Monday, December 21, 2009

Nelson's sellout on health won't play in Nebraska

By Chris Stirewalt | Political Editor | December 21, 2009

Nelson is part of a pack of Democrats who said they would never vote for a bill with a government insurance program. He stood out because of his ardent and oft-repeated objections to any federal dollars subsidizing insurance policies that covered elective abortions. Landrieu and other moderate Democrats raised strenuous fiscal objections, but bringing up abortion in the Senate is like announcing that you have a bomb in an airport. People take notice.

In the end, though, Nelson treated abortion like any other of the dozens of shoddy little deals that have been the hallmark of the legislation. The final abortion compromise that won Nelson's support was not substantially different than the one he had despaired of the week before. The change was that Nelson got free Medicare money for his state and some stroking for his own ego.

Landrieu, who holds the same Senate seat that Huey Long once did, will fly home to New Orleans with her head held high. I suspect Nelson's return to Omaha will not be so triumphal.

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