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What does Ben Nelson's retirement mean for the rest of us?

by: DocJess

Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:47:42 AM EST

First off, if we get really lucky, Bob Kerrey will run for the seat. When he retired, he indicated he might someday return to public life. His support of both Jim Webb and Al Franken in their respective runs for the Senate indicates he still knows politics. He was popular as an elected official, and it was never clear exactly why he left. And Bob, we need you...

Of course, if you're a long time reader, you know I pine for Tom Daschle. Americans have short memories, so I'm thinking his taxes are in order by now, and he won't repeat past mistakes.

Either would be a strong candidate, especially in this watershed year.

I cannot think of any other first tier Democratic candidates from Nebraska, maybe someone else can think of one. 

In January, I'll be up with my forecasts for the Senate, and we can start to look at whether or not we hold it. Holding the Senate matters, but I have a history of vacillating on the idea of sell-out Democratic Senators, of which Ben Nelson is certainly a poster child, along with Max Baucus. "Holding the Senate" matters in terms of having a Speaker who controls what gets to the floor and a number of other important facets. But in terms of the vote, Ben Nelson hasn't been with us in, um, forever. My thought always is: what good do they do us if they vote against us anyway? But I know the prevailing thought always was "it's okay, they'll be with us when it counts." At least, that was the argument I was given in 2006 when I felt I couldn't vote for Bob Casey because of his stands on abortion and, by extension, women's rights. 

But as we've seen in the past few years, party hasn't matter when that party has a "D" in its name. So I say good riddance, Ben. I want you to put up a blog and point out every single time you use Medicare, Social Security, government pension and every other benefit you get with my hard-earned tax dollars that you have worked so hard to insure I never see. 

DocJess :: What does Ben Nelson's retirement mean for the rest of us?

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I read yesterday that ... (0.00 / 0)
right now Kerrey is in India.  

And read somewhere else that his current address is not in Nebraska, but it is in New York.

If he is going to run then he will need to get back to The USA and move to quickly to Nebraska  ;)

Leah (0.00 / 0)
Hope springs eternal....and BTW, you'll be pleased to know that my car is sporting my "Obama 2012" bumper sticker...

[ Parent ]
Well, that's really good to hear :) (0.00 / 0)
A few months ago I was here on DCW and I saw someone (I won't say who) refer to Obama as a REPUBLICAN! I thought after seeing that, that I'd take a break from DCW for awhile  ;)  
I am VERY happy to hear that you have that bumper sticker on your car now.   I have an Obama 2012 bumper sticker but I put it on the front of my refrigerator with a magnet - some folks down here in Texas are not too friendly to folks that they see with those stickers on their cars  ;(

In 2008,
30 minutes after putting my Obama sign in the front yard someone swiped it - I still don't know if it was an Obama supporter that wanted it as a souvenir or a GOPer that stole it to put it in the trash!    :)  

[ Parent ]
Leah (0.00 / 0)
I might be able to help you if you need an '08 sign -- remind me to check in the spring when I open up the garden shed.

I stand by my opinion that a lot of what Obama did was nowhere near what he had promised progressives in the campaign, and in previous campaigns. I still smart over some capitulations, and point out that his approval has risen since he stood firm on the 2 month extension. More backbone on progressive issues earlier would have led to higher approval ratings, and the probability of getting more through the House in 2010. Water under the dam, or over the bridge, or wherever water goes.

2012 is a seminal year, as I've written -- it's not about candidates or issues, per se -- it's about saving America from the rabid, racist, hating wacko right. I have told my friends who are political non-combatants - this is the year EVERYBODY works.

Glad to have you back.  

[ Parent ]
Leah (0.00 / 0)
I haven't been as active on this site as I used to be, in large part because of the same reasons you left. I don't support all that Obama has done, but I still get angry when his critics on the left won't even give him credit when he does things they agree with. I haven't commented much lately, but I've been lurking. Regardless of whether Obama has been a perfect President, there is far too much at stake in 2012 to give up on him now. So when people say there's not much difference between him and the opposition, that's not only wrong, it's irresponsible. Good to have you back.

"Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be." -Bad Religion

[ Parent ]
I am the one who called him a Repubilcan! (0.00 / 0)
Based on his positions and the traditional big business corporate Republicans of the past 50 yrs, I think it is fair, but I am always quick to point out that compared to the idiots on the so called Republican right, he is the best choice and that we have to support him and not run a progressive against him and split the party. I too have some 2008s that i put in my closet after the campaign. Will have my 2012 gear up and on soon, and not just in the Kitchen!!!!

