Ben and Warren in the backroom

Yesterday President Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” in Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s vote against the Democrat finance bill.

Nelson voted with every other Republican, against every other Democrat to not let the finance bill go forward.

Nebraska’s other senator, Republican Mike Johanns also voted against cloture on the bill. So the local fishwrap asks, “How are Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns different then?”

Here’s how:

As has been told in the news throughout the country, the richest man in America, Omaha’s Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, was pressing for an exemption on derivatives in the bill. (You can read the details on how and why using your Google Machine.)

Ben Nelson supported that language in the bill from his Agriculture Committee.
And Mike Johanns voiced his support for that language as well.

Ben Nelson voted his version, with the Berkshire language, out of the Ag Committee.
But Mike Johanns knew that the rest of the bill stunk, and voted AGAINST the bill out of committee.

In the end however, the White House stopped the Berkshire language from making it into the final bill.  So Nelson voted against that final version of the bill.

And here’s the rub: Had the Berkshire language made it in, BEN NELSON WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR THE FINAL BILL. Pure and simple.

Sure, now he says the bill is “bad for Main Street”, or that he needed to read it some more, or some such. But if Buffett’s language had survived, Nelson would have voted for it.

Mike Johanns voted against the bill in committee, on the floor, and would not have supported the final bill, even with Warren’s Berkshire language.

And there’s your difference.

***

And what about that relationship between Nellie and Warren?

Here’s an interesting one for you. (And this is ALL second hand, completely hearsay, and if you want to dismiss it out of hand, that’s your right and option.  But we’ve heard this from a few different sources.)

Back in December 2009, Ben Nelson was hemming and hawing about how he would vote on health care reform and what would make him vote or not vote for it. You will remember that Nelson was the deciding vote.

So, we’ve heard, the White House called Nelson and asked him who would be most helpful in getting his “No” vote to “Yes” on Health Care reform.

 Nelson told them, The Omaha Oracle. Warren Buffett.

So Buffett calls Nelson, at the request of the White House. And Nelson then goes to the White House to cut the deal.

You’ll recall that Buffett later called Nelson’s vote, “courageous“.

But what could Buffett have said to convince Nelson to make the deal?
Hmm.

***

So here are a few interesting caveats to the whole realtionship.

You could call Warren Buffett a pretty dependable Democrat supporter. That’s the way he has decided to roll.

But his chief lieutenant — and many assume his successor at Berkshire — is David Sokol, a big Republican backer.

So what if Nelson decides to run in 2012? Does Sokol support Nelson’s opponent?

That’s tricky. In the past, Sokol was a backer of Jon Bruning — against the undecided Chuck Hagel.

But is he as close to Dave Heineman? Or does he consider himself more buds with Ben Nelson, even though the later is a Dem?

Not sure.  In any case, consider this: The later part of Ben Nelson’s political career has been about trying mitigate his enemies. Remember that he approved Mike Johanns for Ag Secretary. That was a good way to get rid of a possible Senate race opponent.

By working the Buffett/Sokol angle, does Nelson now have the political chit in his pocket to have the Berkshire Boys call off the dogs in 2012?

We shall see.

In any case, just don’t think that Ben Nelson was against this bill because it was bad for “Main Street”. This is more about what’s good for Farnam Street, and thus, good for Ben Nelson.

85 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am a democrat, and the only thing that offends me on this is when Brian T. Osborn, claims he represents the maj of the democrats in this state. He does not and never will!

  2. One Out In The Third says:

    Sweeper…

    The last sentence said it all. Ben's vote didn't matter…it would have failed without his vote. He's just trying to ditch the duck that's following him. You know…the duck with the bad leg.

    BTO…Who are some of the real Nebraska Democrats besides you? I look around the Tri-Cities and see a lot of RINO's…I also see a lot of useless Dems. Our useless Mayor and her predecessor fit into one or the other category. I am glad to see the present one go and I hope GI is smart enough not to re-empower the other one.

  3. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I'll go against my new rule this time and address the ravings of a lunatic anonymouse.

    A1:00pm – I have NEVER claimed to represent the "maj" of the democrats in this state. I do speak for "those of us" that think like me, people who stand up for those principles defined in our party's constitution and bylaws. It would nauseate me to speak for those that support the continued rule by oligarchy that Nelson has brought to the Nebraska Democratic Party.

    I believe it is time for the rank and file, those people from the "Main Street" that Nelson invokes to show him what they really think. And I don't believe it is going to anything he expected.

