No, they're more than disappointed -- they are furious.
Take a gander at Eclectic Floridian's diary at Daily Kos. After persistently redialing to get through to Nelson's office, over the background cacaphony of other phones "ringing off the hook" he says he conveyed this message:
"Please tell the Senator that rather than run for office again, he needs to find a job in the private sector ... something that doesn't require much in the way of morals."Another commenter farther down the screen says of Nelson, "His reelection is assured -- he had nothing to fear by doing the right thing and yet he backed this horrendous legislation."
Or, read this post from the Miami-Dade blog, Stuck on the Palmetto: "In a partisan vote yesterday, Senator Bill Nelson, D-FL, sided with Republicans and voted for torture. * * * Jeebus, do I miss Bob Graham."
It's true that casting a vote which panders to the worst instincts of the electorate in red state Florida would seem to be a thin excuse -- if it ever could be an excuse -- for Nelson's vote. Although he is up for reelection in six weeks, the opposition he faces is weak at best. After all, Katherine Harris already has been deserted by top Republicans in the state. She trails Nelson by at least 18 points in the latest opinion surveys. That's a gargantuan lead as such things go.
Moreover, Nelson's campaign coffers are so full other Democrats are begging him to share the wealth. So he can't have been worried that a vote against the bill somehow might cripple his campaign financing.
Still, we did find in our own email box today no fewer than three separate solicitations from the Nelson campaign for a financial contribution. So, it's fair to conclude he's still 'running scared.'
In one sense, that's the way every incumbent should campaign if he wants to avoid an unpleasant surprise on Election Day. Does it excuse his vote in favor of S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006?
No, not in itself. Certainly not if you expect your elected officials to vote their conscience, as opposed to self-interest, when it comes to one of the most important votes in our nation's history. And there can be no doubt that the bill approved by the U.S. Senate yesterday represents an historically dangerous piece of legislation, perhaps the most egregious subversion of the U. S. Constitution since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.
As TPM blogger "Third Estate" writes today:
"This execrable piece of legislation gives the President the power to imprison American citizens without a trial or due process. It prevents the Courts from intervening, giving sole discretion to the Executive. Any person found "materially supporting" terrorism can be thrown in jail forever, without recourse to a lawyer or the courts. The interpretation of the phrase "materially supporting" is left up to the President. Furthermore, the Congress has now become the first legislative body in the history of the United States to endorse the practice of torture."But we do see two mitigating factors in Nelson's favor. One of them, surprisingly, has not been noted much and certainly not by any of the critics blogging today.