I supported him in 2006, when everybody i knew, including the good folks over at the dailykos were saying he needed to wait until 2012. I worked hard and gave him money in 2008, and will again. i am used to being sold out by Democrats,Carter and Clinton did it before him, but they still have me until a good progressive party can mount a serious challenge and i dont see that happening in america in my lifetime.

[ Parent ]
I probably called him a Republican too. (0.00 / 0)
I know some Democrats think he's great.  To me there is an enormous gap between how he presented himself while campaigning and how he acted once elected.  And it wasn't even mostly because it was tough betting stuff past Republicans.

However, he's acting somewhat differently now.  I wish I thought it was because he's changed.  I think it's more likely he has his eye on getting votes, and once elected we'll be back to square one.  Fool me once, etc.

Fortunately, since I live in a very blue state, I can do what I want in 2012 without having any effect on the election results.  I will probably write in Bernie Sanders or Howard Dean to send a tiny little message.

[ Parent ]
Same here, but different... (0.00 / 0)
I live in Arkansas, what's fast becoming one of the reddest states in America. So even if I voted for Obama, he's still going to lose by 20% or more, as he did in '08. I knew Blanche Lincoln would get her clock cleaned (she lost by over 30%) so I voted for the Green party. Our remaining Democratic senator, Mark Pryor, will no doubt be the top Republican target in 2014, and he's running by Blanche Lincoln's playbook. Vote like a Republican and voters will forget the big D next to your name. Sure, that works all the time. We have a Democratic governor, but after he retires, that's almost guaranteed to change. The Democrats' best hope on holding the Governor's seat in Arkansas is Mike Ross, one of the worst Blue Dogs to ever step into Congress.

We're a long way from the state that gave the country Bill Clinton and our great Senator William Fulbright. Seeing as it doesn't matter, I'll probably vote for Rocky Anderson, but that doesn't mean I won't be supporting Obama in ways besides my vote.

"Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be." -Bad Religion

[ Parent ]
Me too (0.00 / 0)
I'll admit, I haven't been as active on DCW in the past few months either, and I have permission to post on the front page!

Obama bashing I can deal with, but the Occupy movement drives me bonkers. I agree with much of their assessment of the world, and with many of their goals, but their branding I find at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous. I think they're unintentionally, for instance, hurting the causes of unions.

That's a tricky argument for me to make. I don't want to argue against their goals, and I don't think their tactics are inherently bad. But I'm not going to drive over the cliff with them either.

So I've just stayed away.

But now, with the election year about to start, the focus is changing again, and I'm likely to be participating more actively.

[ Parent ]
Speaking of Bob Kerrey (0.00 / 0)
If anyone wants to see how much an improvement Bob Kerrey would be over Ben Nelson, here is a chart of DW/Nominate scores of the voting records of Nelson compared to Kerrey. The score ranges from 1 (most conservative) to -1 (most liberal).

111th Congress: Nelson -.021
110th: Nelson -.036
109th: Nelson -.051
108th: Nelson -.066
107th: Nelson -.081
106th: Kerrey -.268
105th: Kerrey -.272
104th: Kerrey -.276
103rd: Kerrey -.280
102nd: Kerrey -.284
101st: Kerrey -.288

"Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be." -Bad Religion

The issue is not Kerrey vs Nelson (0.00 / 0)
but Kerrey vs the GOP alternative.

But I doubt he'll run, and if he runs, I doubt he'll win.

[ Parent ]
To all you folks who are inching back... (4.00 / 1)
First -- HI! Missed you!

Second - you have your opinions, I have my opinions, sometimes some of us agree, sometimes some of us agree to disagree....y'all know the rest.

That said -- we all have issues that are dear to our hearts. You Leah and Wecanhope might not like Upland's and my disdain for some of the things Obama did. Scott, you might dislike my embrace of Occupy. But I'm entitled to my opinion, and y'all are entitled to yours, and so long as I breathe, I'll defend your right to post them. (With the caveat of no ad hominem attacks.)

It's now 2012 for all intents and purposes, and a lot of what will be on this site will be getting Democrats elected. And, OF COURSE, Republican snark. As I keep saying: this is the year everybody works the election. It's just too important.

2011 has been a tough year for DCW -- I work at a place where I have no internet access all day, as does Matt. Matt, Oreo and I have been incredibly tied up at work. That decreases the amount of time the 3 of us can dedicate to posts, and with the dearth of other voices, it decreases those voices that comment less frequently.

