Ben Nelson Still Freaking Out Over Change Congress Ads

change congress logoI’m beginning to think I was wrong to criticize Change Congress’ latest ad on Wednesday. The anti-corruption non profit has been slamming Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, for his opposition to giving Americans the ability to choose between private insurance plans and a government-run option. Insurance companies hate the idea of a so-called “public option,” and they’ve given Nelson over $2 million in campaign cash. Change Congress has been pointing out that Nelson’s position on a public plan and his acceptance of that campaign money, taken together, create the appearance of corruption. (The fact that this even needs to be pointed out is pretty sad.) 

On Wednesday, I criticized Change Congress for focusing on the health care angle, and not the corruption charge, in their latest ad. But it seems like their strategy is still working—they still have Ben Nelson flustered and flailing. The Senator actually personally called Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim yesterday to respond to Grim’s article on the public option debate and the Change Congress ads.

Needless to say, it’s personal responses like the one to Grim that will give this story traction and get it moving in the mainstream media. The story has already received a decent amount of newspaper attention in Nebraska. If it really gets moving, Change Congress might actually get closer to their goal: convincing Nelson to support reform that will allow him to finance his campaigns without relying on donations from the very industries he’s responsible for regulating.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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