Centrist Democrats = Corporate Sellouts

Every time I hear about Joe Lieberman's latest apostasy, I think, Oy vey! There he goes again. More Joementum.

Remind me why we still call this guy a Democrat? Sure, Lieberman
caucuses with Democrats in the Senate--Joe is nothing if not
opportunistic and who wants to be part of a lowly Republican
minority?--but I think he forfeited his right to call himself one when
he almost became John McCain's VP and campaigned stridently against an
Obama presidency. Yet somehow he managed to keep his chairmanship of
the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Gotta love
those Senate Democrats--they always find a way to reward someone for
stabbing them in the back. See Baucus, Max.

Following Lieberman's threat to filibuster a public option, every paper
played up the story of how the "centrists" are now rebelling. Watch
out, the centrists are coming! "Centrists unsure about Reid's public
option," the Washington Post
reported today. Let's get real. These holdouts are not centrist
Democrats; they are corporate Democrats, which should be an oxymoron.
They'll do whatever the healthcare industry wants and use their red
state constituents as an excuse to do so. Only Lieberman is from
Connecticut, one of the bluest states in the country. So what's his

Well, some rather large insurance companies reside in Connecticut and, as Joe Conason points out, Lieberman's wife just so happens to have been a drug industry lobbyist for Hill & Knowlton. Conason reports:

Among Hill & Knowlton's clients when Mrs. Lieberman
signed on with the firm last year was GlaxoSmithKline, the huge
British-based drug company that makes vaccines along with many other
drugs. As I noted in July, Sen. Lieberman introduced a bill in April
2005 (the month after his wife joined Hill & Knowlton) that would
award billions of dollars in new "incentives" to companies like
GlaxoSmithKline to persuade them to make more new vaccines. Under the
legislation, known as Bioshield II, the cost to consumers and
governments would be astronomical, but for Lieberman and his Republican
cosponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.,
the results would be worth every penny. Using the war on terror as
their ideological backdrop, the pharma-friendly senators sought to win
patent extensions on products that have nothing to do with preparations
against terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Sounds like a bit of a conflict of interest, no? Let's take a look at
some of these other so-called "centrists." Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
is in the pocket of Wal-Mart (just like her fellow Arkansan in the
House, Blue Dog leader Mike Ross), Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is tied
up with every major industry in the Bayou State and Ben Nelson...Well,
he's Ben Nelson. What more need I say?

This healthcare debate has provided what they call a clarifying
moment. When it's all over, we'll know exactly which side these
Democrats are on.

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