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Ben Nelson, the Nebraska Narcissist, is at it again

Oh, Lord, Ben Nelson again?

The Nebraska conservative -- who calls himself a Democrat for reasons known only to God and himself -- is back at it. In 2009, Nebraska's senior senator broke with his party to demand cuts in the administration's stimulus bill, which he got, as the current high rate of unemployment clearly attests. On health care, he held up passage until the public option was no more and until the bill included a special provision for Nebraska, compelling the federal government to pick up the state's expenses for expanding Medicaid coverage.

For this classic bit of special interest particularism, better known as the Cornhusker Kickback, he was roundly criticized by left, right and center. You'd think the guy would learn.

But there he was Monday evening, voting yet again with the Republicans, this time to block his own party from initiating debate on financial reform. Nelson protested that he was looking out for Main Streets interests, but earlier in the day the Democrats had stricken a special provision from their bill that would have created a loophole for the wealthiest Nebraskan of them all, Warren Buffett. The loophole would have exempted Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s company, from having to pay the fees on derivatives it already holds -- fees that all other derivative-holders would be compelled to pay under the terms of the bill. The Democrats sensed, correctly, that this one carve-out was hard to justify as a matter of policy and harder still as a matter of politics, a move that apparently left Nelson so peeved that he voted to keep the financial reform debate from beginning.

As was not the case with either the stimulus or health-care reform, there are likely to be enough Republicans willing to vote for the Democrats' bill after a suitable passage of time that the Democrats may not need Nelson's vote. For now, however, the Nebraska Narcissist is loose again, wreaking havoc on decent legislation and cementing the public's perception that he is the senator most amenable to the suasion of special interests.

By Harold Meyerson  | April 27, 2010; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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harold - Harold - one carve out? You and I know the bill is loaded with carve outs....including many of those companies that were at the forefront of the financial collapse......Just ask Senator Dodd - he put them in there as exempt.....

Posted by: short1 | April 27, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a Dem does something you don't agree with and you then try to somehow paint him as a Rep? Everyday I hear Dems blames others for there inactions/actions but this excuse really takes the cake. Would someone please take the kookaid away from Mr. Meyson?

Posted by: mmourges | April 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The entire Senate is dysfunctional, but this guy takes the cake. His arguments have to do with why he doesn't like the bill, but he voted NOT EVEN TO ALLOW IT BE DEBATED. These are "anti-democrats" in the broadest sense of the word (the Republicans + Nelson) and they have no business serving in a democratically-elected body.

Posted by: cbl55 | April 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Wow, a Dem does something you don't agree with and you then try to somehow paint him as a Rep? Everyday I hear Dems blames others for there inactions/actions but this excuse really takes the cake. Would someone please take the kookaid away from Mr. Meyson?

Posted by: mmourges | April 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse"

Please, numbnutz, nowhere in the article does Meyerson paint Nelson as a Republican. An a-hole, yes, which might be the same thing in essence. But still not a Repuke.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 27, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Look, Ben Nelson's vote is for sale. I hope he at least rinses between kisses.

Posted by: kravitzkravitz | April 27, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson is a scumbag who is bad for the USA.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | April 27, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow - Meyerson is like Hugo Chavez - any Democrat that thinks for himslef and wanders from Obama's socialist agenda is considered a heretic and must be eradicated. the new idealogues running and supporting the Democratic Party are dangerous.

Posted by: Realist201 | April 27, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Senator Nelson voted as an AMERICAN, not an OBAMA refreshing! Way to go, Ben!

