Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, was prepared to announce to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.Michelle Malkin reports the morning press conference:
"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to announce the deal. . . .
Nelson announces support at press conference. Says he is satisfied by abortion language. He reads a perfunctory statement praising Reid and White House, then says with the most passion in his voice: "I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes" made in conference.UPDATE: Dan Riehl points out the most important consideration: "What's in it for Ben?" His vote was bought, which may be the first time the phrase "thirty pieces of silver" has appeared in federal legislation.
UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
Nelson caved on abortion and sold out for an extra year of federal Medicaid subsidies.From his press conference speech:
Nelson compared the bill to the creation of Social Security and Medicare.Those "millions"? Bureaucrats. Tell your kids to forget about a business career. Bureaucracy is the future!
"I truly believe this legislation will stand the test of time," he said. "The lives of millions of Americans will be improved."
UPDATE III: Philip Klein of the American Spectator walks it forward:
Next month, the House and Senate will reconcile their bills, which will then have to pass both chambers again before President Obama can sign it, which he hopes to do before his State of the Union address. At this point, the smart money would have to be on Democrats getting it done, but there are still obstacles to reaching a final agreement."Obstacles," indeed. Ben Nelson could realize how badly he has dishonored himself and commit seppuku. Unlikely, of course, but theoretically possible.
UPDATE IV: Readers who think I'm actually advocating that Nelson engage in ritual disembowelment are mistaken. Seppuku is an expression of the shogun's honorable acknowledgement of his own dishonor. Nelson obviously has no sense of honor. He's a Democrat.
Speaking of Democrats and dishonor, what about the progressive netroots? Total punks, says Moe Lane:
I've been involved with the political blogosphere since 2002 or so, and the next time I see the left side of its leadership stand up to entrenched Democratic party interests over something important will be the first. . . . [I]f they swallowed heavily and accepted being betrayed on FISA/rendition/same-sex marriage, they’ll accept whatever monstrosity that the current ruling party comes up with with regard to health care rationing.Swallowing heavily, indeed.
UPDATE V: "Which is better, a whore or a slut?"
"If Nelson was really such a staunch pro-life advocate, why is he a member of the Democrat Party?"
UPDATE VI: (Smitty)
That's Right considers a new line of ballot suppositories. Sorry, Russ: Hugo Chavez just declared the evil of capitalism over in Copenhagen.