The corporate ownership of our United States senators is not a constant. There are degrees of ownership as evidenced by the extent to which our senators dance to their corporate pied pipers.
By this standard, one of the most subservient of senators has to be Jumping Joe Lieberman. This man is so tied into his corporate handlers that he not only eschews his constituents, but he eschews his party as well. It’s no wonder he left the democrats to become an independent (an ironic label if there was everyone.)
Well, Jumping Joe has done it again. The Senate, in a rare show of intelligence, crafted their health reform bill to provide a Medicare drop-down to age 55. This is sensible on several levels. Older workers are hit harder by unemployment than their younger peers, and they tend to have more health problems. In addition, it is commonly agreed, by those not beholden to corporate sponsors, that a government-run single payer system is far more efficient and equitable than the private system now in place.
Trust someone as corporately owned as Jumping Joe to stand up and say, “Wait one fucking minute. My handlers want no such a provision as that in the health bill.” So he has threatened to filibuster the bill unless the provision is removed.
And of course, the democratic leadership immediately flopped down on their bellies and crawled to Jumping Joe to find out what they had to do to placate him.
Kiss the Medicare drop-down goodbye.
Now if the Democrats had both a spine and brains, they’d see Jumping Joe’s threat as a golden opportunity. All they’d have to do is force the son of a bitch to stand up in the Senate and filibuster a program the majority of the country favors. Shine a media spotlight on his obstructionism. Get the wheeling and dealing out of the Senate cloakroom and on to the floor where the citizens of Connecticut can see what a mean-spirited bastard they elected.
At the same time, the Democrats could inform Joe that come the next election they were going to target all their resources on making sure he didn’t return to the Senate chambers. And the linchpin of their advertising would be film clips of Joe’s filibuster against meaningful health care.
Of course, all of the above assumes that the Democrats were serious about the Medicare drop-down in the first place.
And that ain’t necessarily so.
What we could be looking at here is a carefully choreographed song and dance. The Democrats propose the drop-down, and that nasty independent from the Nutmeg state kills it as the Democrats wring their hands in mock despair and claim that, golly gee, we really, really tried to get the measure passed but the political wind just wasn’t blowing in the right direction, though, in truth, the only wind blowing in the Senate chamber is a corporate fart.
In the end, it’s all theater scripted by the K Street Drama Club.