Herding Cats

The title of this WaPo piece is "Democrats Stung by Dissenters"—
Democratic leaders in Congress did not expect much Republican support as they pressed President Obama's ambitious legislative agenda. But the pushback they are receiving from some of their own has come as an unwelcome surprise.

As the Senate inches closer to approving a $410 billion spending bill, the internal revolt has served as a warning to party leaders pursuing Obama's far-reaching plans for health-care, energy and education reform.
—but the more one reads, the less it sounds like "dissenters" is the appropriate phrase and the more it sounds like "self-interested d-bags" is:
Already, a pair of provisions in Obama's budget have attracted determined, if limited, Democratic opposition. One proposal would overhaul the federal student loan program to guarantee yearly increases in the Pell Grant program. That idea enjoys broad Democratic support. But to pay for the Pell Grant expansion, Obama would end federal support for private lending. And one of the major corporate providers of student loans is NelNet, a company based in Lincoln, Neb., the home state of Sen. Ben Nelson, a moderate Democrat who balked at the stimulus package and teamed up with three moderate Republicans to cut $100 billion from the final bill. Cutting off support for NelNet would cost Nebraska about 1,000 jobs, according to Nelson's office.
So his objection to the entire stimulus bill has been based on protecting 1,000 jobs in his state. Awesome.

Now, I'm not saying those 1,000 jobs aren't important; of course they are. But protecting those specific 1,000 jobs can't be more important in the long run than a package that stands to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, because if the entire economy collapses, it's going to take those 1,000 jobs with it in the end, anyway.

Which I'm certain Nelson knows; he's not an idiot. It's just that the one job he's really interested in protecting is his own.

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