The absolute most annoying tick of the “centrist” block of Democratic Senators is their tendency to deny their own agency in the legislative process. A set of political institutions that is and always has been entirely wrongheaded has given Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, and others vast authority over the fate of the nation. And while wielding it, the wielders have a horrifying tendency to simply deny that wielding power and making choices is what they’re doing. Here, for example, is Nelson slamming the idea of paying for health reform with higher taxes on the wealthy:
“Tax is a four-letter word” with voters, said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Even families not ranking in the top 1 percent of earners “hope they’re going to be there someday,” he said. “So they don’t necessarily think it’s fair.”
Jon Chait reminds us that we can actually just look this up:
Taxing the rich is popular. Really popular. Maybe Ben Nelson thinks it’s unfair. But if so, he should say so. He’s a US Senator! Tons of people are eager to hear what he thinks about things and understand his point of view. Instead, he just tells us that other people don’t like the idea.