"...Look, if you think it's fun having both sides on an issue mad at you when you're trying to do something in good faith, just think, it's like going home and getting bit by the family dog. Who enjoys that?”- Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson
He's kidding, right?
Make no mistake about it kids: Ben Nelson enjoyed every minute of being in the spotlight. Making trips to the White House; being cornered by the New York Times; being a talking head on Sunday morning; having all eyes on HIM for the past several weeks.
It was a blast.
He ate it up.
Bit by the family dog? For him it was like Fred Flintstone being jumped on by Dino at the end of the day. "No, no! Get down boy! Ha ha! Get down! Ha ha! Whooooooo!"
Now, it is possible that Nelson didn't quite anticipate the sh*tstorm that came his way after it all came down.
But he had an idea. What else could he expect?
How many weeks went by with him talking about abortion language saying, "It's gotta have Stupak. It's gotta have Stupak. It's gotta have Stupak."
And then, when it doesn't, he says, "Uh...OK."
He knew where he was going with this. And he wasn't going to disappoint the Democrats in the end. Nellie says:
They're ignoring the fact that not only were there good reasons to do what I did, but that there would have been a backlash the other way.And he claims that all the Republican backlash is "orchestrated"?
Sure. By the Nelson Symphony, Conducted by the Benator himself.
Not only does Nelson erase all the lines that he had drawn in the sand, but he embarrases Nebraska as well.
"The Cornhusker Kickback"? Already has 3,000 Google hits.
And then he tries to blame Governor Heineman??? REALLY?
Wow, that's some kind of nerve to even make that suggestion.
(Especially when The Politico says Nelson had been planning this with Reid for weeks.)
Let's make sure we get Governor Dave's response:
"Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal.***
Under no circumstances did I have anything to do with Senator (Ben) Nelson's compromise.
I, along with governors all across America, have expressed concern about the unfunded Medicaid mandate. I have said all along that this bill is bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America. Additionally, I criticized Senator (Harry) Reid when he got a special deal for Nevada that didn't apply uniformly to all states.
Senator Nelson negotiated this special deal, rather than a fair deal for both Nebraska and America.
The responsibility for this special deal lies solely on the shoulders of Senator Ben Nelson."
This is by no means the final (political) word on all of this. But where does it lead?
For one, Nelson keeps his place in the party. His place still has to be "pain in the ass" for President Obama and Reid, but he still came through right?
So if there's ever a situation where he needs to be bailed out -- well, look no further than the Nebraska perks in the bill itself -- the Dems will come through for Nelson.
But what of 2012?
Bob Kerrey will tell you (like he no doubt told Nelson) that you can vote with the Democrat President and still get elected.
But this isn't 1994 -- the political environment is just a bit different.
And if it's Governor Dave in 2012 -- that ain't Jan Stoney.
And while 2012 is a loooooooong way off, Joe Jordan (moonlighting on KMTV!) makes a good point that most of the provisions of the bill won't even come in until 2014. If you hate the bill now, there will be no reason to like it in a few more years.
Will things mellow out by then? Maybe.
Or maybe they'll just heat up.
And one final note.
Back in 2006, when Nelson was blowing Pete Ricketts out of the water, many Nebraska Republicans (obviously) went along with Nelson.
"Why, he's an independent conservative Democrat!" they would tell ya.
Well guess what, it's easy to be a moderate Democrat when you have a Republican President.
But when there's a liberal Democrat in the White House, you can't run and hide from the party's agenda anymore.
Well guess what folks...let us say it again...BEN NELSON IS A DEMOCRAT.
And just like the scorpion who stung the frog after it gave him a ride across the river, voting with the Democrats is in Ben Nelson's nature.
Nelson has fooled you once (in your face, that you can't miss, see it? see it?) Nebraska. Shame on him.
Fool you twice?...