The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is kicking up its heels over the news that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is retiring, making that seat almost surely a Republican pickup. But in an e-mail to the press, the NRSC takes particular delight in the fact that its Democratic counterpart threw a ton of money down the drain. The e-mail reads in part:
It speaks volumes that even after national Democrats poured roughly $1.5 million dollars into Nebraska in the off-year, at the expense of other vulnerable seats in Montana, Missouri and elsewhere, Senator Nelson recognized that his support for President Obama’s reckless tax-and-spend agenda left him in a grave political situation.
It’s a credit to Ben Nelson for him to acknowledge that reality but it has to trouble Democrat party strategists to recognize that every other Senate Democrat facing re-election has voted for that same liberal agenda as well.
“This retirement deals a real blow to the Democrats’ hopes of holding the majority and it’s an even deeper blow to their hopes of holding the Nebraska Senate seat.”
Republicans are quick to point to voices on the left who have been grousing about the money thrown at Nelson. The lefty Web site Firedoglake has it right: “Nelson was going to lose next year. Polling showed him consistently under 40% in Nebraska, and unlike in some other states, increased turnout from the Presidential race would not help him.” But that’s money now not available to help save Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) or the Virginia Senate seat.
Nelson should be an object lesson for Democrats in red states. If you are going to vote with your liberal leadership on big issues (as Nelson infamously did on ObamaCare), you’re likely going to be out of step with your constituents. That explains why Democrats such as Sen. Claire McCaskill (Missouri) and Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) are scrambling to show their independence from the White House and Senate leadership.