EVEN BEN NELSON GETS TIRED OF ‘RIDICULOUS’ GOP TACTICS…. For much of the left, Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska can be exasperating. He’s easily the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, and with Nelson worried about his re-election prospects in 2012, he seems increasingly willing to ignore center-left priorities while cozying up to Republicans.

But even Ben Nelson has his limits.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson lamented Republican obstructionism during the lame-duck session in a Friday evening appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

“I can say that blocking the 9-11 money to many Americans … that’s just outrageous. To hold the military hostage blocking the defense authorization bill … is ridiculous,” Nelson told host Chris Matthews.

Nelson was careful to say that he “happens to agree” with part of the GOP agenda but criticized the opposing party for members’ tactics.

“It may have worked as a good tactic … to win the last set of elections, but I don’t think it can hold for the next two years,” Nelson said of Republican efforts to hold up virtually all other legislation until the Bush tax cuts are extended.

Markos Moulitsas noted that he’s “never seen Ben Nelson speak so negatively” about Republicans.

Neither have I. Nelson wasn’t just expressing disagreement, he was using words people like me usually use: “ridiculous,” “outrageous,” “hostage,” etc.

I don’t really expect Nelson to channel this frustration into a more reliable voting record, but the fact that he’s frustrated at all is oddly reassuring.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.