Posted by: powerange | April 27, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson voted as he special interest loving greedy tea-bagger republican he really is.
I wish he just be honest and claim his republican status, but honesty isn't something I expect from a tea-bagger republican, after all.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | April 27, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Look, Realist201, Obama is not a socialist, so people like you should stop parading their ignorance on these pages by saying so. Besides, one may get the idea that you actually prefer Bush 2, that unmitigated disaster that almost destroyed this country. Man, so many complaints about Obama, who has already done alot to benefit this country. Frankly, after the likes of Bush and Cheney and most of the Republican Senators (Cronyn, Hutchinson, McCain name almost any of them) I would think an enlightened man or woman would be done with that party. But then it is pretty obvious by your comment that you are not remotely an enlightened man, or even a man.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | April 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The US Senate is so dysfunctional and useless that it cries out for change to eliminate it entirely! Never mind that it is by definition the least democratic institution in our government and perhaps on the planet; it just plain does not work! There is just one more corruption after another from a block of Republicans representing less than 30% of the people of our nation saying no to everything to Senators from Nebraska, Alaska to Maine, Wisconsin, from Gramps in Az to his sidekick Kyl carving out exemptions for their owners, the bosses that fund their campaigns, and their parties that gerrymander their districts to prevent any action by people to replace them! We can not expect any of these oath breakers - their pledge to put the nation's interests ahead of State, Party, Personal, and Israeli demands - therefore, we need a Constitutional Convention to "FIX" our Congress!!

Posted by: Chaotician | April 27, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I've been saying it for years: Toss this joker out of the party. Nelson never met a bag of money he didn't want to bend over for. He'd make a great Republican or, better yet, an ex-politician.

Posted by: CopyKinetics | April 27, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Nelson is an interesting sort of creature that his constituents should study closely. It is rare that one sees a human that can walk without a backbone. However, the hand of special interest up his lower entry parts seems to keep him standing.

Posted by: vitality1 | April 27, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Indeed it is long past time that buffoons like Nelson (and Lieberman, etc) admit their true affiliations and join the Republicans. Most certainly we want moderate centrist opinions in the Democratic party, but we should not have to struggle and negotiate within the party itself on key legislation like this. This is a repeat of the healthcare problem, when one could help but suspect that Nelson and Lieberman took their positions for corrupt reasons. (And both are smug narcissists infatuated with seeing themselves on the news).

Posted by: gposner | April 27, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

When he is up for election again, let me know so that I can send his opponent a donation. It is better to have a Republican is that position than a turncoat like Nelson!

Posted by: oakiedokie | April 27, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson is not only a narcissist, but lacks shame of any sort. Did not Warren Buffet at one time complain that his tax rates are lower than his administrative assistant he and people like him should pay higher taxes? So if Warren is not complaining why is Ben Nelson brown nosing by bringing into his mess a self made billionaire who is not afraid to pay his share of taxes.Oh! I forgot, Ben is so peeved by his health care shameful shenninga he thinks this is a time to pay back Harry Reed. I think they should kick him to join the likes of senator Shelby another former democrat full of himself.

Posted by: ere591 | April 27, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Enough of this guy. We need another preening Lieberman type like we need to get into another war.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 27, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

All sound and fury, signifying nothing. The fact is either nothing will be passed, or a so watered-down as to be meaningless version will emerge. We have the very best government money can buy and the forces opposed to financial reform can afford much more of it than those in favor.

Posted by: NoFanofMOPAR | April 27, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As a graduate of Cornhusker University of Nebraska, it pains me to see the good people of Nebraska kicked around like a pigskin during the big game (you know, with Oklamhoma). But I am not sure why Senator Nelson wants to protect Warren Buffet from new fees for derivatives (aka credit default swaps). Mr. Buffet is well respected; but, Senator Nelson could not get a reservation at Kentucy Fried Chicken. Nelson could resign with immediate effect. Who among Cornhuskers would even notice? Meanwhile, Wall Street runs in the wild with impunity.

Posted by: rmorris391 | April 27, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Meyerson, what is wrong with you? Nelson disagrees with his party and for that he should be castigated? Oh yes, he disagrees with what is right and for that he must be wrong?
Why didn't you state that maybe (just maybe ?) he did not know the content of what was supposed to be voted on???
jamming votes through without knowledge of what is being voted on is the "crime" here!
But you and Harry Reid wouldn't understand that, would you?

Posted by: SeniorVet | April 27, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Why vote against a bill when passing the bill you can debate on it. Nelson and the republicans are looking like fools.

Not only americans are watching but the world.
If America wants to be taken seriously these repubs. have to act in responsible manner.

Posted by: wanttoknow1 | April 27, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Someone here said that whole Senate is dysfunctional. Not true. Voters are dysfunctional as they try to blame everyone but themselves for not satisfying their self-centered needs.

