‘SHAME ON YOU Ben Nelson’ for Siding With Wall Street
April 27, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) invoked the specter of his destructive “Cornhusker Kickback” health reform deal this week. The conservative blue dog lawmaker broke ranks from his Party and voted with Republicans, after a special derivatives deal designed to benefit his state’s richest constituent, Warren Buffett, was scrubbed from the Wall Street reform bill. In the procedural vote to bring the financial overhaul bill to the floor for debate, Nelson voted no, not once but twice, assisting Republicans in their obstructionist filibustering. In response, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is targeting Nelson in an online campaign, entitled “SHAME ON YOU, Ben Nelson.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is also organizing a “SHAME ON YOU,” petition and a fundraising plea to blanket the state of Nebraska with the online ad.
The petition reads:
“Sen. Ben Nelson was the only Democrat to vote with Republicans to block Wall Street reform! He voted for the status quo — more bail outs and more reckless Wall Street gambling with our money. Sign this petition telling Nelson: “SHAME ON YOU, Senator Nelson, for putting Wall Street ahead of taxpayers. Your corporate campaign contributors may be happy, but you did not do the people of Nebraska proud.”
And the fundraising plea is harsher still, comparing Nelson to a traitorous Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT):
“It’s Joe Lieberman all over again. Ben Nelson joined Republicans to block Wall Street reform. Even in Nebraska, siding with Wall Street over taxpayers — and voting to continue bailouts — is a political loser. We are going to make sure everyone in Nebraska knows Ben Nelson is a political loser — by blanketing the state with this online ad. Can you chip in $3 today?”
The wheeling and dealing Nelson, denies that he voted no with Republicans, because the carve-out exception lobbied by Warren Buffett for his company Berkshire Hathaway, one of Nelson’s largest campaign contributors, was removed from the bill. In a statement, Nelson nonsensically claims he didn’t have enough knowledge of the bill to permit his own Party to publicly debate it. Nelson said he “cannot support proceeding on a bill I haven’t seen.”
And Nelson earlier attributed his no vote to his concern for “small businesses, such as dentists and auto dealers.” But Sen. Dodd, (D-CT, the author of the Wall Street reform bill pointed out that in his talks with Nelson, dentists and auto dealers never entered into the discussion.
Nelson’s shameless shilling for special interests, disreputable as it is by itself, also allows Republicans to claim that Wall Street reform has bipartisan opposition.
As usual, Steve Benen of the Political Animal sums up Nelson’s treachery best:
“Of course, it’s not exactly a mystery as to why Ben Nelson sided with Republicans to prevent a debate on Wall Street reform. The Democratic bill includes tough new restrictions on derivatives, and Warren Buffet, a billionaire Nebraskan, has tens of billions of dollars in derivatives contracts. Buffet, not surprisingly, has been urging Nelson to help protect his business, and the senator seems inclined to do what his wealthiest constituent wants.”
Nelson and his wife own between $1.5 million to $6 million worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock.