Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And now we know

For those who doubt what truly motivates Sen. Ben Nelson, his recent actions relating to his party's attempt at financial regulatory reform should clear things up.

Ben Nelson "surprised" his fellow Democrats this week when he voted against cloture, i.e., Nelson voted against stopping debate and proceeding to a vote on the bill. After all, Nelson had supported that bill in committee. What was different? A provision benefiting Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had been removed.

Nelson's special affinity for Buffett--currently the world's third richest person--is well known. Nebraska political observers have reported that Nelson identified Buffett to the Obama White House as the one guy who could get his "no" vote on Obamacare to "yes," which would presumably give Nelson some cover in Nebraska. So much for that. (Note: Nelson is not the first Nebraska Democrat to have attempted to use Buffett unsuccessfully. In a 1994 debate, then-Rep. Peter Hoagland tried to deflect criticism of his vote in favor of the Clinton tax increases by saying Buffett told him to do it. Challenger (and Hoagland's vanquisher) Rep. Jon Christensen responded, "Maybe Warren Buffett can afford those tax increases. The rest of us Nebraskans can't.")

Well, with Ben it never quite ends there. Gotta follow the money. Thanks to the New York Times, we now know that our Senator Nelson apparently owns somewhere between $1.5 million and $6 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock. So he cast a vote on legislation that directly affected his personal investment in Buffett's company?

I can see the 2012 television commercial already. The sad thing is the ad is already "in the can" since history is replete with examples of public officials using their official positions to benefit themselves and those around them.

November 6, 2012 cannot arrive soon enough. On that day Nebraskans will Give Ben the Boot!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Washington, D.C. raising money for the NEGOP and visiting with national political press about the 2012 Senate race (FYI--they don't care about the 2010 CD2 House race as they correctly view it as a nonrace--sorry Tom White--wrong year to be a big government Democrat who supports PelosiCare).
A few observations:
  • Senator Nelson was on my flight to DC (quite common given the convenience of Midwest Express/Midwest Airlines/Republic Airlines/Frontier). He looks tired, old and rather pissed off at the world. If I had to read his mail and listen to his voicemail messages I probably would look that way too.
  • At Ronald Reagan National Airport (best name of an airport EVER) some patrons wanted to get their photo taken with Sen. Nelson and he kindly obliged. What he didn't understand is that it was a joke, as they walked off laughing about it and muttering "Cornhusker Kickback." The photo is now probably on Facebook somewhere under the heading "Kickin' It with the Cornhusker Kickback."
  • Washington Post, Cook Political Report, Roll Call, National Journal, Stuart Rothenberg and others we visited with clearly understand that Nelson's in deep, deep trouble. Veteran Nebraska Republican politicians say that in all their years in politics they have never seen so much ire and vitriol directed at one public official--EBN. And it's because of his official actions while in office. After all, he cast the deciding vote on ObamaCare. From this he simply cannot recover. Remember, EBN is a guy who got thrashed by Chuck Hagel in 1996 by a margin of 56 to 42, and who narrowly defeated Don Stenberg in 2000 by less than 12,000 votes. There's no way in Hades he recovers from this.
  • The Washington political press (now, with a little help) understands that Nelson's duplicity on the health care legislation is just the latest in a long-line of incidents demonstrating a serious character flaw. We haven't forgotten that Nebraska taxpayers had to pay over $145 million to settle the lawsuit created by Nelson's political shenanigans over the Boyd County low-level nuclear waste dump. Or his career as an insurance attorney (more on that in the future).
  • One political reporter said he hasn't seen Nelson in such a funk since he got his hiney kicked by Hagel. His sleazy backroom deal for the Cornhusker Kickback and mistaken belief that he could convince Nebraskans he did them a favor will go down as the greatest miscalculation in Nebraska political history.
  • Another nail in EBN's coffin is the fact that the NEGOP has an abundance of qualified candidates waiting in the wings to possibly challenge him, including the likes of Governor Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning. Further adding to EBN's misery is the fact that Governor Heineman has only token opposition this year (a "cupcake" is how one elected official describes Dem Mark Lakers) and Attorney General Bruning is running unopposed.

2011 and 2012 will be a blast. I look forward to travelling the state with the likes of former NEGOP Chair/Omaha City Councilman Chuck Sigerson (who is itching to get his ability to speak back and would love nothing more than to reprise his 1996 efforts that led to Nelson's defeat) and maybe even Arnold Schwarzenegger. After all, it was Gov. Schwarzenegger who accused Ben Nelson of illegally selling his vote in exchange for the Cornhusker Kickback.

Who better than The Terminator to help terminate Ben Nelson's political career?