Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Nelson Fighting Like Itís 2012
CQ Politics ^ | Feb. 27, 2010 | David M. Drucker

Posted on 02/27/2010 12:16:20 PM PST by mdittmar

As a dangerous election cycle unfolds for Democrats, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has been proactive — hitting statewide television to defend his controversial health care vote and on Wednesday becoming the only member of his party to oppose Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ’s (D-Nev.) jobs package.

These moves are not surprising for a moderate Democrat who crosses the aisle to vote with the GOP and hopes to win re-election in an overwhelmingly Republican state; but Nelson isn’t up for re-election until 2012.

Some Nelson supporters dismissed the idea that the Senator was already campaigning for a third term, arguing that the Democrat’s actions were consistent with his nearly nine years on Capitol Hill. But Nelson, when asked directly, declined to either apologize or characterize his actions otherwise.

“I’m always running for support from Nebraskans. I used to get kidded when I was governor: ‘When are you going to stop running?’ I’d say, ‘what do you mean? If you never stop you never have to start,’” Nelson said in a statement issued to CQ-Roll Call.

Siding with the majority of Republicans who voted against Reid’s $15 billion jobs bill is not uncharacteristic of the fiscally conservative Nebraskan. Running statewide television ads to explain his much-hyped support for President Barack Obama ’s health care agenda — within days of the Senate’s Christmas Eve vote — also reflects Nelson’s typical doggedness.

But political preservation is clearly a factor, and winning a third term in 2012 — with a Democratic president atop the ticket — creates its own immediate difficulties. Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, whom Nelson succeeded in 2001, said Nelson doesn’t have a choice but to begin campaigning for 2012 now, particularly given the potency of the health care issue.

“He’s got to carry this argument out there because it’s going to be there in 2012. It’s going to be as hotly contested in 2012 as it is today,” Kerrey said Wednesday during a telephone interview. “Human beings are the same everywhere in one way: Once they make up their minds, it’s very difficult to change them. It may already be too late for Ben. I don’t think it is.”

Although Nelson acknowledges that he is in campaign mode, his spokesman, Jake Thompson, explained that this early start to 2012 wasn’t entirely of his boss’ choosing.

Thompson said interest groups on the left and the right brought campaign-style tactics to the state last summer when health care negotiations were heating up, and that Nelson felt obliged to respond. According to one Democratic consultant based in Nebraska, advocacy groups spent $7.5 million on issue advertising in the state last year.

“It’s been a campaign environment,” Thompson said. “Nebraska may not be on the national list as a 2010 race, but it’s been like a national campaign in Nebraska trying to persuade voters to think one way or another about Sen. Nelson.”

Thompson added that Nelson and the Nebraska Democratic Party “wanted to make sure people heard his side of the story.”

Nelson responded with ads — which debuted in prime time across the state during a heavily viewed Nebraska Cornhusker football game — explaining his position on health care, which he supported after extracting several concessions from Reid.

Among those concessions was a $100 million deal to cover Nebraska’s portion of a proposed Medicaid expansion. Nelson argued it was meant as a placeholder to ensure that all states were reimbursed for the Medicaid expansion, but the provision became known across the country as the “Cornhusker Kickback” and helped sink the Senator’s political standing at home.

Meanwhile, Nelson said this week that his opposition to Reid’s jobs package was not a protest against the Majority Leader’s decision to scrap a larger bipartisan measure, but instead a result of his belief that the economic stimulus bill passed in early 2008 had not yet been implemented fully.

“It’s premature to be out there trying to get other jobs bills into place when this hasn’t been allowed to work,” Nelson said. “I don’t know how I tell people back home where we’ve got less than 5 percent unemployment that we ought to spend another $15 billion after $787 billion” in stimulus.

Registered Republicans are a plurality of Nebraska’s electorate, and it is impossible for a Democrat to win statewide without carrying about two-thirds of independent voters and half of GOP voters. Nelson has done that four times, including twice as governor, and hasn’t lost a statewide race since his 1996 defeat to former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R).

But the unpopularity of Nelson’s health care vote, combined with disenchantment with the stimulus bill, provides political context for his opposition to Reid’s $15 billion jobs bill. As the Nebraska-based Democratic consultant explained, the word “stimulus” is “a very bad word” in the state right now.

“Every member of the Congressional delegation except Ben has been bashing the stimulus, and people in Nebraska are tired of this spending spree,” the consultant said, noting that Nelson is the only Democrat to represent Nebraska on Capitol Hill. “If he’s hearing from voters and constituents in Nebraska that they don’t like the first one, that’s where he’s coming from.”

Though Nelson informed leadership of his decision to vote against the jobs bill in advance, some Democrats said his reasoning was flawed given his attempts to get special deals for his own state in the health care bill.

“The rest of the country has supported Nebraska on things like Medicare and Medicaid payments, but Nebraska doesn’t have a responsibility to help the rest of the country’s economic problems?” one Senate Democratic aide asked. “That’s an interesting position to take.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Nebraska
KEYWORDS: 111th; bennelson; ne2012

1 posted on 02/27/2010 12:16:20 PM PST by mdittmar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

Ben knows he’s toast here. This spending flurry is probably just a way to backchannel some of his war chest through his friends and back to him.


