Wednesday, 13 May 2009

HuffPo: Nelson fails to recruit opponents to public option

As we noted on 3 May, Nebraska's Senator Nelson, who gets great gobs of money from the insurers, opposes Obama's effort to establish a public option for health care.

Now the Huffington Post is reporting that his effort to round up like-minded Senators to block the public option has gone nowhere.

So far, the Senators are all keeping their options open, because unlike Nelson they're smart and they understand strategy. Even the wobbly Baucus is keeping his cards close to his vest. The Senator who becomes the 60th one to approve Obama's plan will be Obama's friend for life, and Senators 51 through 59 will be on the Obama Christmas card list too (or, if Obama goes the budget-reconciliation route, we're talking 50 votes not 60). So the smarter Senators don't want to commit themselves to defying Obama when there's nothing to be gained by it, particularly this early in the game.

Contrariwise, Nelson probably will no longer be allowed to join in any of Obama's reindeer games for a while -- not after openly defying the President on the centerpiece initiative of his entire legislative program. Dems will avoid Nelson like the plague, and Republicans and the insurers will hold him in contempt because he couldn't deliver.

In 2012 Nelson will be 71 years old, and running for reelection in a red state. Hmm...

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