Breaking: Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson To Leave Democratic Party

I’ve spent the last couple hours on the phone with friends who work on Capitol Hill, and it sounds like things are pretty set: Bill Nelson, Florida’s senior senator, will announce at a major press conference this afternoon that he is leaving the Democratic Party. It sounds like he won’t join the GOP but will caucus with them as an Independent.

A friend who works for the Senate Committee on Commerce, of which Nelson chairs (for now) a subcommittee, says the Senator is ticked off about what he sees as the partisan behavior of Democratic leaders and is scared that Republicans will win back the Senate this year. Although most political analysts think that’s slightly out of reach of even a GOP wave election, Nelson must not be taking any chances, though this seems an odd way to stay in the majority party.

Florida’s Nelson, unlike the chamber’s other Nelson, has never been known as a right-winger, but he’s no hardcore progressive, either. This is a shock no one saw coming, but maybe we should have. Nelson threatened to sue the DNC in 2008 over the Florida primary/delegates debacle. He calls himself the chamber’s leading expert on NASA, and NASA’s previous big defender on Capitol Hill was one Tom DeLay. He campaigned in 2006 as a bipartisanship figure and was ranked as one of the party’s five most conservative Senators that year (though his score has since increased, perhaps explaining why this move catches everyone off guard).

I, like most Democrats will be, am pissed. This is an outright betrayal of the voters who elected Nelson on the premise that he was a Democrat, and claiming that this will help him keep governing after November 2010 is a real crock. Democrats, especially after the passage of the health bill, have a much better chance this year than many give us credit for. And seriously, how nuts is it for a pro-choicer who voted for the health care bill to join the GOP now, with the Tea Party claiming even Utah’s Bob Bennett is too liberal? Nelson will probably join the Snowe-Collins wing of his new party, and that’s like suicide today. Duh. Having already lost MA-Sen it’s not like this is a big blow to our numbers, but I’m still pissed and confused. It’s betrayal and it’s stupid, pure and simple.

We’ll have more on this as it develops, but for now, I’ve got two concluding thoughts. First, it will be interesting to see what affect, if any, this development will have on Florida’s Senate race. One wonders if Nelson and Charlie Crist will start a third party together? And second, I’m sure Bill Nelson’s a great guy and a good Senator. With apologies to his staff for any heartburn these five paragraphs may have caused them...

Happy April Fool’s Day.

Tags: April Fools, Bill Nelson (all tags)



So am I

Florida and the Democratic Party are incompatible. They can't both be on my list simulataeously, so I'm with Nelson 111%!

by QTG 2010-04-01 03:14AM | 1 recs

You ALMOST had me believeing this, until you gave his reasoning.



by rduckham 2010-04-01 06:48AM | 0 recs

Yeah, that's definently thing, but it was the best I could come up with for someone like him. I could've done better if I'd gone for a more obvious name like Ben Nelson or Blanche Lincoln, but was afraid if the name was an obvious one like that some folks might not read through the whole article and see that it was a joke.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-01 12:48PM | 0 recs
Maybe a little stale now?

I didn't find this funny, but then maybe I just have a stick up my ass. Because you have to be fresh fallen off the turnip truck to not be skeptical about anything you read on April Fools Day. But you know it is now April 3rd, and unless you want to triple down on that apology to Senator Nelson's staffers about the potential heartburn this could cause them maybe you could either take this down or modify the headline, or maybe put in a new lede giving people an alert that this was the day before yesterday's joke?

by Bruce Webb 2010-04-03 12:45PM | 0 recs
RE: Maybe a little stale now?

"Thu Apr 01, 2010" appears immediately below the words "Bill Nelson." People should be able to recognize they're reading something that wasn't posted today. And besides, the words "A Friend" link to Weird Al's website. I don't feel bad for anyone gullible enough to miss the clues.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-03 01:04PM | 0 recs
You had me going there!

Well done.

by desmoinesdem 2010-04-01 07:39AM | 0 recs
RE: You had me going there!

I had already written a quick hit before I realized I had been had.

Thank God I can delete my quick hits....

by fladem 2010-04-01 10:18AM | 0 recs
You goddamned bastard, you just about ruined my YEAR!......

You had me hook, line, and sinker.  And "sink" describes my feeling as I kept reading.  I was halfway down the post before I remembered it's April Fool's Day, and even after seeing your AFD reminder at the bottom I was still thinking 25% odds this was a serious post.

Ugh, I just got my cholesterol down to normal without medication last year for the first time since my 30s, please don't do this to me!  :-)

by DCCyclone 2010-04-01 08:11AM | 0 recs
RE: You goddamned bastard, you just about ruined my YEAR!......

