On a recent business trip I had the opportunity to peruse a stack of periodicals that piled up during the 2010 election cycle. One of the magazines was the November issue of Esquire, a magazine that I received as a gift. One article sought to identify the 10 Best and Worst Members of Congress.
And guess who appeared among the "Worst Members of Congress" right alongside Rep. Charlie Rangel?
The Father of the Cornhusker Kickback--Senator Ben Nelson.
Here are a few excerpts from the Esquire piece:
Once the coveted "sixtieth vote," Nelson, the most obstreperous Democrat in the Senate, maneuvered for a sweet deal for his home state to have its mandated expansion of Medicaid paid for by the federal government permanently in order to get his vote for health-care reform. This is a deal no other state gets. Republicans mocked this arrangement as the "Cornhusker Kickback," and Nelson was stunned to find that every last person in his home state was horribly embarrassed by his deal; he muttered that it was all a misunderstanding, and it was really all about abortion funding anyway, which is one of his standby excuses for everything. Antiabortion groups, once stalwarts for the senator, decided that they didn't trust him, either. Now no one trusts him, and he has been tarred with a catchy new name for the stupid thing he did, which imperiled the passage of health-care reform. In the end, Harry Reid found a way to pass the House bill without Nelson's vote, and Nelson was compelled, pathetically, to plead that his sweet deal be removed from the final bill. Because that's how Ben Nelson rolls.
And the people cheered: "Twenty-Twelve. Twenty-Twelve. Twenty-Twelve."