Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Round of "Stupid vs. Mendacious"

Way back in 2004, speaking of Lieberman's insipid attack on a video game, I commented,
... I've never cared for Lieberman. When he speaks about an issue, his comments usually betray a surprising lack of acumen - he doesn't seem to know the facts, nor does he seem to understand the issues. The alternative explanation is that he does know what he is talking about, but rather than advancing a sensible approach based on fact, logic, and law, he instead panders to the "family values" crowd, railing against immorality in a manner that, for somebody sworn to uphold the Constitution, is reckless and irresponsible.
Today we read,
In an interview with The Connecticut Post, he said he had been refining his views on health care for many years and was “very focused on a group post-50, or maybe more like post-55” whose members should be able to buy Medicare if they lacked insurance.

This week, when there actually seemed to be a compromise on health care that did not focus on Mr. Lieberman, he announced that he would block the package if the Democrats included a terrible idea — allowing people between 55 and 65 to buy Medicare.

He presented this as a principled effort to keep down federal debt, but when a Times reporter asked about his 180-degree turn, he said he had forgotten taking his earlier position until the Democratic leadership reminded him about it over the weekend.
Possible explanations:
  1. Lack of acumen: Lieberman isn't capable of understanding the facts or issues, and his flip-flopping betrays a very weak mind.

  2. Stupid: Despite truly believing he has spent years studying and learning about healthcare reform, with a particular focus on those who would most benefit from a Medicare buy-in, Lieberman can't keep track of the most basic of his own thoughts on the subject.

  3. Mendacious: Lieberman 'forgot' his earlier stance the moment a health industry lobbyist contacted him and said "oppose it".

I recognize that there's a fine line between the first two possible explanations. Sadly, none of the explanations disqualify him from service as a U.S. Senator, and the third would arguably be "business as usual".

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