Why I Don’t Want to Be a Senator

I don’t know how any one could stand to put up with all the nonsense in the Senate. It wears me out just reading about it. If I were in the chamber itself I would have been driven to throw something at Joe Lieberman’s head by now.

On the other hand — until very recently, news media seemed incapable of publishing anything about Joe Lieberman without calling him “principled.” Those days seem to be over, at least in some places. Ezra Klein responds to some critics who still think Holy Joe has principles. See also “More explanations from Joe Lieberman that don’t make sense.”

Matt Yglesias argues that the flawed and disappointing health care reform bill will still help a lot of people, so I’m inclined to say what the hell. Pass the damn thing. Dragging the fight out further is unlikely to improve it. That doesn’t mean the fight isn’t over, though.

19 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Want to Be a Senator

  1. Not with the mandates. That will be a nuclear bomb set off in the heart of the party. Strip out the mandates and pass the other reforms I can will be able to live with it. Badly, but I can. Mandates? Mandates make me itch to vote for the Greens and I hate the Greens.

    • Well, MN, you can vote for the Greens, but I think the mandates are essential if the rest of the reforms are going to work at all. Care of uninsured patients is one of the biggest drivers of cost, if not the biggest driver.

      Krugman wrote a column on mandates a couple of years ago that makes an interesting read today on several levels. Mandates are politically dangerous but economically essential.

  2. I just finished Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, in which he said a number of interesting things about how the Senate changed since he became a senator in 1962. Wish I had it in front of me to cite a paragraph or two, but I don’t think I could deal with my coworkers coming up to spit on my copy.

    Naturally Kennedy mentioned the power of lobbies as a main concern, as well as the related issue of how we pay for elections. He did see some hope in using the Internet to raise lots of money in small increments from reg’lar folks, as Howard Dean did in 2004 and Obama did last year. Of course, Kennedy also acknowledged that the tone of the Senate has changed over the past twenty or thirty years, and mutual respect across the aisle has been replaced by open hatred.

    Of course, that’s not to say Kennedy didn’t get into some ferocious scraps with his fellow senators– sometimes from his own party, and often over health care reform. He describes a “shouting match” during the Clinton era with none other than my old senator Bob Kerrey (a liberal angel compared to Ben Nelson). I suspect that if Kennedy were with us today and in decent health, he’d pick up Droopy Dawg Lieberman by the scruff of his neck and give him a back-handed bitchslapping. Shite-head Nelson likewise. Without a Senate point man or woman for this reform effort, the whole thing’s spiraled down into the ground.

  3. I have been thinking of sending a letter to the editors of all Connecticut’s newspapers asking the people of Connecticut to do the country a really big favor and NOT re-elect Lieberman the next time he’s up for election.

  4. I really think at this point the only positive effect of this bill will be that passing it will not be a catastrophic loss for Obama’s presidency. In my opinion any bill that the senator from Israel is willing to vote for must be ultimately beneficial to the Healthcare industry at the expense of us consumers. I just don’t trust that little bastard, he is as corrupt as they come, it really makes me fucking sick to think that I pulled the lever for that asshole back in 2000.

  5. I would suggest that Joe could be for it in 2000, because it did not ever have a chance of turning into reality. And if he did become VP, he could have made sure it never happened.

    In 2009, he changed positions because it was damn near happening.

    Principles? It is all about money. Campaign donations, his wife’s job, his future after he leaves the Senate, future jobs for some of his staffers.

    It is all about, and only about, THE MONEY.

  6. A recent post at Balloon Juice ask why anyone would want to be in the House. that seems even worse – you’re literally campaigning constantly.

    God. I wouldn’t even mind the making speeches and eating the rubber food so much. But asking morons for money every single day – ugh.

  7. I don’t think that the mandates in the current abomination of a “healthcare” bill will help anyone but the big insurance companies. So now everybody will be forced to give their money to private health insurers to buy expensive, mediocre coverage, with no real reform on controlling costs – that’s got to be the industry’s wet dream.

