counter LIEberman? He has pledged to join a filibuster if there is a public option in the bill. Is there a Democrat in the Senate who has the courage to now come out and say that THEY will filibuster any bill that does not have one?
This is a very important question and it goes to the heart of whether Joe LIEberman will be allowed to ruin this health care reform bill. You see if our side is not willing to show that we will be just as strong in our advocacy for the public option as he will be in his opposition to the public option just who do you think President Obama and Harry Reid are going to defer to? They will defer to the person or persons that they feel most threaten the passage of the bill. And until we are sitting on that equal platform we will not be taken seriously.
So if you are worried about Joe LIEberman and his opposition to the public option our path should be clear. We need to pressure all of the proponents of a public option in the Senate to come out with their own statements about cloture. Its really that simple. It is time to meet fire with fire and prove that progressives in the Senate are not just all talk. Getting Harry Reid to put a public option in the bill was basically just the first step. Now we have to put pressure on people like Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockerfeller to draw a line in the sand to show that we won't allow it to be removed.
It is what it is.
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