On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews spent over two and a half times more on trumpeting the need for gun control and chastising gun owners, the National Rifle Association, and ordinary Americans over the issue than covering the deadly Florida school shooting, and its victims. All told, Matthews spent 38 minutes and 46 seconds on segments or parts of ones discussing the issue with guests but only 14 minutes and 48 seconds on the actual shooting.



Did you know that the future of Obamacare relies on the credibilty of former Senator Ben "Cornhusker Kickback" Nelson? Yes, the Huffington Post and other liberal media outlets seem to think that what Nelson tells us was going on in his mind at the time that Obamacare passed is crucial to the outcome of the King vs Burwell case at the Supreme Court.



In an item which still has a breaking news tag, Josh Funk at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) call retiring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson a "centrist," and almost seemed to mourn over "an increasingly polarizing climate" which made it clear that Nelson's reelection would have been a steep uphill fight. Of course, there was no mention of the infamous Cornhusker kickback which was offered and then withdrawn in a firestorm of controversy in an Obama administration attempt to win Nelson's support for the passage of ObamaCare -- which they got anyway.

Here are several paragraphs from Funk's report and the immediately following breaking news item:



Senate Democrats who didn't vote for President Obama's jobs bill, consider yourself warned -- Ed Schultz is coming after you. More specifically, he's coming after part of you.

On his radio show Oct. 13, Schultz lashed out at senators Ben Nelson and Jon Tester for siding with Republicans against the legislation, helping ensure its defeat. (audio clips after page break)



It seems that every time I see something possibly redeeming put forth by the Associated Press, they figure out a way to ruin it.

Take Larry Margasak's report this afternoon on John Boehner's attempts at persuading House Republican members to support his various attempts at debt-ceiling legislation during the few two weeks. (I've made my general unhappiness with the ultimate result pretty plain here, and that is not the topic of this post.)

Maragasak notes Boehner's refusal to engage in "carrot-and-stick" persuasion, observes that it's "a major transformation from the not too distant past," and spends the rest of the report comparing the Republicans under Boehner to the Denny Hastert-Tom Delay regime. It's as if the years from 2007 through 2010, featuring the Nancy Pelosi-Harry Reid regime's Louisiana Purchase of Mary Landrieu, the Cornhusker Kickback to Nebraska's Ben Nelson, the $3.5 billion "clean energy" boondoggle to Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and so many, many others, never happened and don't exist. What a journalistic disgrace.



If you look at the description of yesterday afternoon's U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote Number 278 ("A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to clarify and improve certain provisions relating to the removal of litigation against Federal officers or agencies to Federal courts, and for other purposes."), you'd never know it had anything to do with illegal immigration.

But it did. It was a cloture vote (60 needed to get the measure to the Senate floor) about about the so-called "DREAM Act," granting de facto amnesty to a vast number of illegal immigrants for entering college or joining the military. It has been a Democratic Party-"inspired" initiative with heavy Republican opposition from the get-go. It could easily have passed if the Democrats had been able to hold their membership together while picking off a couple of squishy Republicans.

They got their squishes: Republicans Murkowski (AK), Lugar (IN), and Bennett (UT) voted yes. That should have given the measure 61 votes. But Democrats Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Nelson (NE), Pryor AR), and Tester (MT) voted no, while Manchin (WV) did not vote. The measure's 55-41 support was not enough to move it to the next step.

So whose fault was it that the DREAM Act failed? A bitter, unbylined Associated Press report give us the wire service's "objective" take:



California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday accused Senate Democrats of illegally buying a vote to get healthcare reform passed.

Talking with NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press," Schwarzenegger blasted the California Congressional delegation for "representing Nebraska and not us" during December's healthcare deliberations.

Taking the matter further, the Governor said, "[T]he Senate just voted for a healthcare bill that is saying basically that California should pay for Nebraska so that Nebraska never has to pay any extra money." 

He added, "[T]hat's the biggest rip-off. I mean, that is against the law to buy a vote...if you do that in Sacramento, you know, you will be sued" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):



Not that this will come as any great shock, but Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), the lone Democrat holdout against the current iteration of healthcare reform, announced Saturday he will vote for the bill.

Also unsurprising: much like Mary "Louisiana Purchase" Landrieu (D-La.) before him, Nelson sold his vote and his very soul for some financial benefits to his state.

As Politico reported moments ago:



Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.

"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"

Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:



In the wake of Saturday's Senate vote to move forward with debate on controversial healthcare reform legislation, CNN's John King may have posed one of the best questions asked on any of Sunday's political talk shows:

To get Senator [Mary] Landrieu's vote, just to proceed, just to go across the starting line, language was inserted in the bill that gives her state up to $300 million. To get Senator [Ben] Nelson's vote, [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] agreed to drop a request that you take away the antitrust exemptions for insurance companies...[Is healthcare reform] important enough to buy votes?

This marvelous question was asked on Sunday's "State of the Union." In attendance were Democrat Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Better still, King pointed a finger at President Obama who promised during the campaign "to change the way Washington works" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Breitbart TV):



Yesterday, CBS News.com's Political Hotsheet blog reported on "Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and the Politics of the Health Care Vote."  It notes:
The focus is also on some Democrats with doubts, notably Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Nebraska's Ben Nelson, who aren't up but do represent very red states, and Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, who is, and could face a tough test in 2010.

The piece later states that Nelson:

has cast many a conservative vote in representing a state that, while historically willing to send Democrats to the Senate, is nonetheless firmly Republican overall.

Many a conservative vote?  According to interest group ratings compiled by Project Vote Smart, for 2008 the American Conservative Union assigned Nelson a rating of 16.  The National Taxpayers Union gave him a rating of F. Nelson received a 100 from the liberal AFL-CIO for 2008 and an A for 2007-2008 from the liberal National Education Association.  For 2007, Nelson racked up a 5 with Americans for Tax Reform.



After a pattern of attacking Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, on a nightly basis, one of the strategies is becoming apparent - MSNBC is in need of a boogeyman to give a face to the opposition of these radical steps being undertaken to fundamentally change health care in the United States.

So rather than attack where the opposition is wrong on a policy level, MSNBC "Countdown" fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell is going to apply one of the tactics from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" to promote a dramatic shift in the U.S. health care system - "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

"In our number five story on the countdown tonight, the Congressional Budget Office finds that it would leave 18 million people uninsured and the government-run health insurance plan will probably charge consumers premiums that are quote, ‘Somewhat higher, higher than average premiums for the private plans,' end quote," O'Donnell said on the Oct. 30 broadcast of "Countdown." "This is a devastating conclusion for a plan being sold not just as a low-cost option for consumers, especially poor consumers, but as somehow driving private insurance premiums lower."