Lieberman Shows Democrats Don’t Have 60 Healthcare Votes

Skeptical on the public option.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I wrote earlier noting that the imminent arrival of Sen. Al Franken does not mean that the Democrats will be able to start running amok in Washington because the Senate Democratic caucus covers a relatively broad ideological spectrum. CQ's David Nather makes the same point, using a fresh Joe Lieberman interview to underscore the point. Lieberman told the New Haven Independent that he is "skeptical" of a public option in healthcare. Remember that all it takes is one member to puncture the "filibuster-proof majority."

And as Nather points out, this lesson seems to be lost on the Democrats' base:

"Let's do what the American people have asked Democrats to do, and let's not use any excuses like this 60-vote nonsense, which is now obviously no longer an issue," Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, said on MSNBC yesterday.

Sure, the statement proves Moulitsas doesn't really understand the Senate. But there are lots of people who will agree with him. Until now, Democrats have used their lack of 60 votes to explain why they have to make concessions to Republicans in the Senate. Now, it's going to be a lot harder to explain any concessions—even though there will be times when they still have to make them.

Forget a filibuster-proof majority. How about a Lieberman-proof majority?

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