They’re largely right about Nelson’s disgraceful buyout, but missing the bigger picture.
Nelson is a self-professed conservative Democrat and a fiscal conservative. He repeatedly tells us how concerned he is about cost of any and all bills, he repeatedly intones gravely about the budget and out of control spending. Who could forget this quote from during the stimulus debate:
After receiving a nearly $900 billion bill passed by the House of Representatives, Senator Nelson led a bipartisan group of Senators in “trimming the fat, frying the bacon, and milking all the sacred cows” to cut out $108 billion in unnecessary spending and refocus the package on job creation and economic revitalization. Nelson’s efforts enabled a $787 billion package to pass, delivering $1.1 billion in investment in Nebraska, and hundreds of millions in tax relief for Nebraska’s families and businesses.
In fact, Ben Nelson doesn’t want you to forget it, because it is featured on his Senate website.
But that is while the cameras are running. When they are off, he has never found a tax cut he didn’t like and a spending bill that aided Nebraska that he could say no to. Not only did he not just love the Bush 2001 tax cuts, he loved them so much he supported the reconciliation process for them. In 2003, he was one of the 50 he voted for the second round of tax cuts.
So, yes, the Medicaid bribe for Ben Nelson is a disgrace and shameful in so many ways. It is truly outrageous and a scathing indictment of our current system and the ridiculous hoops that have to be jumped through to get anything done in the Senate. Someone truly concerned with budgetary matters and the health and security of the nation would have said- “If fully funding this program is that valuable to Nebraska, it probably has some value across the other 49 states, and I should work to secure that funding and find a way to pay for it with budget cuts elsewhere or a new funding mechanism.”
But he didn’t, did he? He extorted what he could for his state, didn’t care how that money was paid for, and went before the cameras to wax eloquent about abortion.
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Because that is just how the “fiscal conservatives” in both parties roll.