Sunday, June 05, 2005

Keep the Benator

A Charles Babington piece in today's Washington Post profiles Nebraska Democratic senator Ben "The Benator" Nelson, noting that Republican hopes for attaining a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate may depend on ousting Nelson from his seat in next fall's midterm elections.

I can think of very few things that would be worse for the Republican Party than a 60-plus majority. Not to mention for centrist principles and the country at large. Thankfully, Nelson's constituents don't seem inclined at all to get rid of him: Babington writes that support for the Benator's centrist ways in Nebraska has been effusive, and that Nelson "is proving that red-state Democrats can still win fans by sticking to the political center and acting as can-do problem solvers who put pragmatism above party."

With the oft-repeated credo "I'll support the president when I can, oppose when I must. I'll always look for a compromise and solution when possible, and I won't obstruct," Nelson has staked out a position right smack-dab in the center of the political spectrum, and since coming to Washington has been a strong force for centrist values and the search for common ground (most recently as one of the prime movers in the Gang of 14 compromise).

I can't say that I always agree with him (he's significantly more conservative than I am) - but I'm glad that Nelson is in the Senate, and I hope that he's there for many years to come.

3 Comments:

At 7:10 PM, Blogger EG said...

Can you imagine the Senate in 2006 with a 60 seat Republican majority? The religious conservative wing of the party would declare the entire country theirs.

 
At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

I'd take a Bolton at Turtle Bay if it kept a Ben Nelson in the Senate.

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Kal said...

Well, a 60 member majority would be self-destructive, and would force a quick course-correction.

As a republican moderate (with a serious libertarian bent, but who believes in certain governmental necessities -- sure, not completely reconcilable, but whose political positions are?) I prefer our party as a strong minority congressional and presidential party, able to blunt some of the more wasteful impulses of the democratic party, but not in control of the legislature.

Here's my thesis: when you are in charge of the legislature, eventually you relize all the action is in the executive branch of government, and you start looking for things to do. If the republican majority was going to be a true small-government republican majority, that would be fine. But they get antsy being in charge and doing nothing, so they come up with things to do. These things range from the absurdly inappropriate (Schiavo) to big-government conservatism at its worst (tax cuts plus nanny-statism in the guise of homeland security).

 

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