AN EVER-EVOLVING RATIONALE…. OK, so Joe Lieberman would rather see health care reform fail than allow some consumers to have a choice between public and private coverage. But one of the key clues to an unprincipled mind is an evolving explanation for opposition.
In June, Lieberman said, “I don’t favor a public option because I think there’s plenty of competition in the private insurance market.” That didn’t make sense, and it was quickly dropped from his talking points.
In July, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because “the public is going to end up paying for it.” No one knew what that meant.
In August, he said we’d have to wait “until the economy’s out of recession,” which is incoherent, since a public option, even if passed this year, still wouldn’t kick in for quite a while.
In September, Lieberman said he opposes a public option because “the public doesn’t support it.” A wide variety of credible polling proved otherwise.
Which brings us to October, and the latest in a series of weak explanations.
“We’re trying to do too much at once,” Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now.” […]
Lieberman said that he’d vote against a public option plan “even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line.”
Jon Chait explained that this “literally makes no sense whatsoever. A public plan does not provide a new entitlement. It just doesn’t. It’s a different form of providing an entitlement. Nor is it more expensive. In fact, the stronger versions of the public plan would cost less money. Lieberman is just babbling nonsense here.”
Not that it matters — it’s almost November, which means Lieberman will have some equally unpersuasive argument very soon.