The Republicans are dysfunctional but are trying to make the Senate, at least, dysfunctional by constantly saying to no even, I suppose, on the question of does the earth revolve around the sun or vice versa.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | April 27, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Warren Buffet is another special interest of Obama like Blacks, Hispanics, Unions, Corrupt Union Bosses, Academia, Wealthy Trial Lawyers, and Hollywood.

Why shouldn't Warren Buffet get a special favor at everyone else's expense like all the other Obama special interests?

Posted by: hz9604 | April 27, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson is an idiot with a bad wig. what goes through his mind? strange man indeed.

Posted by: kurthunt | April 27, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson is from a conservative state. Do you think maybe that has something to do with his conservative positions? Maybe he represents the views of his constituents?

Ok Ben. Make Meyerson happy. Become a Republican.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 27, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson is among the most despicable members of the Senate. He openly stated that he would not support any element of the health care bill that did not meet with "the bishops approval." Adding insult to injury, he then took a one hundred million dollar kickback for his nonsupport.

His campaigns are heavily financed by BIG PHARMA and BIG INSURANCE.

His relations with both as well as his connections with "the bishops" need to be thoroughly investigated.

This is not Vatican Nation. We have an Establishment clause. When Senators represent the interests of the Pope, they are in violation of that clause.

The RCC is currently enjoying the privileges of being a Foreign Nation, a tax exempt religious institution, and an unregistered foreign lobbyist. This is patently illegal. Its dangers to democracy are evident in Sen. Ben Nelson, much beloved by faux liberal E.J. Dionne, who actually proclaimed Nelson's kickback the wave of the future.

Investigate Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Vatican Nelson. Get back our one hundred million dollars.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | April 27, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

People like Senator Nelson are oblivious to the existence of something called history, which, over time, tends to get the story straight about events and people. I don't know if the right word is "narcissist" for such people, even though he is that. What is the word for someone who not only does not care what people of his own era think of him but also does not care what future generations will conclude? Look now, how we who study history reserve not just contempt, but scorn also, for people like Ben Nelson. His ego may be able to take the contempt, may even be stimulated by it, but the scorn will definitely be too much for him.

Posted by: dorofacol | April 27, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Nelson voted as an AMERICAN, not an OBAMA refreshing!"

So AMERICANS are whiny children who, when they don't get what they want, pick up their ball and go home?

Posted by: presto668 | April 27, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

To think, if only Ben Nelson hadn't demanded cuts in the stimulus bill, unemployment would be back at five percent...

Really, Mr. Meyerson, that's what you lead with?

Posted by: 1ofamillion | April 27, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, two U.S. Senators are privileged to represent our two newest states:

- Ben Nelson, representing the 51st State: Berkshire Hathaway; and,

- Joe Lieberman, representing the 52nd State: Israel.

Posted by: hogsmile | April 27, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Does Ben Nelson own stock in corporations owned by Warren Buffet and located in Nebraska?

Posted by: mawheelz | April 27, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Ben Nelson, who supported an exemption to proposed derivatives rules sought by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owned as much as $6 million worth of stock with his wife in the Omaha, Nebraska-based company, financial disclosures show.

Posted by: billq1 | April 27, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

to all,

Ben Nelson took a BRIBE (i call a spade a spade, whether the LIBs here like it or not.) & voted AGAINST the desires of HIS constitutents.

sounds like just another DIMocRAT Party CROOK to me. - the DIMocRATS care NOTHING for HONESTY, COMMON DECENCY or HONOR. evidently all they care about is MONEY & POWER.

that's why the DIMocRATS coalition of CROOKS, TAX CHEATS, FOOLS, LUNATICS, EXTREMISTS, UNION BOSSES & BIGOTS will LOSE both of the houses of the Congress this November.

further, we Tea Party Patriots will remind the voters EVERY election from now on that DIMocRATS are GARBAGE & CORRUPT to the core AND that the DIMs should NEVER be entrusted with the safety of this Republic again.

in January of 2011, BHO will be IRRELEVANT, as NONE of his programs will pass muster with the new congress.
BHO can spend the time left in his ONE term trying to figure out what he will do as a FAILED/DISRESPECTED ex-President after January 20, 2013.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | May 1, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

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