  4. Brian T. Osborn says:

    1/3rd – Evidently we are few and far between, since we're not perceived by Ben's shadows to be in the "maj."

  5. Scott Bluff says:

    BTO, It looks like your stalker could be the Janer herself. You know, you're not in the "maj" in the "neb" and no one seems to have shown more love for the Benator than her. Well except over on the Kyle and Lisa show on NNN. Ben is a sacred cow over there.

  6. GeosUser says:

    Sokol will not be backing the Benator in 2012, if the Benator tried to run again…period. The Benator has been of very little value to Sokol's privately held MidAmerican Energy Holdings in both matters of proposed Dem legislation and in the Federal regulatory arena. You can be sure that fact isn't lost upon Bruning, Heineman, et.al. Warren's money is in Berkshire, David's money is in MidAmerican…not at all the same thing and not always aligned in the same political direction.

  7. Right Wing Professor says:

    The New York Times is now reporting that the Benator owns $6m worth of Berkshire stock.

    Sometimes you don't have to look very hard to find explanations.

  8. Bud says:

    If Senator Nelson was wrong to vote against this bill for what ever reason. (I agree he was wrong) Were the 41 GOP people wrong? I think they were wrong too. So shall we have reform on this or not? If the GOP can come up with a better plan I am all for it. Where is their plan?

  9. Cal Hobbs says:

    EBN just voted NO on the latest motion to do something or another. I saw on Cspan he got an earful from Sen Dodd before the vote… would love to know what was said.

    oh, and R's have their own bill Bud and BTO. your info is stale.

  10. Jamie says:

    Dozens of US Reps presented their own solutions… not that there was a healthcare crisis. That's what Democrats do. They collaborate with special interests to see how both can profit. Then they set the agenda using their PR tactics so they get the public along with their crap. Then the Dems and entities like AARP and SEUI make a ton of money by stuffing the bill with earmarks and do it all over again.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sokol has financially supported a more R's than D's, but you can view his donations on the opensecrets.org and the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board websites and notice a number of prominent Dems who he, also, has sent checks to. They include Barrack Obama, NY Sen. Chuck Schumer, SD Sen. Tim Johnson, Rep. John Dingell, Bill Bradley, Bob Kerrey, Iowa Governor/Oaf Chet Culver, and former IA Governor Tom Vilsack. Joe Jordan's Nebraska Watchdog blog recently noted Sokol's donations to Jim Suttle's mayoral campaign.

    To the point of this thread though, it appears Sokol gave E.B.N. $10,500 on 8/23/06, among other smaller donations he made to E.B.N. over the years. Donations by Sokol to Governor Dave could not be found on the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure website.

  12. Anonymous says:

    BTO- be grateful. Without Nelson your glorious socialization of health care would still be a pipe dream.

    I'm sure you agree with the Benator more than you will with Senator Heineman/Bruning/Osborn in 2013.

  13. Monkey Buckets says:

    Senator Nelson did the right thing by ultimately NOT voting to continue debate on this bill, but he did it for all the wrong reasons!!!! This bill is effed up in all the wrong places and does nothing to 'reform' the financial system. Similar to the healthcare bill. I'm sensing a trend with this administration.

    And uh, BTO, get up to speed on your news. R's HAVE offered an alternative – their bill actually including language addressing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Oh, and it doesn't include a $50 billion safety net for Wall Street.

  14. Brian T. Osborn says:

    OK. If all these Republicans have such wonderful ideas, why do they fear debating them on the floor of the Senate? I guess holding their breath until they turn blue makes soooooooo much more sense. Really, were they elected to debate the merits of their ideas or just sit there like bumps on a log, pouting about not getting their way?

  15. Nick Naylor says:

    Brian T. Osborn,

    That was the most ignorant political comment I have heard in awhile. Repubs are not afraid to 'debate' the issues. They are afraid what your fellow democrats will ram down the throats of the American people with only needing 50 votes. I thought someone as politically astute as yourself would surely understand the political process and the purpose of a filibuster. Perhaps you and I are not operating on the same level of political respect and intelligence that I had hoped for

    – Nick

  16. Nathan says:

    Monkey Buckets,
    That 50 billion dollar safety net comes from fees paid by the banks for the banks, and its purpose is to be used so the fed doesn't have to bail out banks again. This isn't coming from the fed, Im not sure if your aware of that or not.

