Sen. Joe Lieberman on Tuesday said that even a close race in Massachusetts would show that the public is “really skeptical” about the health care bill that he voted for.
“It’s pretty clear that if Scott Brown doesn’t win, it’s certainly going to be close, and that in itself is newsworthy,” Lieberman said on a Fox appearance with Neil Cavuto.
Cavuto asked him to explain the message being sent by Bay State voters.
“I think the message is, from the voters of Massachusetts, that people are anxious about the future, and they’re unhappy about what’s happening in Washington,” he said. “They’re anxious about the economy, the continued unemployment. They don’t like all of the partisanship and deal making here in Washington. And they’re really skeptical about this health care bill.”
Though he’s always hard to predict, Lieberman could reemerge as a headache for Democrats if the election in Massachusetts sours him on the health care bill that he voted for only after Harry Reid stripped the public option. The reason is that one of the strategies being floated by Democrats in the event of a Brown victory would be to delay his seating and quickly ram the final health care bill through the House and Senate in the meantime while they still have 60 votes. It would be a highly toxic maneuver among Democrats that would further anger independents, and Lieberman would be in a position to put the kibosh on the whole idea. Especially given his comments today, it isn’t hard to imagine him blocking such a move as being an excessively partisan attempt to thwart the will of voters.
Interestingly, Lieberman didn’t stop at merely noting public skepticism about the health care bill. He went on to cite polling data showing mounting opposition.
“This is going to be a loud message from Massachusetts,” he said. “And whether it’s right or wrong, I was impressed again by one of the national polls that said two things. One, opposition to the health care reform is very large among independents — unregistered with a party voters – and you know, Massachusetts is thought of as a blue state, it generally does vote Democratic, but almost 50 percent of voters there are unaffiliated, so they’ve got the liberty to move back and forth. And they’re moving obviously now.”
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