    For those of you who seem to think that we need to pass this to “save Obama” from an embarrassing defeat, I’d like to ask just where has Obama been during this whole healthcare debate? He never proposed any legislation himself. He just told the Democratic congress that he “wants to do healthcare” and then let them write the bill without any guidance. He never put forth his own proposal, other than to say that single-payer is “off the table.”

    When voters finally see how much they are paying for such a mediocre product, they are likely to vote Republican or else stay away from the polls in 2010/2012. This bill will be Armageddon for the Democrats. Makes me wonder if Karl Rove didn’t cut a secret deal with Obama. Think about that next time you say “we can pass this crap bill now and fix it later.” President Sarah Palin and Vice-President Joe-the-Plumber will not “fix it.”

    For those of you calling Lieberman “the senator from Israel,” be advised that Israel has decent universal health care. If Lieberman was indeed an Israeli senator, he’d be thrown out on his ear. It would be a lot more accurate to call Lieberman “the senator from K Street.”

    • I don’t think that the mandates in the current abomination of a “healthcare” bill will help anyone but the big insurance companies.

      I would have rather had single payer, but short of that I would have rather had a public option anyone could buy into, but short of that the reform has to have a mandate to make the whole thing work. I don’t like giving money to the private companies either, but if you spend as much time wading around in this issue as I do, you see it plainly that one of the first priorities has got to be to get as many people insured as possible, whether they want insurance or not, to keep costs down. Ininsured people are probably the single biggest driver of cost.

      Ezra Klein explains this in some detail.

  8. If I were a senator, I wouldn’t be one for too long, I think. I would either have an aneurism or kill someone within the first couple of weeks.

    What a royally screwed up system we have.

  9. After reading Greenwald today and a diary at the orange Satan (which is a letter to Obama) and the comments to that diary….I am thinking O. never ever intended for a public option because it is a political liability; and that he has been playing the game trying to walk the middle to minimize blow back and damage and…maybe even was in cahoots with Liberschnitzel for old Joe to deliver the death blow in return for what…an invite to the private cognac and cigars on New Years Eve..and whatever.

    I dunno, what can we believe except for what’s written here?

  10. Barbara – Thanks for the Ezra Klein link. A lot of people have tried to explan it, and he says it better than anyone I have read.

  11. The problem with the mandates is that you have no choice. You have to pay them to a private insurance company. They are not market actors.

  12. Ah sorry, I’ll make it more clear. The premiums are not connected to the risk pool because insurance companies make money, they don’t insure people except on the side. They are designed to gouge everyone as much as possible. Mandates are only going to kick that system into overdrive.

    • MN — How risk will be pooled and how much the insurance companies will be allowed to gouge depends on what regulations remain in the final bill. The fact remains that mandates are necessary to make either the current House or Senate bill provisions workable.

  13. “For those of you calling Lieberman “the senator from Israel,” be advised that Israel has decent universal health care.”

    I’d bet my last paycheck that if the “state” of Israel asked for money from our government to fund their socialized medicine Loserman would be all for it. He would find some anti-Arab terrorism angle and argue is ass off for the additional aid. I call him the senator from Israel because that is what he is; his sole purpose in this government is to promote the apartheid Zionist “State” of Israel, and funnel as much of our tax dollars to the corrupt government of Israel. The less money we spend as a country on our own interests like healthcare the more cash we have to hand over.

  14. So wait, let me see if I understand this: We pay a fortune every month for the ‘Golden Goose’ and when we can’t, or won’t, make it lay any tiny golden eggs to help us out, then we’re expected to cheer that instead of ANY golden eggs, we get goose shit that squirts on our shoes.
    Yeah!!! Thank you for the goose shit, oh Great Golden Goose!!!
    I know this is offensive, but I’m going to say it anyway (‘awaiting moderation,’ be damned) – I don’t want to get reamed. But if you’re going to do it, at least use some vaseline, not sand, pumice and metal shavings. As a Democrat, I feel used And cheap.

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