We have a cultural tendency to commemorate important anniversaries, and the NRSC has a new video out today “honoring” Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). The 60-second spot notes the two-year anniversary of the Cornhusker Kickback, an amendment to the proposed ObamaCare bill that meant an extra $100 million for Nebraska — a change that inexplicably addressed Nelson’s pro-life concerns over the funding of abortions in the bill. Nelson’s change of position allowed the Democrats to push ObamaCare through Congress and eventually onto the docket of the Supreme Court in this term:
Nelson has been wavering on whether to seek re-election in 2012, having become so unpopular among his constituents for this obvious payoff that he couldn’t even eat a pizza in peace in Nebraska. Pro-life groups have already begun ramping up their campaigns against Nelson:
Two anti-abortion PACs are signing on to oppose Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) as he mulls running for reelection.
The National Right to Life PAC and Nebraska Right to Life PAC both announced Wednesday they would work to defeat Nelson if he runs again in 2012. The groups cited Nelson’s support for President Obama’s health care legislation, which was crucial to its passage. Anti-abortion groups claim the legislation made way for government-subsidized abortions, despite provisions in the bill that bar federal funding from paying for abortion services.
“Ben Nelson cannot win in Nebraska without pro-life support and he won’t have it. No pro-lifer should even consider supporting Ben Nelson for re-election,” David O’Steen, the national group’s director, said in a statement.
Nelson said that attempts to pressure him into retirement would be “silly,” but that he will have a decision on 2012 soon — perhaps as soon as this week:
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) could decide whether or not to run for reelection as early as next week, he said on Tuesday.
Nelson reiterated his promise that the announcement will come “by the end of” the holiday break, but said that it could come “maybe before then.” …
Democrats have a thin bench in the state, and if Nelson retires his seat could go from a tough battle to a lost cause for Democrats.
At this point, I’m not sure whether Republicans want to force Nelson out of the race or push him into fighting back. It’s almost certain Nelson would lose in 2012, but another Democrat might have a better chance of running to Nelson’s right against a Republican challenger. Either way, don’t expect the pressure to lighten up on Nelson any time soon.