I plan to try harder to get at least one post up a day, and hopefully set-for-launch a few others throughout the days I can. I hope all of you will make your voices known. Don't like an Occupy post? Put up something showing where they're off the track. Want to promote everything Obama is doing? Put up a post. We'll front page everything we can. And we have to do it all with an eye to SOPA.

So anyway -- come back, bring your friends. The more voices, the less any single voice stands out. I've watched a lot of small progressive blogs like ours bite the dust - people feel that Reddit, Democratic Underground, Kos and FDL fill their needs, even if they are one of many thousand. Add in the actual mainstream like HuffPost and TPM, and it's hard to find a place that's small enough to be heard, and large enough to reach people without there being TOO much....Matt, Oreo and I always envisaged DCW as a place for information AND as a community. We may sometimes disagree, but we are certainly of one mind when it comes to the idea that OUR side, whatever its faults and limitations, is better than the alternative.  

Well said (0.00 / 0)
But to clarify, despite my username (made during the Democratic primary in '08) I can't say I'm exactly an Obama cheerleader anymore. I just don't like it when Obama does something good and people just blow it off. Obama has not been the President I hoped he would be, but I still think he's a good person and in most cases, is trying his best. With all the opposition from the GOP and members of his own party, there is sadly little he could do even when he had a mind to better. The first time I was disappointed in him was during the Health Care Reform fight, when I thought he gave up on the public option too soon. But now I can see that even with the huge majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate, it was a miracle it passed at all. If it was more progressive, Ben Nelson and the other Conservadems would've bailed.  

"Is profit and greed the only conceit on a scale between mere prosperity and inhumanity? It may well be." -Bad Religion

[ Parent ]
probably right (4.00 / 1)
i am more upset with him over human rights and civil liberties than anything else. the other stuff, i think you are right, at least, no matter what this healthcare plan eventually means (right now it means nothing to me, i have been uninsured since 1994 ad still am), but at least we have a 'universal health care' and it will lead to a semblance of decent universal coverage, which is what did not happen in 1994, when the clintons basically pushed the same plan and lost.

the wars, he kept his word. the environment, this is the clean coal technology candidate, so i think he has been better than expected. financial regs, not sure if he could have gotten more, i think he was as bought and paid for as the Gopers on that one....

at any rate, he has been non worse than the last two dem presidents and a heck of a lot better than the clowns who want to replace him!

[ Parent ]
environment: dumped the clean air regs upgrade (0.00 / 0)
And that was completely under the control of the executive branch.

[ Parent ]
Ben Nelson will be missed (0.00 / 0)
As most of you know since I have been posting here for four years, I am a socially liberal, fiscal conservative.  I am a registered Repubican as I like to have a chance to select the more moderate person in the primary.  Losing Ben Nelson from the senate is a very big shame.  

I know that DocJess and others haven't been fond of him, but I know how much worse off the last twelve years would have been if Don Stenberg had won in 2000.  Yes.  Nebraska voted for Bush and Nelson in the same year.  Think about if the Senate hadn't been a 50-50 split at the start of the Bush years.  There wouldn't have been a chance for a Northeastern Republican to jump ship four months in to hand the chamber to the Democratic party.  The legislation from those years would have been so much worse.  Now consider if Pete Ricketts (Wall Street & TD Ameritrade connections)had won in 2006?  It would have made it so much harder to slow the excesses of the latter Bush years.  It would have also meant that there would not have been the filibuster-proof majority for healthcare reform.  Was Ben Nelson a holdout for some concessions? Yes.  Was it still good to have him able to vote in favor of the eventual bill?  YES!  Right now, I am looking at the Republicans running in the primary and I am having a hard time finding the least bad person to vote for.  If you have any insight, please let me know.  

As far as Democrats, the prospects don't look good.  I would have liked for former Omaha mayor Mike Fahey to have ccnsidered it, but rural Nebraskans don't like us city folk.  That and he also alienated a lot of people with an annexation of a neigbhoring city and building a new baseball stadium for the College World Series.

Ben, Ben, Ben... (0.00 / 0)
Yup, Peter, you pegged it -- I want "the Senate" to represent the needs, the ACTUAL needs, of their states, and you reminded me that they have to get re-elected by the constituents they have.

Which of course begs the question of how come there are now reps that represent districts larger than some states represented by Senators....but I digress.

However, while you're right about 2000 and 2001, too many people were snowed by the Bushies that bad things were done by virtually all Democrats. (Except Russ Feingold, the sole Senator to vote against the Patriot Act.) In latter years, since Ben voted against so many things that needed 60 to get to the floor, I don't know that having a Republican would have made a difference.  

[ Parent ]




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