Dissecting Lieberman.

As Sen. Joe Lieberman continually moves the goal posts for reform, contradicting his own stated beliefs of what he would prefer in a health-care package and straight up lying about what the legislation does, everyone is trying to understand his logic. Bloggers are scouring Lieberman's past statements, the platform he ran on before, interviews, website caches, whatever they can find for an "ah-ha!" hypocrisy hit. And it's pretty easy to do. But I think the most instructive Lieberman quote actually came from the New York Times this afternoon:

But in the interview, Mr. Lieberman said that he grew apprehensive when a formal proposal began to take shape. He said he worried that the program would lead to financial trouble and contribute to the instability of the existing Medicare program. And he said he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system. “Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare-buy in is better than a public option, it’s the beginning of a road to single-payer,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Jacob Hacker, who’s a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, ‘This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.’”

You see, it's not about the mechanics of a Medicare buy-in, the implications on the deficit, or anything about the actual policy. If a single payer leftist like Rep. Weiner had said he hated the Medicare buy-in, and a popular liberal academic like Jacob Hacker had spat on it, that would politically place the Medicare buy-in outside the sphere of accepted progressive ideas. However, they said they like the Medicare buy-in, and thus Lieberman is against it. He wants to be to the right of the Democratic mainstream -- it's that simple.

--Lee Fang