Totally agree... I was FUMING until the end....  You may have just cut several years off my life!!!!!!


Nicely done.

by bannana873 2010-04-01 10:41AM | 0 recs
RE: You goddamned bastard, you just about ruined my YEAR!......

I'm surprised no one caught on in the second paragraph, where the words "a friend" link to the official website of Weird Al Yankovic...

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-01 12:50PM | 0 recs
I'm a Floridian although I was skeptical you got me.

Good bit. Just enough truth to seem plausible. Nothing like feeling the fool on St. Fools day.

by eddieb 2010-04-01 08:33AM | 0 recs
What's sad is

The headline and intial paragraph is believeable. Years ago I punched the ballot for Ben Jones over Pat Swindall in two elections with giddy glee  each time even though Ben lost the first time around and I didn't think Ben Jones was all that liberal. 

Now living in Florida, I vote for Nelson, and will vote for Nelson, but not even Katharine Harris made me feel good about it. Mostly I felt used. And I loathed Harris a lot more than I loathed Swindall. 

by molly bloom 2010-04-01 08:45AM | 0 recs
Ya got me

I didn't twig to the end. It's pretty early still in California -- That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it. Well played, sir!

by 1arryb 2010-04-01 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: There is an ora of dejavu

Will we be hearing this annoucement from Ben Nelson in 2012 or soon after the 2010 election if the GOP come close to taking back 7 seats. The likely chances are 3-5 but if the house comes close to flipping the senate will flip.

Ben Nelson is vulnerable in 2012 and there is no way of knowing what he will do, change parties or retire, he will likely lose in 2012.

by olawakandi 2010-04-01 09:44AM | 0 recs
by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-01 12:56PM | 0 recs

I going to come out and say I was gullible until the last line of this diary



This reminds me of the time I saw an article titled "Bush V. Gore Overturned" and got super excited, only to realize it came from The Onion

by Chuckie Corra 2010-04-01 10:33AM | 0 recs

Yeah, I would never do what the Onion did. ninthleveldan's comment below notwithstanding, I hate to give folks false hope only to yank it away... that's cruel... I prefer kicking them down so they feel even better than before when I pull them back up; relief rather than disappointment.

I probably overthink my humor...

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-01 12:52PM | 0 recs
You had me

Well done--and maybe a sign of my political paranoia as well as gullibility.

by Thaddeus 2010-04-01 10:55AM | 0 recs
You suck

You really suck.

Thanks for teh LOL.

by Spiffarino 2010-04-01 10:58AM | 0 recs
good riddance

I am not pissed... I was HOPEFUL!

Bill Nelson is a repulsive opportunist and a liar; one of the worst Democratic Senators progressives could imagine. Find me one piece of major legislation in the past 10 years where he has voted for progressive change. He supported warrantless wiretapping, illegal rendition, supports the use of waterboarding, helped weaken health insurance reform, voted for endless funding for both wars, voted for oil drilling... the list goes on.

Whoever challenges him in the 2012 Democratic Primary will get my immediate and vocal support.

I will max out my credit card to replace him with a more progressive candidate. If Nelson left the Democratic party I would be only too happy to help him pack up his office and kick his ass down the hall

by ninthleveldan 2010-04-01 12:15PM | 0 recs
Waterboarding... too good for you.   I'd sentence you to community service working in the Cheney household.

by InigoMontoya 2010-04-01 01:50PM | 0 recs
Still waiting

for Blanche Lincoln's announcement she is joining the Democratic Party

by alamedadem 2010-04-01 02:24PM | 0 recs
RE: Still waiting

lol.  But I'd like to see some better organizing for Halter's campaign.  It isn't happening yet in the polls, despite Lincoln running both for and against the Demcocratic patry's agenda in a Democratic primary.

by West of the Fields 2010-04-02 01:02AM | 0 recs
One less farting dog in the tent

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Maybe someday the "anybody with a 'D' after their name will do" crowd will just shut up and help primary such DemoCreeps as the Nelsons, Landrieu, Lincoln, et al.

by masswaster 2010-04-02 03:00PM | 0 recs
RE: One less farting dog in the tent

I take it you didn't read all the way to the end of the article.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-02 04:01PM | 0 recs
RE: One less farting dog in the tent

lol, had to read all the way to the bottom of the thread to find one of those (which I was looking for).

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-04-04 11:05AM | 0 recs
You had me

I was hoping that someone would get me on an April fools gag.  The Google / Topeka didn't get me for a minute


by Moonwood 2010-04-05 12:11PM | 0 recs


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