    Macdaddy,
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come out against this bill, obviously because wall street never makes mistakes. Using your own infant like logic here, doesn't that give you pause?

    My own opinion, if federally backed institutions are going to basically be gambling with peoples money then they should be regulated or separated completely from FDIC insured banks.

  17. Bud says:

    Yep the GOP has a bill. It says a lot. But in the long run it says nothing. It says that Wall Street Should take care of Wall Street. That they know best. After seeing the hearing with Goldman Sachs yesterday. We need a lot more regulation on Wall Street. So let's have cloture. Take the GOP bill and the Democrats bill and mold them together to get a good bill. You can't have a law with out a bill. You can't have a bill with out debate. Who is blocking debate. ? When the health care bill was being written all I hear from the GOP was that this is not out in the open. So now the Democrats want to put this out in the open. So why is the GOP against that? You GOP people sure are confusing.

  18. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Nicky – Yeah, I know, I'm one of those "weirdos" that believe 50%+1 is a MAJORITY, and that a majority should decide the issues. If it were up to me I would abolish the entire concept of that artificial 60% threshold that you find so endearing.

    And, YES, Republicans ARE afraid to debate. And, NO, you and I are NOT operating on the same level of political respect and intelligence when you make such asinine assertions.

  19. Shoe Salesman says:

    Anyone see Mike Johanns smackdown of Fahleson in the World Herald today?

    Johanns said "Nelson is right" and Fahleson is "wrong and unfair" and that he "should know the policy before he comments."

    A public rebuke – also basically rebukes the premise of this diary, no, sweeper?

    Who woulda thunk Johanns would defend a no good democrat???

  20. Chimney Sweeper says:

    So, Brian, I take it you would criticize Pres Obama for his conduct as a Senator when he participated in blocking up or down votes on Pres Bush's judicial nominations, then?

    In the interest of consistency, I assume you'd agree that if it's wrong for Republicans to filibuster now, then it was equally wrong for Democrats to have done it then, correct?

    Or is your indignation reserved for those occasions when it's your ox being gored?

  21. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,
    I could smell you coming from a mile away.

    To answer your question: Abso-freaking-lutely not.

    The point of the column is that Nelson is voting for a piece of crap bill, mainly b/c other powers want him to.

    Note that while Mike Johanns supports the Berkshire language – he still voted against the bill. (We stated that a number of times, but maybe you missed it.)

    We never said the Berkshire language was bad — Fahleson may have, but he can defend himself if he wishes to. Johanns is simply saying the Berkshire language is good and is good policy. And that's fine. But the rest of the bill stinks, and that's why MJ voted against it out of committee,

    Nelson voted for it. Why? Hmm…

    It's my understanding that Fahleson tried explaining that to the OWH, but it didn't fit their idea for the juicy story. Kudos to him for taking one for the team.

    And thanks for reading!
    SS

  22. Shoe Salesman says:

    Sweeper – the entire premise is that "Ben and Warren in the back room"

    Well, turns out Mike was there too – and that kinda deflates the insinuation that something nefarious was happening. I guess I don't understand your point on the votes – Mike got what he wanted and voted against it – a "i was for it before I voted against it" episode no?

    Turns out the deal wasnt a backroom deal at all – as you charge. So yeah I think it abso-freaking-lutely does blow your post out of the water. but its your blog.

    As for Nelson's explanation for voting yes – I think it's pretty clear. He got the Ag committe and the CFTC to agree to language that exempts existing contracts (and not just for Berkshire by the way – the language is broader than that – in fact you can't write legislation that impacts ONE company – not constitutional)and wanted to move the dirivatives piece forward. So he did.

    As for fahleson – why didn't Johanns just no comment his way through that?? Seems like he went the extra mile to point out Fahleson's ignorance of the process, the policy and the politics. Any polished politician knows how to avoid sticky questions like that – Johanns seemed to relish the opportunity to embarass that guy.

    Nice spin though on behalf of your exalted leader. But I think I'll side with Johanns on this one. Fahleson is talking out of both ends of the crack in his butt.

    As for reading – glad to – someone has to call bull on you sometimes. btw, MacDaddy sleeping in or something – no fistbump yet?

  23. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,

    Nice blinders.

    Nelson pushes the derivatives deal in committee. And when he doesn't get his way on that item, he dumps the whole thing.

    Note again: MJ never voted for the legislation. He'd have to vote for something to be "in".

