So Senator Ben Nelson (nominal D from Nebraska) has decided to retire from the Senate, not seeking re-election in 2012.
Look, I can live with Blue Dog Democrats, people who would under any other circumstance rightly be labeled "Republican" but for party affiliation. The Blue Dog breed is necessary in order to keep a hand in the poker game that is electoral politics in the heartland, and besides, a little dissent is a good thing. It keeps ideas refreshed by challenging their underpinnings regularly.
What I'm having a problem with is the strategy of how to deploy them, and Nelson is a prime example of the kind of obstructionist Democrat that we can do without.
For example, his vote on the Bush administration's godawful bankruptcy reform bill was a signal to debt-holders everywhere they were fucked for life. His insertion of a measure into healthcare reform guaranteeing that Federal healthcare funds would not be used for abortions was a tricky little device that ultimately had no impact on the final measure as enacted, since his "60th vote" would no longer be needed, but it flew in the face of progressive orthodoxy and cost him support in his own state of Nebraska.
Ironically, the measure he finally agreed to would have allowed for abortions, just not for a Federal mandate imposed on the states or for public funding thru healthcare reform. I'm not sure I oppose that too strenuously, altho I can see why iy would offend people who do.
The question now becomes, who in this very red state of Nebraska can the Democrats run for a seat held for decades by Democrats (the preceding Senator was Bob Kerrey.)
And the obvious choice to replace Nelson would be the aforementioned Kerrey.
So as I said, don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ben. We can get someone better.