Ah, it was so predictable:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told reporters today that he would in fact filibuster any health care bill he doesn't agree with--and right now, he doesn't agree with the proposal making its way through the Senate.
"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined--i haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined--to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
Lieberman is saying that he's pretty much OK with letting senators offer amendments--try to change the legislation, move it in any direction they deem necessary. But when that process is all over, and Harry Reid wants to hold an up or down vote on the final product, Lieberman's saying he'll join that filibuster, if he's not happy with the finished product. Point blank.
I kept hearing in private conversations that everyone was sure that good old Lieb wouldn't join the filibuster. No way, no how. After all "he's with us on everything but the war." But it always seemed absurd to me to trust good old Lieb since he's become a bitter, angry, resentful, creepy, arch conservative, vengeful old fuck (which isn't all that different than he always was, but he used to be a little bit constricted by his religious image.)
I've also heard speculation that good old Lieb made a deal when he kept his seniority and committee chairmanships that he wouldn't join Republican filibusters. I guess that's not true --- or people in high places aren't holding him to it.
There are a whole lot of possibilities here. This could be Senate kabuki, it could be the White House working with Joe, it could just be Joe hogging the spotlight as usual. But whatever it is, there's nothing he loves more than stepping up at a moment when the momentum is running the right way --- and pulling it up short. It's his specialty.
The day Al Gore picked Lieberman as his running mate, I was devastated. This was why. In fact, his not becoming Vice President in 2000 was the only silver lining in that whole ugly mess of an election.