    Johanns is the elected official and has to put on the good face. That's fine. If I was in his cleats I wouldn't want to piss off Buffett or Sokol either.

    As far as Fahleson goes — his job is to call out the other side and fall under the bus when required. He did exactly what he's supposed to do.

    And thanks for reading!
    (smirk)

  24. Nathan says:

    I also have no problem with existing contracts being grandfathered in. Ex post facto law anyone? (My latin is rusty but I think that is correct)

  25. macdaddy says:

    Nathan,

    FYI, the Chamber of Commerce represents businesses other than just Wall Street ones. Wall Street is for this because it makes "too big to fail" the law of the land and allows the government to pick winners and losers. How hard do you think it is for the big firms to make sure they are in the "Winners" column? All it takes is some campaign contributions to a very friendly Democrat or two. The $50 billion may come from Wall Street firms, but the quid pro quo is that the government gives an implicit guarantee that investors will be made whole if a firm fails. In other words, rather than keeping the rules same for everyone in order for investors to make informed choices, it is still up in the air and investors will shrewdly assume that risky investments aren't so risky because the government is going to step in. They get a big return with no downside. Goldman Sachs knows they can't fail. Does that make them more or less likely to make risky investments? More. And that is what the Democrats are trying to make happen with this bill.

    And you guys are just knee-jerking us around because you refuse to pay attention to it more than: if Republicans don't like it, then it has to be good.

  26. Shoe Salesman says:

    Sweeper – Johanns pulled an "I was for it before I voted against it" move when he OFFERED an amendment seeking the contract change and then voted against it. Talk about blinders – Johanns has stated publicly he supported the language, was part of the discussions, and accepted the result. His "no" vote was hardly a rejection of the language – but nice try.

    The ag committee action is seperate from what transpired on the floor. Nelson issued a statement outlining his reasons – not enough time/hadn't seen the bill etc – an argument you've made previously in rants against progress.

    Now, you make pretty darned direct statements about how Nelson would have voted in hypothetical situations – what do you base those assertions on anyway?

    Here's why Nelson and Johanns are different. Like every other cookie cutter republican in Washington Johanns is instructed to vote NO on everything. Even reforming Wall Street abuses. Even voting aganst his own amendments. And he's good at following orders. Which is what makes his ambush of Fahleson so damned interesting. Loyal soldier goes awol. I know you hate hate hate that this happened since it fouls up your story line.

    As for Nelson – he voted against the motion to proceed for process, not policy reasons. Ultimately he's probably going to be there in supporting wall street reform – as does alonst 3/4th of the country.

    Remember your argument on health care? Nelson isn't listening. Guess who's not listening now – Johanns and you.

  27. Solomon Kleinsmith says:

    "That's what Democrats do. They collaborate with special interests to see how both can profit."

    Thats what Democrats AND REPUBLICANS do. Not all of them all of them time, but most of them a lot of the time. You'd have to have some pretty serious partisan blinders to think that one is much worse than the other on special interest influence.

    And Brian is dodging, but I'll bite…

    "So, Brian, I take it you would criticize Pres Obama for his conduct as a Senator when he participated in blocking up or down votes on Pres Bush's judicial nominations, then?"

    I would indeed. But I'm one of those rare people who haven't drank either the red OR blue kool-aid.

  28. Chimney Sweeper says:

    Yeah, Bri, I can read. And I read that you are full of outrage and indignation that the Republicans would deign to block a vote on something your party wants to get passed.

    Were you saying you wanted to get rid of the filibuster back when it was Barack and the Dems who were blocking up or down votes on Miguel Estrada's nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals?

    Or are you just now deciding this is a bad thing, this filibuster, now that it's your ox being gored?

  29. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,
    Let's clear this up (for you).

    1) MJ said, "That's a good provision, but the rest of the bill sucks, so I'm voting no on the whole thing."

    2) EBN said, "That's a good provision, and I think the rest is awesome too… Wait, my provision's not in? Oh, then the rest sucks, and I'm voting no…oh and 'Main Street'."

    End of story.

  30. KP says:

    Ben states that he is casting a "procedural" vote.

    Sounds like a…"I voted against it before I voted for it" moment.

    I am beginning to wonder about the Democratic Party both locally and for the state.

    We have seen so many opportunities for the Dems of this state to stand up and be leaders.

    Just an example was the Omaha City Council yesterday. I think that the entire Council should have voted unanimously to pass the police contract with the amendments that they ALL agreed with just 7 weeks ago.

