Give Bill Nelson credit for moxy. After five years of lying like a carp in the Washington weeds, he turns up in Florida at election time shaking a tin cup and warning of a right-wing extremist takeover if he's not returned to office.
This is Sen. Empty Record we're talking about here.
Twelve years in the U.S. Senate and what is Nelson's most significant assignment? He's chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth Subcommittee. It's not by accident Florida's senior senator isn't on the upper chamber's A-list.
HideRather than answer for the tough fights he sat out during the last five consequential years -- from taking it to Wall Street to saving Social Security to preserving NASA for Florida -- the 69-year-old Democrat resorts to Progress Florida-style cyber panhandling.
That's the nasty stuff. The begging-letter campaign employed to scare the daylights -- and a steady flow of cash -- out of the party base. The latest Nelson letter carries a headline -- "A new potential Republican opponent from the extreme right has entered the race."
It is the same Bill Nelson who made a repeated point of calling for greater civility between left and right. Condemning ideological boxes -- that's his thing. It has been a big crowd pleaser among independent voters wherever he goes.
“The finger pointing and hyper-partisanship has to stop,” Nelson said, speaking at a 2011 conference in Florida. “Democrats need to see tea partiers as something other than debt-limit, hostage-taking Republicans. ... We’ve got to stop this attack madness. We have to bring civility back to the public square ... The people of our country are fed up with this nonsense. I tell you I am fed up with it. It is frustrating.”