Joe Lieberman's Motives Are Becoming Clearer

Article excerpt

When Joe Lieberman said he would probably support the health care legislation u now that the public option and Medicare buy-in are being stripped out u the Democrat-turned-independent should have rightfully faded from the headlines. But the senator from Connecticut made sure that didn't happen by telling CNN that he might run again as a Republican.

That should have surprised no one. A mere five days after he won the 2006 election by promising voters in his very blue state that he would act as a Democrat, Lieberman said, "I'm not ruling out" becoming a Republican. It's hardly news that Lieberman is a trimmer of the first order.

But one must marvel at any speculation on Lieberman's prospects for re-election in 2012. He clearly has no future in Connecticut politics. Democrats despise him. And while Republicans may have enjoyed his zany dance around the Democrats' efforts to appease him, Lieberman isn't quite doing their bidding, either u certainly not if he provides the 60th Senate vote needed to pass something they badly want killed.

No, another six years in the Senate can't possibly be in Lieberman's stars. But moola, quite possibly. Mucho moola. The insurance industry has given $1-million-plus to Lieberman's Senate campaigns. The insurers have been very good to Lieberman, but they may not be done yet. That thought plus his dimming favor back home leads to the following question: Is Lieberman pulling a Billy Tauzin?

A Louisiana Democrat-turned-Republican, then-Rep. Tauzin wrote the Medicare drug benefit that forbade the federal government to bargain on price with the pharmaceutical makers. That legislation could cost more than the Democrats' overhaul of the entire health care system.

As Tauzin wrote the bill to the drugmakers' liking, the Bush administration threatened to fire Medicare's actuary if he revealed his true estimates of the cost. …