    Just like Nelson, when a little push came against them, they folded.

    Nelson is losing the few Dems we have and sure isn't winning the Reps in Nebraska. So the questions that we all must ask ourselves are:

    1. Is there another Democrat that we can support to run in 2012

    &

    2. Will it be Bruning or Heinneman that will be our next Senator.

    My 2-Cents….Make Change

    **FREEDOM FEELS GREAT**

  31. Dayton Headlee says:

    Brian, do you remember way back when in 2005-2006 when the Senate Democrats wouldn't allow votes on any of President Bush's nominees to anything? And how the MoveOn.org's of the world screamed bloody murder when any talk of adjusting the filibuster was brought up? How Democrats responded to being called "the Party of No" by saying they were defending the Constitution. Screaming that dissent is the highest form of patirotism?

    Because we remember that.

  32. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Tell you what, Chimney and Dayton, if you can find that I have said or written that anywhere since 2005, then I'll treat you both to pizza and beer.

    And please, quit trying to put words in my mouth. I am perfectly capable of doing that myself.

  33. Anonymous says:

    KP presumably = Kris Pierce, aka "The Howard Dean Moment" of the Nebraska Democratic Party and Douglas County Democratic Party. Translated: You don't think before you speak or act. This is clearly evident in reading your comments on the Omaha police contract. The only people throughing tantrums today are the police union members + you. The reast of the City was saved from another one of Jim Suttle's excessive and overly generous contracts. Thank God the City Council could stop this one.
    Just go down the line with his contracts, The SUV and salaries he negotiated for his Chief of Staff, HR Director, Parks Director, and Finance Director. Do you really think the public trust his negotiating skills? The Police Union president said on the news previously that he wouldn't even let his members vote on the city council proposal. So your comments are off the mark.

  34. Shoe Salesman says:

    This just in from Republican Leader Mitch McConnell:

    "The time afforded by my Republican colleagues and Sen. Ben Nelson was instrumental in gaining assurances from the Chairman that changes will be made to end taxpayer bailouts and the dangerous notion that certain financial institutions are too big to fail."

    Hey, why isn't Johanns in that statement?

    and Sweeper: Johanns offered an amendment, embraced the language (but voted against it) then defended Nelson's work on it and embarrassed the state GOP chairman in the process. That, my friend is the "end of story."

  35. KP says:

    ANON 2:30 –

    If you were educated in regards to the amendments the City Council put into the contract, you would know that those amendments really did a great job in answering and solving the many questions and problems left in the original contract submitted by the Mayor's Office to the City Council.

    In fact, the public was overwhelming in support of the contract with the 6 amendments that the City Council voted 6-0 to add to the contract.

    Those amendments closed all loopholes for spiking and increased the contributions by active and retirees to the benefits package.

    In essence, the City Council solved many of the left over problems with the contract that did not get fixed through the Mayor's Office.

    My statement was that the City Council should have went ahead and voted in favor of the contract with the amendments that they added.

    Would the Police Union voted to approve the contract… perhaps…perhaps not, but the real point is that by voting to approve the contract with the amendments would have placed the City Council in the position of truly representing the tax payers of Omaha.

    Isn't that their first responsibility?

  36. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,
    In case you're unaware of party affiliations, MJ is a "Republican colleague". Though I'm pretty sure many of your lib buddies would just as well he ended it there and include EBN one of them.
    Oh, and crazy how the rest of your friends on the left believe Fahleson's side of the story.
    Chuckle.

  37. Oath Taker says:

    from OWH

    Kagan asked Suttle to sign a no-tax increase pledge.

    “You know I’m not going to sign that,” Suttle told Kagan.

    “I don’t need to sign any other oath. I’ve already taken an oath” of office.

  38. Street Sweeper says:

    No. That would be what all of your liberal buds in the media are calling Ben Nelson (among other things).

    Oh, and btw, (if you read my Tweets) you'll note that Chris Dodd is essentially calling Nelson that – noting that Nelson said nothing to him or Harry Reid about dentists or car dealers. Only Berkshire.

    (My, this is starting to sound like December 2009 all over again…)

  39. Street Sweeper says:

    (And btw, I believe that links can be helpful. The problem is, I don't want to have to police every damn one of them, so I've just banned them outright. Rock on.)

  40. clueless says:

    Over at the NDP they are scrounging around for a brain! Jim Rogers needs to go back to running City Council races…oh yeah, he lost at that too.

