(An Ongoing Series About Your Finest Public Servants At Work) Health care reform has launched Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) back into the spotlight. After four terms, we thought, perhaps Lieberman sprinkles legislative magic from Hartford to the Hart Building. Let’s take a look.
Lieberman is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. One of the most important functions of that committee (and of Congress) is not just to spend money but to keep track of it. In fact, checks and balances are the whole point. But Lieberman held no hearings. None. Possible malfeasance by the Bush administration? Nope. Checking up on the progress of the Department of Homeland Security? Not hardly.
“We like to do legislation,” he told reporters. “We don’t like investigating … just to see who is at fault.”
This must extend to the role of Alberto Gonzalez, too. The former attorney general was supportive of the now-infamous torture memos. Lieberman said this: “As he leaves public service, the Attorney General deserves our appreciation for his work for our nation.”
Then again, Lieberman was also supportive of waterboarding, voting against a ban, saying, “It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological”
He has been repeatedly and publicly foggy on the war on terror, calling Iraq “the central front of the war on terror against the enemies who attacked America on 9/11/01,” and in 2005 stating that “The last two weeks have been critically important and I believe may be seen as a turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.”
Nearly $1 trillion spent on the war later, let’s look at health care reform, which Lieberman worries will increase the national debt.
Lieberman’s nickname (as told by one of our favorite congressional sources) of “Senator Aetna” comes from the $110,000 in campaign donations this year alone that the insurance giant has given him.
The senator, who is up for re-election in 2010, has promised to filibuster health care reform, and hold an investigative Homeland Security hearing on the recent shooting at Fort Hood by a Muslim soldier.
Perhaps he’s scheduling this flurry of activity between his ubiquitous television appearances. Hey, Senator Lieberman—what’s your deal, guy?