A Misguided Boycott

Connecticut businesses should not suffer for Lieberman’s mistakes

Senator Joe Lieberman is a far cry from the model politician. In addition to his past political eccentricities, his recent threat to help Republicans block key parts of the federal health-care legislation has angered more than a few people, including the notorious left-wing documentary director Michael Moore. Never one to sit on the sidelines when there’s a statement to be made, Moore has called upon his loyal fans to boycott all Connecticut businesses and institutions until Senator Lieberman comes to his (theoretical) senses. Moore’s plan is not only ill-conceived but also harmful, and harmful to the wrong people. Connecticut business owners have enough troubles in light of this recession, and they don’t need a political stunt to kick them when they’re down.

In addition, this move assumes that Liebermann is one to act rationally, or to care about his popularity in the first place. This may not be the case, since Lieberman is even now opposing reforms that he once avidly purported. In the 2000 presidential race, the then-vice presidential candidate supported the bi-partisan expansion of Medicare. He ran on the same platform again in his 2004 presidential bid. His past health-care reform proposals have ostracized both sides of the aisle, effectively killing his popularity. These proposals included such radical ideas as automatic health-coverage for all American children up to the age of 25 in a program called MediKids, lower prescription prices for seniors, importing prescription drugs from Canada, and allowing patients the right to sue HMOs. These recent threats to shoot down the health care proposals come notwithstanding the fact that Liebermann, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, to date has received over $930,000 in campaign contributions from professionals in the health care and medical sectors.

Thus, Lieberman has proved himself unreliable at best and an easily bought-out political tool at worst. And Moore’s fan base, while undoubtedly loyal, may not be loyal enough to dent the Senator’s resolve. A better solution, perhaps, would be for the people of Connecticut to boycott Senator Liebermann in the next election.