  41. macdaddy says:

    Nothing like the Republicans snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If they can't stand up for their principles on this issue, forget them. Harry Reid 1, Republicans 0, Taxpayers minus $1 trillion or however much the next bailout costs.

  42. theotherbob says:

    RWP, you read Bob's comments before they were swept clean. Sweeper will be over to your house later to hose off your brain. It will be squeaky clean.

  43. Jamie says:

    Does anyone have a comprehensive list of what exactly Suttle has screwed up at? I'm a Lincolnite and as such haven't been able to keep up with him. I find him to be interesting, though.

  44. Shoe Salesman says:

    Sweeper – thanks for linking to the only news account that delivered a balanced reporting of the story – along with the previously disclosed campaign contributions and the previously publicly disclosed investments he has in BH, we learn:

    Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln initially proposed the measure

    A Committee Aide confirms that the staff and the CFTC are the folks behind the language

    same aide confirms that BH "and a lot of other interests" lobbied for the provision

    Nelson's explanation is there too – the fact that the govt rewriting contracts is unconstitutional and this will be challenged in court

    The only thing missing is the fact Johanns supported it too – and then smacked down the NE GOP chairman for his silly and misinformed attack/lie on Ben Nelson. – but hey that's been covered by Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ and others anyway.

    I had no idea you were coming around to defend Nelson.

    Aside from the headline using the word "suspicion" the article doesn't include any direct accusations. Just Chris Dodd saying Nelson discussed derivatives with him – by the way Nelson never said he didn't discuss the issue with dodd or that he brought up dentists and auto dealers with Dodd – so not sure where you get off on the lying accusation.

    Have you apologized to Johanns for calling him a liar yet?

  45. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,

    When are you Dems going to learn?
    It's not the action, it's the coverup.

    Here's the quote from the other WashPost article I linked on Twitter (we are a full social media service, you know…):

    Nelson said he had opposed starting debate on the bill because he objected to consumer-protection provisions that could harm "Main Street businesses" back home, including dentists, whose patients often borrow to finance major procedures that their insurance policies don't cover, and auto dealers.

    But after talking with Nelson, Dodd said, "Dentists and auto dealers did not come up."

    Instead, Dodd said, Nelson had spoken with him about making a change to the derivatives portion of the bill. Nelson favored including a provision that would exempt owners of existing derivatives contracts from having to post additional collateral, as required in the legislation.

    Now, the point of all this is, we have no problem with the derivatives language, and like MJ, support it. But EBN keeps running from it and claims all sorts of other reasons why he voted against the bill.

    But hey, you don't come to our blog for hits on Nelson! Just go onto the plethora of lib Dem blogs (not to mention the MSM) who are excoriating him on this issue.

    If you squint real hard, maybe you can just wish it all away…

  46. Monoitor says:

    Did any of your hear about the 9.12 sponsored event last night? They had Joe Jordan there to moderate and a few candidates for office.

    The Matt Sak peeps tried to make it all about Sak, but only succeeded in preaching to themselves as very few people showed up from outside their group. At most there were 150 people who showed up ( could be more or less)

    There are a couple of rowdy Sak supporters who just don't understand how the political process works in the "real" world. Just like the Ron Paul peeps they think they can show up for a few meetings in the election year and be force to be reckoned with.

    In 08 the Ron Paul supporters showed up and tried to shape things. We see how effective that was. To date there are only a couple of people participating in the party. IF you want to change things you will need to get a few good and dedicated peeps into party positions, and elected to some boards at the city and county level. It will take about 6 years to be in position. Can't get er done with 6 meetings, one per month for the party.

    But it is interesting to watch. Even more interesting will be to see what happens after May 11th.

  47. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I don't understand how filling a meeting full of sugary, artificially flavored, marshmallow based candy in the shape of baby chickens could possibly help. Is it just me?

  48. Shoe Salesman says:

    Sweeper – seems Mike Johanns doesn't agree with you – again!

    This just in from Nebraska Radio Network:

    Both Nebraska U.S. senators are on the same page when it comes to Financial Reform Legislation.

    Johanns: “It would say it applies retroactively so it would be like interfering with your mortgage contract. It would be like saying if your mortgage is now more than the value of your house, you need to put more money into the house. You would say wait a second. The government can’t tell me how to change a contract that I’ve entered into,”

    Senator Johanns says Senator Nelson was right sticking to his guns on this one.

