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Joe Lieberman is determined to leave office in just the same way he has "served" his constituents over 24 years: that is to say, with breathtaking amounts of unbridled hypocrisy. At a press conference on Monday in the lobby of the Capitol building in Hartford, Lieberman told reporters that he opposed the filibuster "rule" in the US Senate that requires 60 votes to invoke cloture, though passing a bill only requires a simple majority. Lieberman told CT News Junkie: "The requirement that you need 60 votes to proceed to a matter, to consider an amendment, to pass a bill finally, to take up a conference report, all of those require not 51 votes, the majority, but 60. The filibuster is not constitutional. It's a matter of the Senate rules. If I had my druthers I would run the Senate just the way the House is run." He bitterly lamented that his signature legislation on cybersecurity could not get a floor vote because of a Republican filibuster (ironically, Lieberman "amigo" John McCain was one of the GOP senators who blocked the bill).
This may have come as a surprise to those who have actually paid attention to Lieberman's career and his own history of anti-majoritarian obstructionism. In November 2009, as the debate over health care reform was reaching its climax, Lieberman told Fox News Sunday:
"If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that's worse than the one we're fighting our way out of today. I don't want to do that to our children and grandchildren."
Lieberman's threat to side with the GOP in a filibuster of the Affordable Care Act essentially killed the public option, the only way to meaningfully "bend the cost curve" and leverage real accountability on private insurance companies. While it is true that Lieberman has voiced objections about the filibuster going back as far as 1994, in practice he has a long history of obstructionism, mainly against his own (former) party. In 2007 Lieberman filibustered a non-binding, bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop surge in Iraq, prompting the Hartford Courant to refer to him as "Connecticut's let's-not-talk-about-it senator."
After his outburst of hypocrisy at the Capitol, Lieberman embarked on a "farewell tour" of Connecticut diners. On his senate website, Lieberman claims to have visited "more than 130 diners in a [filibuster-proof] 60 Connecticut towns." If you happen to see him at a diner near you, ask him why the filibuster is bad when it comes to his pet legislation, but good for everything else, like blocking an affordable public health insurance option for all Americans.