The Washington Post continues its attacks on Democratic Senators who dare to have reservations about the various health care reform bills the leadership throws together. This piece about Senator Ben Nelson isn’t nearly as nasty as the one the Post ran on Joe Lieberman. However, Post-man Paul Kane does manage to accuse Nelson of insincerity and opportunism.
Nelson’s deepest reservations about the legislation pertain to abortion, and specifically the prospect that those receiving federal health-insurance subsidies will be able to buy policies that include abortion services. Kane suggests that Nelson’s concern is politically, as well as morally, based. He sniffs that Nelson is “fully aware of how the [abortion] issue colored the politics of his conservative-leaning state” and notes that Nelson has seen large leads evaporate in the final weeks of political campaigns “as some antiabortion groups urged Christian conservatives to oppose having another Democrat in the Senate.”
This may be true, but it doesn’t constitute evidence that Nelson’s concerns about a fundamentally moral issue are politically based, as Kane invites his leaders to suppose.
Kane also accuses Nelson of being a “show horse,” who “never hesitates to get his message out to the assembled media, ending up literally and figuratively the man in the middle.” If Nelson is a “show horse” who gets his message out to the media, this would differentiate him from perhaps three of his 99 Senate colleagues.
When Lindsey Graham bucks party orthodoxy, the mainstream media consistently praises him as a thoughtful maverick. When Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson do so, their motives are attacked. That’s the price they must pay for, in the words of headlline for Kane’s story, “complicat[ing] support for reform.”
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