| In the 2006 primary race, Joe Lieberman promised Connecticut Democrats:
"I can do more for you and your families to... get universal health insurance."
In the 2006 general election, Joe Lieberman told reporters the same thing:
Lieberman devoted a conference call with reporters to an issue that his main rival in the U.S. Senate race, Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, has highlighted in recent days.
"I have long supported the goal of universal health care," Lieberman told reporters. "Ned Lamont can talk about it. I've been doing something about it all the time I've been here.
Of course, it was all a lie, and a particularly bad one.
At the time, it was easy to see that Lieberman's election-year rhetoric on health care was just as mendacious on its face as his claim that "no one wants to end the war in Iraq more than I do", or his promise to help Barack Obama "reach to the stars", or his vow that he would help "elect a Democratic president in 2008" and that it was his primary opponent who would "frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that".
Now, in 2009, on the cusp of a 60-seat Senate majority and at a now-or-never moment on heath care reform, Democrats have the old Joe to deal with once again:
"If we create a public option, the public is going to end up paying for it," Lieberman said following an hour-long confab with public-health experts at the Ashmun Street community center of the Monterey Homes public housing complex. "That's a cost we can't take on."...
Lieberman hopes to help do that through the work of an informal, but busy, bipartisan group he formed last year with Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander....
That common ground, in Lieberman's view, has no room for the public option.
Just six months removed from being saved by political irrelevancy by Preisdent Obama, Joe Lieberman has declared that he is now working to kill Obama's health care plan.... almost exactly 15 years after he helped kill President Clinton's.
This was the scene in Washington, D.C. in July 1994, as constituents rallied at Lieberman's office against his positions on health care:
About 40 labor union members, consumer advocates and other disaffected voters attended the brief rally, aimed at convincing the state's junior senator of the depth of the country's health care problem and the need for fundamental reform.
Unions, consumer advocates, women's groups and other traditional Democratic supporters have been unhappy with the New Haven Democrat for months, saying his stance on health reform is inadequate for the problems many Americans face.
The demonstrators said they want a health care package that includes basic coverage for all Americans, paid for primarily by employers, without taxation of benefits and with stepped-up controls on cost -- the outline of a bill materializing in the House of Representatives.
..."We need to bring more attention to the lousy record Joe Lieberman has on health care to make sure people know Joe Lieberman is wrong on this issue," said Leo Canty, president of the Connecticut State Federation of Teachers
(from "LIEBERMAN'S STAND ON HEALTH CARE DRAWS PROTEST; 40 AT RALLY PROTEST FOR REFORMS," Hartford Courant (Connecticut), July 29, 1994, MATTHEW DALY)
Throughout the early to mid 1990s, he showed the same willingness to fight hard against any health care reform:
Lieberman did not support President Clinton's sweeping 1993-94 reform plan, saying it was "too big, too bureaucratic, too governmental."...
The next year, he worked with a bipartisan coalition of senators, led by Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, who made a last-minute push to pass a health care plan. It would have required all insurers to accept anyone and offer them a standard-benefits plan. Lieberman ultimately opposed the measure because of its employer mandate.
His 1994 mission to kill health care utilized the same "death by compromise" tactic he seemingly plans to use now. But even if an observer somehow missed all of the above, his aversion to health care reform extended to his presidential run. In 2003, here's how one notable Democrat reacted to a Lieberman attack on Dick Gephardt's universal health care plan:
Mr. Lieberman, in a remark in the debate that was endorsed by aides to many of Mr. Gephardt's rivals today, suggested that Mr. Gephardt's health care plan could prove an irresistible target to Republicans should he win the nomination. Mr. Lieberman lumped the plan with ''big-spending Democratic ideas of the past,'' adding, ''We can't afford them.'...
How, [opponent's aides] asked, could a Democrat who is such a staunch supporter of the war, and who questioned the practicality of an ambitious universal health care plan, survive the left-leaning electorate that dominates the Democratic nominating process?
''What he's saying to Democratic voters is, 'You may not agree with me on major issues, but voters outside our party do, so I can win -- therefore vote for me,' '' said David Axelrod, an adviser to Mr. Edwards. ''I think it's a difficult task to win a nomination like that. There is a core, a heart and soul to the party, and you have to speak to it. You don't have to make yourself unelectable to win.''
Joe Lieberman has spent his entire career killing any shot at real health care reform. There is no reason to think he will not spend the rest of 2009 making sure it dies this time too. That's why it's so crucial to whip the Connecticut House delegation as part of a strategy to make sure a robust, workable, effective public option emerges out of this legislation.