Among other things that Joe Lieberman professes to be “incensed” over in the health care debate is the view of “liberal bloggers” who have taken issue with his actions to block health care reform and the conflict that exists in his wife Hadassah Liberman’s position as Global Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Foundation. Those bloggers have urged the Komen Fondation remove her from that position as long as her husband continues to block any kind of health care reform.
Sen. Lieberman has responded, calling those efforts “over the line and offensive.” His full response from the Washington Times:
“My wife is a private citizen in a movement that is looking for a cure for breast cancer and educating women about what they should do to protect themselves from breast cancer. This is an age in which people stop debating you on the merits and go after you or your family for personal reasons. its just deeply offensive to me. I can take anything people want to throw at me, and I can take it with equanimity and trade it and give it back and deal with the merits, but I’m deeply offended by anyone who would draw my wife into it, particularly when they’re not telling the truth.”
I would like to address Liberman’s “response.”
First of all, for Sen. Lieberman to suggest that others aren’t debating him on “the merits” is ludicrous in light of his position that has flip-flopped countless times in the past few years and months. The latest being his excuses for blocking the medicare buy in, a plan he was in favor of only three months ago.
He suggests that he is being attacked for “personal reasons” while people “draw his wife into it.” Once again here, Joe makes the debate all about “him.” No, his wife is being drawn into it because of the conflict her position presents. She is working for and being paid by the Komen Foundation, which raises staggering amounts of funds for breast cancer research from volunteers who give their time and money every year to further the cause of preventing and treating breast cancer. These volunteers naturally assume that their dollars and efforts will go towards education and treatment through the Komen Foundation. They probably don’t make donations and participate in order to pay the salary of the woman whose husband is blocking health care reform from millions of women who have breast cancer and are in need of that treatment.
He states that his wife is “a private citizen in a movement that is looking for a cure for breast cancer and educating women about what they should do to protect themselves from breast cancer.” That’s absolutely fine. The big problem here is that all the education and research in the world won’t do a bit of good if a woman can’t afford the insurance or the treatment needed when they recieve a diagnosis. Sen. Lieberman is blocking any kind of reform that would put that education and research to any use for those with little or no income. Cancer is a business and a costly one at that. Mrs. Lieberman is herself a breast cancer survivor, but she is one of the lucky ones who can well afford the treatment that others cannot.
He claims bloggers aren’t telling the truth. I have to ask: the truth about what? Here’s some truth:
Consider this Komen public policy statement from December 10, 2009:
“Economy Puts State Breast Cancer Screening At Risk”
Breast Cancer Advocates Urge States to Spare Neediest Women from Budget Cuts
Early detection of breast cancer is a key to surviving the disease. When breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year relative survival rate is 98 percent, but declines to 84 percent for regional disease and 23 percent when cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, women with low incomes who are uninsured or underinsured are more likely to skip potentially life-saving cancer screenings, which leads to later diagnoses, larger tumors and lower survival rates.
The KAA noted that more than 190,000 women in the U.S. will have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 40,000 will have died.
“We know the need will continue regardless of the ability of states to meet it. Susan G. Komen for the Cure and our 120 Affiliates in communities across the country will continue to do their part to meet the needs of underserved women; yet, these resources are extremely limited and not available in all areas. We cannot do this alone,” said Brinker. “We have long been concerned that one-third of women in the U.S. today — some 23 million — are already not receiving regular recommended screenings due to lack of access, education or awareness. Unfortunately, cuts to safety-net programs only make the problem worse.”
This from the Foundation that employs Sen. Lieberman’s wife. Yet Lieberman says the current health care reform bill that would help the very women disucssed above is “too costly.” Who is debating on the “merits” here? Certainly not Sen. Lieberman.
Komen Foundation spokesperson Pamela Stevens. “We value her work as global ambassador and have every intention of keeping her in this capacity,” Stevens told me, repeatedly refusing to address the substance of the case against her.
I don’t believe the petition has even been delivered yet, but merely having heard about it, the Komen Foundation has already dismissed it. Isn’t this rather ironic too, considering that Sen. Lieberman dismissed the latest proposed health care reform bill before even knowing what was in it?
Who and what, exactly, are “over the line and offensive?”