2 posted on 02/27/2010 12:17:58 PM PST by GunningForTheBuddha ("History teaches us that no one learns from history.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

registered Democrats are scum...one choose to be scum or not.


3 posted on 02/27/2010 12:19:29 PM PST by rrrod
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

Healthy competition between the 50 States is a good thing.

However, perhaps the Democrats in Congress would like to see another War between the States. Then the Federal Government would appear to be a benign arbiter.

God help us.


4 posted on 02/27/2010 12:20:16 PM PST by sodpoodle (Despair - Man's surrender. Laughter - God's redemption.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

May Ben Nelson update his resume instead.


5 posted on 02/27/2010 12:21:40 PM PST by Howie66 (The one redeeming thing about liberals: their tendency to kill their own.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar
"“I’m always running for support from Nebraskans. I used to get kidded when I was governor: ‘When are you going to stop running?’ I’d say, ‘what do you mean? If you never stop you never have to start,’” Nelson"

HEEEYuck!!!! good one Nelson- Buh-BYE!

6 posted on 02/27/2010 12:21:47 PM PST by Mr. K (This administration IS WEARING OUT MY CAPSLOCK KEY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sodpoodle

They are not thinking the end game would be Civil War. They are betting on their belief that the masses of this country will sit back and take their abuses of freedom. They are steadfastly attaching themselves to the financial, industrial and medical engines of this country that have so much impact on every citizen’s life. Thus far, they have not been countered. If we do not stop them in November, we are lost forever.


7 posted on 02/27/2010 12:25:06 PM PST by Gaffer ("Profling: The only profile I need is a chalk outline around their dead ass!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

Too late Ben.


8 posted on 02/27/2010 12:25:48 PM PST by FerociousRabbit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rrrod

I have proudly been a registered Democrat for 34 years. When Jesse Helms was in office, we were called “Jessecrats”. We invented “Operation Chaos” by voting for the biggest dufus in the Democrat primary and then voting for the Republican in the general election. We are the reason that the polling numbers in NC are almost always wrong. And I voted for Hillary in the last primary and will probably do so in 2012. But, I hope to vote for Sarah in the general election.

Politics is a team sport and requires a lot of strategery.


9 posted on 02/27/2010 12:26:45 PM PST by Andy from Chapel Hill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

My bet is he’s burning up the campaign funds now, before the Nebraska D party gets some fresh face to run against him in 2012.


10 posted on 02/27/2010 12:28:35 PM PST by bigbob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

Defending the indefensible... a classic strategy of the socialist Demonrat party.


11 posted on 02/27/2010 12:34:24 PM PST by Common Sense 101
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

His commercials are pathetic and they only serve to harden the memory of his sell out actions and words in the minds of the Nebraskans.


12 posted on 02/27/2010 12:39:53 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

His commercials are pathetic and they only serve to harden the memory of his sell out actions and words in the minds of the Nebraskans.


13 posted on 02/27/2010 12:39:53 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gaffer

We have long considered our government intrusions as promoting safety and beneficial. i.e. Farm subsidies, pharmaceutical testing, food production regulations, utilities, highway safety, OSHA work safety, water/sewage treatment, building products (asbestos), airline pilot testing; etc., etc.,

And that is fine, as long as the motive is the general welfare. Sadly, we have realized - an authoritarian regime can turn that oversight against us. Then we have tyranny, for which we are totally unprepared.


14 posted on 02/27/2010 1:26:47 PM PST by sodpoodle (Despair - Man's surrender. Laughter - God's redemption.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: RJS1950

This could be a good commercial:

“Hi I am Ben Nelson. Please do not confuse me with that other idiot Democrat Bill Nelson in FL. He is totally screwed too because Obama is going to kill NASA.”

“Please please vote for me because I do not want to get a real job because Obama has destroyed the economy and maybe the country. I really really need this cushy gig. Thank you (suckers).”


15 posted on 02/27/2010 1:31:13 PM PST by Frantzie (TV - sending Americans towards Islamic serfdom - Cancel TV service NOW)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: FerociousRabbit

Let him or the DSCC throw away its money. He is toast and this ridiculous psychodrana that has unfolded for 4 months can be laid directly at Nelson’s doorstep. Had he been true to his convictions, and his promises to his constituency, Nelson would have gotten on a plane on December 18 after casting his vote for the defense appropriations bill.

The United States could have been spared the entirety of this living nightmare (that still continues) if Nelson had done the right thing. And he singularly ruined everyone’s Christmas - for which I will never forgive him.

Kudos to the lady in the pizza parlor in Lincoln who yelled to everyone to “get him the hell out of here.” My only regret is that I wasn’t there to support her efforts.


16 posted on 02/27/2010 2:18:26 PM PST by mwl8787
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

” And tonight I will be parsing like it’s 1999”


17 posted on 02/27/2010 2:19:15 PM PST by stephenjohnbanker (Support our troops, and vote out the RINOS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mdittmar

Given the chance this whore will vote for Obozocare again.


18 posted on 02/27/2010 7:45:00 PM PST by Mike Darancette (You know Obama is in trouble when the MSM mentions that he is half white.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson