That’s the import of this story. At some point, we will all have to ask what part of the words “no public option of any kind” do Democrats on the Hill and in the White House not understand.
True to form, Ezra Klein opines that there is no possible way that Lieberman’s opposition to any kind of public option bill can be principled in any way, shape, or form. Rather, Klein feels it is safe for him to say that Lieberman is “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.”
Perhaps Klein has decided–on a dare of some sort–to demagogue the issue of health care reform. He is off to a strong start in doing so. I doubt that Klein will be embarrassed by his over-the-top reaction to–gasp!–dissent, but shouldn’t the Washington Post feel as though it has a little egg on its face thanks to having an in-house blogger engage in the rhetoric of slime and smear?
UPDATE: In a long, strange post, Klein responds to me by trying to prove his point that Lieberman really does lack principles. We at the New Ledger appreciate the attention from the Washington Post, but as the saying goes, Klein’s response raises more questions than it answers.
For one thing, Klein points out that as a Vice Presidential candidate, Lieberman supported the Medicare buy-in as a part of the Gore-Lieberman platform, thus supposedly raising the question of why he is opposing it now. In shocking news, it has been reported in the past that Vice Presidential candidates–and actual Vice Presidents as well–swallow hard at times to support positions that the people at the top of the ticket promote. George H.W. Bush supported “voodoo economics” after running against it in the 1980 primaries and caucuses. Joe Biden is on board with a troop increase in Afghanistan after having opposed it in private. Lieberman’s decision to support a Medicare buy-in as part of the Gore-Lieberman ticket should come as little surprise; he was doing what Vice Presidents are supposed to do by following his boss’s lead. Similarly it should come as little surprise that nearly a decade later, Lieberman may have changed his mind. If Klein wants to argue that Lieberman was being excessively political back in 2000 with his support of the Gore Medicare buy-in, he might have a stronger argument. He has a weaker one in stating that Lieberman has sacrificed principles for crass reasons with his latest stance; given the fact that Lieberman is an independent agent, it is more likely that his stance today is in accord with his private and heartfelt views than it was in 2000 when he had to salute every time that Al Gore issued a policy commandment.
Klein also treats the scores of the Congressional Budget Office as “verdicts.” Funny; he was not doing that earlier this year, when CBO was stating that the various health care reform plans being considered by Democrats would bust the budget. In any event, Klein’s claim that Democratic health care plans would reduce the deficit has hardly gone unchallenged. I am sure that the use of budget gimmicks are convenient way to claim that the health care reform envisioned by the White House and Congressional Democrats will reduce the deficit. But it’s certainly not an honest way to make that claim.
As a final matter, it remains highly offensive that Klein is acting like the Washington Post’s version of Alan Grayson; claiming that anyone opposed to his health care policy proposals has blood on their hands. Klein & Co. should realize that they have neither a monopoly on wisdom, nor one on virtue. There are other ideas out there on how best to bring about health care reform, and those ideas should be taken seriously. Too bad that Klein treats opposing thought the way Democrats accuse Republicans of responding to counter-arguments; by refusing to engage the substance, and by instead, questioning the motives of the arguer without any basis whatsoever.