You will remember that back in December when Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson started running his ads on his health care re-form bill vote, we asked, “Who is paying for these spots?”
The crawl at the bottom of the screen said, “Paid for by the Nebraska Democratic Party“.
We wondered where the state party was coming up with the scratch for that tab — especially when there are House and Governor races this year, and Nelson isn’t even up for another two years.
Well, we have our answer.
The recent FEC reports show that the Democratic National Committee funneled half and million dollars into the state party on December 28, 2009 to fund the TV spots for The Benator.
And the political intertubes are all a flutter about it.
Here’s the deal:
This is what political parties are supposed to do, to a certain extent, right? Defend their own when they need to get out their message?
Well OK, except that…
Nelson already took one promise back in December from Harry Reid — and it has been almost universally harangued for being a quid pro quo for his vote. Now we discover that there was an additional $500K that went exclusively to EBN?
Guess who else is pissed now? His Dem brethren.
The Massachusetts Senate race was white-hot at that point. You think Martha Coakley and the Dems wouldn’t have liked another $500,000 to spend defending “Teddy Kennedy’s seat”?
The Democrats clearly now blame Nelson for killing health care re-form. With the F-you of the Cornhusker Kickback, they see that as the tipping point of national public outrage against the bill and THE REASON for the the loss in Massachusetts.
And now they find out that Nelson — who the libs hate anyway — took money away from other more important races when he’s not even up this year? They’re pissed kids. As one Dem staffer was heard saying, “The Cornhusker Kickback kicked our butts”. And other Dem staffers think Nelson intentionally sabotaged the bill.
Couple this new development with his “I’m for reconciliation”, “I’m against reconciliation”, “I’m happy with the abortion language”, “I would have renewed my filibuster in conference committee”, and you can get an idea how tired people from BOTH parties have become.
A few notes from some local politicos who we asked to weigh in:
“Was this deal done during his hugging session with Senator Boxer?”
Coulda been then. Or, you’ll remember that back in the first week of November, Senator Chuck Schumer, of Brooklyn, who had never been hunting in his life, spent the weekend at Nelson’s turkey-hunting retreat. Was the deal made there?
Or was it simply when Nelson gave a “list of must-haves” to Schumer and Reid in the health care bargaining session later in December? As another local politico puts it, “One thing you hear over and over about Sen. Nelson is that he’ll support your issue if you can supply him ample political coverage.”
As another put it, “What’s surprising is not that he took the money, but the relatively small price which got him to crawl into bed. Chuck Schumer sneezes $500k…even Landrieu was a pricier date!”
Here’s a final thought from another: Does Nelson think the ads are helping? “Every time someone sees that ad, it makes them madder and madder that Ben did not vote the way his constituents wanted him too. Is this constant reminder just salt in the wound?”
While we’re on it, we’ve finally come across an online version of Nelson’s latest ad touting his vote — the Warren Buffet spot.
Take a look.
Here’s the chuckle-worthy thing about this spot:
Amongst the myriad of hops and flips Nelson has taken, one thing is that he says the President should NOT have gone for Health Care re-form at this time. He should have focused on the economy. Waited.
So Nelson disagrees with Buffett!
Buffett says he would have “made the same vote”? Well, apparently Ben Nelson WOULDN’T have!
He said yesterday that the bill should be scrapped and should be done using an “incremental approach” instead.
(And for now we’ll leave aside Buffett’s whole very Pro-Choice stances.)
So “brave”? Well, if taking the Cornhusker Kickbacks Part I and II for one’s vote, then denying you were ever really going to vote that way makes one “brave”, well, there’s a definition we never found in Webster’s…
Thanks to all the Nebraska politicos who contributed their thoughts on this to Leavenworth Street!