Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, emerged Tuesday afternoon from a meeting with his caucus as the center of attention -- again.
On his way in, he told reporters that if a public health insurance option was in the final health care bill, he would join a GOP filibuster to prevent it from getting an up or down vote. HuffPost asked him if there'd been much reaction from his colleagues in the Democratic caucus.
"Not really," he said, "because I think my colleagues know for a long time that I've been opposed to a government-created, government-run insurance company."
Lieberman stressed that he was not opposing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) effort to get a bill on to the floor -- one that includes a public health insurance option. Rather, said Lieberman, he would oppose a final vote on the bill by supporting a GOP filibuster if the public option remained in the bill. The difference is crucial, in that it allows the process to move forward. But it does present backers of a public option with the problem of getting 60 votes for a final vote to cut off a GOP filibuster.
Lieberman will face tremendous pressure from his caucus and the Democratic base to break with the Republican Party and allow a final vote on health care to go forward. Lieberman may be bluffing. Asked by HuffPost if he expects that he would have to cast the vote that he is currently threatening, he demurred. "That depends," he said.
Once a rat, always a rat. And this is one rat I can't wait to see sent packing in 2010.