Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gang of One

Politico today has a profile piece about Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson as one of the Democrats that President Obama will also need to woo for the passage of the Stimulus/Recovery bill in the Senate. You remember Senator Nelson, right? From the (in)famous Gang of 14?

As the only state-wide Democrat in elected office, Nelson tries to protect himself by voting mostly Republican, yet caucusing with the Democrats. He even highlights his support from President Bush on his website.

Nelson describes his view on the stimulus bill:

“As a governor, I was always kidded about [and] referred to as being as tight as three coats of paint,” he said. “And I want to be tight with taxpayers’ money. So I want to make sure we get the best bang for the buck.”

Sounds to me like he might be painting himself into a corner. At some point, when you try to please everyone, you represent no one, and irritate everyone. Nelson likes to claim he takes a “common sense” approach to governing. If he’s serious about helping his state, he needs to come to the table with real ideas, not just Republican-fed talking points and the threat of a “no” vote.

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