Christmas 2012 has come early! Democratic Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson reportedly will announce that he's not seeking reelection, a move that will disappoint precisely zero people in the United States of America.
The Senate has had better members than Ben Nelson. When Barack Obama came to office and liberals hoped to do liberal things, Nelson was always there to help work against his party, for no one's gain. It has not been easy these past few years to be a Democratic vote from a deep-red state like Nebraska, but the cover he sought for himself typically made things worse for everyone.
He'll always be tied to his role in the health care reform debate, in which he and a few other conservative Democrats wielded just enough power to weed out some of the bill's most delectable liberal provisions — the public option, namely. Nelson, however, needed more goodies to secure his vote, and thus was born the "Cornhusker Kickback" — a carve-out in the Senate bill that ensured Nebraska, and Nebraska alone, would never have to pay an additional dime for the state's Medicaid expansion. Voters in Nebraska didn't reward him for this, however, and instead he merely managed to establish himself, the Democratic party, and any iteration of health care reform as a nexus of Washington's most crooked instincts.
So it's better for him to quit now rather than suck up an inordinate amount of the party's campaign funds in what one would have to bet was a losing reelection effort.
Besides, maybe popular ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey will run instead! That's a much easier route to preserving a Senate seat than by putting up with Ben Nelson's horrible everything for perpetuity.
[Image via AP]