Now that the Senate Democrats have apparently appeased Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) by dropping the public option and its recent epigone, Medicare expansion, there remains only one seeming Democratic holdout to those 60 votes needed to get that healthcare monstrosity passed: Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Nelson’s not only a fiscal moderate but he’s also the author of the failed amendment to the bill that would have banned funding for abortions–and he has vowed not to approve any health bill that provides for taxpayer-subsidized abortions.
No matter–for now (according to the Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb), the Dem establishment is reportedly leaning on Nelson in a different way: threatening to close Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska if Nelson doesn’t vote the White House way:
Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a “naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson’s vote.” They are “threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?” asked the Senate staffer.
Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.
Isn’t that nice? White House blackmail.
Finder’s Fee: Hot Air