That would be one excuse a month, each one different, given by Sen. Joe Lieberman for opposing the public option. Steve Benen has been keeping a record:
Regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been keeping track of Joe Lieberman’s evolving rationales for opposing a public option. The Connecticut senator is so opposed to letting some consumers choose between competing public and private plans that he’s willing to kill the entire bill over this one issue, but his reasoning keeps changing.
Believe it or not, we’re up to seven arguments over seven months, none of which makes sense.
Steve goes through all of them, but the latest is that the public option is a Trojan horse for single-payer:
“I started to ask some of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus, privately, and two of them said ‘some in our caucus, and some outside in interest groups, after the president won such a great victory and there were more Democrats in the Senate and the House, said this is the moment to go for single payer.'” So, I joke, the senator is, in fact, as big a “conspiracy theorist” as me. He laughingly rejoins: “But I have evidence!”
This really is incoherent. First, independent analyses, including reports from the CBO, have found that public and private plans can compete and co-exist without driving the other out of business. Lieberman may claim to have imaginary “evidence,” but there is no conspiracy.
Second, this wasn’t sprung on lawmakers after the election; it was part of all of the major Democratic candidates’ plans as far back as mid-2007.
And third, if progressive lawmakers decided this is “the moment to go for single payer,” they would have proposed single payer. As it stands, they’re pushing for a watered-down public option with a state opt-out.
Lieberman’s “conspiracy theory,” in other words, is bunk.