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!