Turns out he’s not a fan of new taxes or government takeovers of industry. Dude.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Monday he would vote against a reconciliation package that included changes to healthcare reform and student lending legislation.

Nelson said he opposed the package because the student lending bill would make the federal government the originator of student loans, replacing private lending institutions. Nelson said that would cost 30,000 jobs.

Nelnet, a major student lending company, is based in Nebraska.

Nelson said he also opposed the reconciliation package because of higher payroll taxes it would place on unearned income.

The revenue would go into general health funds and Nelson said he would prefer to reserve that source to shore up potential Medicare shortfalls in the future.

And so it came to be that the 60th vote for Harry Reid’s O-Care bill, which set us on the long and winding road to a public option and eventually single-payer health care, decided that replacing private entities with federal administrators isn’t such a hot idea. Good work, Ben. Let’s hope the pizzerias in Omaha now appreciate your genius. You’ll be pleased to know that Blanche Lincoln — also the 60th vote, natch — has similarly decided to take a very bold stand for freedom by voting no on a bill that makes the horrendous boondoggle she voted for in December marginally worse.

Bear in mind that if reconciliation in the Senate breaks down, the Cornhusker Kickback will end up as the law of the land. Exit question: Think I’m kidding about us being on a road to the public option? Think again.