    “He correctly pointed out the fallacy of that policy and I think was treated unfairly, personally. We have our disagreements but he is right on this one.”

    -30-

    And to address your point directly: Im not quibbling with the fact Nelson has identified several concerns – but there isn't anything that backs up your claim he's lying – he could have only mentioned derivatives to Dodd – so Dodd's comment isn't really damning.

    What is damning is Mike Johanns' efforts on behalf of Nelson – a direct contradiction to your efforts and those of Fahleson.

  49. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,

    I've never once said I disagree with the derivatives exclusion legislation.

    What I have pointed out — and the rest of the interwebs have enjoyed pointing out — is that Ben Nelson is brining up all sorts of other reasons for why he's voting with Republicans, other than Berkshire. He's trying to pretend like Buffett's influence on him isn't an issue.

    When everyone knows it is. Well, everyone besides you.

  50. Shoe Salesman says:

    Sweeper –

    I guess you're never gonna give i nto the facts. Nelson never shied away from Berkshire as a reason – just said it isn't the ONLY reason.

    Now here in Nebraska it's not that big of a deal. people get it, people like Johanns.

    and if the lefty nutbags are attacking Nelson, that's a good thing too.

    Nelson is essentially innoculated on this issue courtesy of Mike Johanns.

    Thanks for reading! wink wink.

  51. Street Sweeper says:

    Shoe,

    Here's what EBN has going for him: He's doing this on behalf of Warren Buffett, and lots of Nebraskans think if it's good for Buffett, it's good for them. And they may be right.

    But Nelson's problem is that he lost so many confidence with the Cornhusker Kickback, that he has lost the confidence from people that he's on the up and up. So when he says, "oh this is for the dentists and car dealers", people yell BS, and simply assume he has the worst intentions.

    He screwed himself, doesn't get the benefit of the doubt anymore, and no amount of thumbs up from the Mike Johannses or kudos from you will change that.

    That's the POLITICAL reality, no matter how you want to spin the course of events.

  52. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I've gotta go with Sweeper on this one. I just hope that other Democrats in Nebraska realize that it is time for our party to look beyond Ben Nelson as anything but an anchor chain around our necks.

  53. GeosUser says:

    Let's see, EBN owns $6 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock…isn't that supposed to be in a blind trust…and Berkshire doesn't want to "reserve" another $6-8 billion in capital to cover its 500+ derivatives contracts…of course EBN is worried about dentists and car dealers who have to use derivatives to manage their businesses???? Whatever you say Senator…and I have a barely used pedestrian bridge over the Mo I'll sell cheap…LOL!!!
    BTW, David Sokol was interviewed on CNBC live from Omaha this morning. CNBC led into the interview with on-screen graphic that included comment that "many mention Sokol as a replacement for Warren Buffet at Berkshire". Here's a little investing tip…if Sokol ever takes the top spot at Berkshire, sell immediately. Mr. "Pleased, But Never Satisfied" Sokol will run Berkshire into the ditch. Not that he isn't a very savvy business leader but his management style/experience is the complete opposite of Buffet's…and the management of the companies owned by Berkshire will not tolerate for long a micro-managing engineer.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Del and Ill

    Delaware Senate–Castle leads Dem 55-37.

    Ill Senate–Kirk leads Dem 46-38.

    Two incumbent D seats….

  55. Anonymous says:

    Great comments over at NNN…

    Several commenters are nailing "Montana" Hannah–she attacks Johanns on the fin srvs votes, but is silent on Nelson.

    Interesting that it is Dem posters there who are calling her a hypocrite!

  56. Anonymous says:

    BP Oil Spill

    NYTimes article says the fed gov't had the opportunity to move more quickly but "did not do so". hmmm…

  57. Anonymous says:

    9:46–no surprise there. Kyle himself has admitted NNN has become too "shrill and hypocritical". Vile's right.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of Ben… was anyone else at the Berkshire Hathaway cocktail party at Borsheim's on Friday evening? When Ben arrived he received several boo's and was noticeably embarrassed.

  59. They' says:

    Jane Kleeb, she of the frequent proclamations of "WALL STREET GREED" proudly bragged on facebook that she was attending the Berkshire Meetings. Hypocritical much, Jane?

  60. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Shoe,

    What're you gonna do after Ben takes the NDP down the tubes with him, cling tightly to the railings? I'm mustering the passengers around the lifeboats while the ship is still afloat.

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