This is how I understand what Lieberman is saying. He will vote for cloture “to get on the bill,” i.e. bring it to the floor and debate on it. He will vote against cloture “to get off the bill,” i.e. vote the thing out of the Senate, if it includes the public option. A couple of things about this: 1)McConnell is going to make the case that it’s the first vote that matters because it’s going to be very hard to change the bill once it gets to the floor. Democrats can filibuster amendments, and it will then be the burden of the Republican minority to try to muster 60 votes. McConnell will argue that the way to make fundamental changes to the bill is to block it from coming up at all, and make the Democrats come up with a different and more modest bill. 2) Lieberman shows how any Democratic defection is now “game over” for Harry Reid. He can’t lose any Democrat (assuming he doesn’t win Snowe back). This will put all the swing-vote Democrats in a very awkward position because they all are decisive votes and Obamacare can be pinned on them.
Anyway, Lieberman’s move is very bad news for Reid. Maybe Democrats can try to purge Lieberman in a hateful campaign of vituperation. Oh yeah — they already tried that.