Rep. Ben Nelson's Retirement is a Blow to Dems in Senate, But Could His Possible Replacement be the Bigger Problem?
I know I'm supposed to be really upset about Ben Nelson announcing his retirement because it probably means the loss of the Senate, but to tell you the truth I'm relieved. It was hardly likely the Dems would hold the Senate anyway and the loss of Nelson hardly counts as a loss to liberalism. His influence has been far larger than it deserved to be because he held down the rightward pole of the Democratic caucus (lately with a lot of help from the odious Joe Manchin)and basically serves as a defacto veto over any Democratic initiative that he disliked. He was a vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader and there was a time that was valuable. But at the moment it's clear that the congress is run by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, so I see no particular value in having him around.
The bigger problem is this:
... with Nelson stepping down, the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is in serious doubt, although Democratic leaders believe they can still do so. Republicans are expected to pick up control of the Cornhusker State seat, although popular former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) has been talking to top Democrats about possibly running again.
God help us. Not only is Kerrey just as bad as Nelson he's an egomaniac as well. And he's a zealot on one particular subject:
CHICAGO - Sen. Bob Kerrey smells an odor coming from the Republican and Democratic stands on entitlements.
"It's one of the cruelest things we do, when we say, Republicans or Democrats, `Oh, we can wait and reform Social Security later,' " the Nebraska Democrat said.
Mr. Kerrey says that without reform, entitlements will claim 100 percent of the Treasury in 2012.
"This is not caused by liberals, not caused by conservatives, but by a simple demographic fact," Mr. Kerrey warned at a meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council.
"We [will have] converted the federal government into an ATM machine."
That's our guy. Quite the prophet wasn't he? And he didn't change his mind over time. He became Chairman of the Concord Coalition and spouted that same line all through the Bush Administration. I'm sure the DSCC is wooing him with promises of Grand Bargains and austerity policies as far as the eye can see. It's always been what turns him on. (Well that, and stabbing the president in the back.)
Also too, warmongering.
Nelson is bad. In some ways Kerrey is worse. He's a show pony of the Lieberman mode who thinks he should have been president. He loves being the center of attention and will be on TV every chance he gets, usually taking the conservative line to prove how "reasonable" he is. If he's the best they can do it's not worth it.
Update: This post points out a horrifying aspect of Nelson's announcement: the inevitable Village rending of garments over the "end of bipartisanship." Ugh.