It strikes me that Joe Lieberman’s turnaround with regards to the Medicare Option for healthcare reform exposes what is wrong with this country’s political system. CNN showed an interview with Lieberman only 3 months ago with a local newspaper in Connecticut where he categorically states his support for the same option…in fact he says he firmly supports such a step. Just three months later he claims the spotlight by saying he would join the GOP to vote down the same plan in a Senate vote for healthcare reform. What changed in 3 months? His office makes some vague reference to the changes in the economy. I thought the economy had improved somewhat recently. This shows not only a lack of character and conviction on the part of Lieberman, it shows just how screwed up politics is in this country.
It was my impression that the Democrats had won the last election…hands down. So why is it they can be held ransom by the small GOP minority and one spineless independent on such a vital subject as healthcare reform? Why can’t the Dems propose a plan, call for a debate and then vote on and win the debate with a large majority? Well, it is because of a quirk in the political system called a “filibuster”. Here is Wikipedia’s definition of this term: “A filibuster, or “speaking or talking out a bill”, is a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body whereby one attempts to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a proposal by extending a debate on that proposal.” In other words, the politicians can debate any bill they like forever so that it never comes to a vote. The only way to break this “filibuster” is with a 60-vote majority…and Joe Lieberman is that 60th vote!
So even though you may have voted for your Senator on his support for healthcare reform there is little or no chance of getting anything like his proposal through unless more than 60% of the rest of the country voted the same way. Even with a very large majority in the House and the Senate there is very little chance of getting any true reform. This is not only one of the most archaic forms of government I have seen in the modern, western world, it has put all the power of getting anything done in the hands of one man. Unfortunately, it is man whose opinion blows with the wind and which is more than likely being influenced by all the big insurance companies, many of which are located in is State.