From Hardball, Chris Matthews goes into full bullying mode with Darcy Burner when she quotes Lieberman saying he wasn't pressured by the White House to give in on the Medicare buy-in or the public option on the health care bill. Matthews is right about one thing here. Lieberman is out for Lieberman. What type of pressure could have been put on him that would have done any good, who knows.
That said, I think Burner may also very well be right and and this may be one time you can actually believe something Lieberman said. The administration has been completely hands off with the Congress and has not pushed for the public option or the Medicare buy-in in public. There's no reason to think it's been any different in private and that Lieberman didn't help get them exactly what they wanted.
MATTHEWS: What are you, to the left of Barbara Boxer?
MATTHEWS: I mean, seriously. I don’t -- I mean, I think she’s a great liberal. I think she’s an amazingly gutsy person who’s been able to stake out a position on the left in politics, a progressive position, if you will and you want to use the new word. But she’s never been gutless ever. You disagree with her position now?
BURNER: I think that they could have done more and should do more. I mean the House bill...
MATTHEWS: Where are these extra votes they’re going to get, besides the ones they got?
BURNER: How are they going to get 218 votes in the House for the Senate bill? They don’t have them.
MATTHEWS: I know. I know that. Do you want them to get the 218?
BURNER: I want them to find a reasonable way...
MATTHEWS: You want the Senate to vote again on something that they didn’t want this time?
BURNER: I want the senators to put the needs of the American people above...
MATTHEWS: Well, you want them to change...
BURNER: ... their own priorities...
MATTHEWS: ... who they are.
BURNER: No, I want them to put the needs of the American people above...
MATTHEWS: In other words, we could get a more liberal bill out of the Senate than we got -- we’re getting?
MATTHEWS: How do you know that?
BURNER: Because, frankly, Joe Lieberman said today that the president never pressured him around some of these key issues, never pressured him around the Medicare buy-in, never...
MATTHEWS: So he’s now your -- he’s your witness.
BURNER: ... pressured him on the public option...
MATTHEWS: Joe Lieberman’s your witness?
BURNER: Joe Lieberman...
MATTHEWS: Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?
MATTHEWS: You come here as a progressive and you tell me that your witness is Joe Lieberman?
BURNER: Joe Lieberman is saying that he was never...
MATTHEWS: No, I don’t care what he’s saying. You believe him on this whole issue?
BURNER: Well, OK. I will grant...
MATTHEWS: He’s your one you trust?
BURNER: I will grant that his credibility is highly questionable...
MATTHEWS: Well, why are you using him then?
BURNER: ... on this.
MATTHEWS: Why are you citing him?
BURNER: But he -- but he is the person...
MATTHEWS: Excuse me. I have a problem. This is where the argument’s gotten, where liberals are quoting Joe Lieberman about what the Senate’s capable of doing. Joe Lieberman represents Hartford, Connecticut. He still does. He always will. He won’t be a senator for any other state, will he? So he’s still going to be there, looking after the insurance industry up there. He’s still looking out for Joe Lieberman, right? And you’re saying you’ve got a new Joe Lieberman you’ve just pulled out of your pocket now. I’ve got a progressive Joe Lieberman in here...
BURNER: I’m not suggesting...
MATTHEWS: ... who says that he hasn’t...
BURNER: ... he’s a progressive.
MATTHEWS: ... been pressured enough by President Obama and he’d like to be whipped some more? What are you -- you’re saying he wants to be pressured more.
BURNER: I am not suggesting Joe Lieberman is progressive. I am only...
MATTHEWS: I’m sorry. But you’re saying he’s trustworthy.
BURNER: I am saying that he said today that the president never talked to him about a public option, never talked to him about the Medicare buy-in.
MATTHEWS: OK. Maybe because he knows who he’s talking to.
BURNER: It’s possible, but it’s also the case that we haven’t had...
MATTHEWS: Look, I’m -- all opinions are valid here. But I just don’t think Joe Lieberman is a credible source of information about the chances of progressive legislation in this country. What do you think?
BURNER: I am all for taking down Joe Lieberman. He deserves everything he’s going to get for throwing the American people under the bus. But there is more that the Senate could, and frankly, is going to have to do. The Senate is going to have to play ball with the House. And the House bill does address things like repealing the anti-trust exemption for the insurance companies so that they actually have to compete each other.
BURNER: It has a national exchange, rather than state exchanges, so that people are going to have much -- a much broader...
MATTHEWS: So you want the House...
BURNER: ... range of choices. I do want...
MATTHEWS: ... it sounds good for me, too. I mean, it sounds good.
BURNER: If what we end up with is closer to the Senate bill than the House bill, I think it is a good bill. The problem is...
MATTHEWS: You mean closer to the House bill.
BURNER: Close to the House bill than the Senate bill, yes. I’m sorry.
MATTHEWS: Well, that’s all right.
BURNER: What’s happening right now, though, is that...
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you because we have to cut to the chase here. Do you think it’s better if they get a bill if they can push it more to the House side?
Transcript via Lexis Nexis.
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