The end of the current session of Congress means that the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma is still in limbo, having not gotten to the full Senate. Bridenstine is being held up by a blindly partisan campaign by Democrats led by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida to deny his confirmation. Bridenstine is a young reformer whose capabilities and ideas frighten Nelson and his cohorts who are resistant to change. Fortunately, the holiday break gives the opportunity for a final push to put the congressman over the top. I suggest a three-part strategy.

Lean on Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida has been the one Republican who has “expressed concerns” about Bridenstine. Rubio has mimicked Nelson in raising questions about the congressman’s qualifications and his status as a politician. The real reason for Rubio’s opposition is that during the last presidential campaign when Rubio was running and Bridenstine was supporting Ted Cruz, the congressman said some pointed, harsh things about the junior senator from Florida.

It is time to take Rubio into a room somewhere and Bridenstine supporters in the Senate to go to work on him. What will it take for Rubio to say yes to the gentleman from Oklahoma? A personal apology? Some more funding for hurricane relief?

In any case, Rubio’s fellow senators have to do what it takes to change his mind and have him come out publically in support of Bridenstine.

Put pressure on Nelson

Several salient facts exist about Sen. Bill Nelson. First, he is a political hack. Second, his opposition to Bridenstine is unshakeable. Third, he is going to be in a tough fight for reelection as a senator, likely against the popular current governor of Florida, Rick Scott, a Republican.

With those facts in mind, an attack ad suggests itself.

The ad, which would run in local stations in Brevard County around the Kennedy Space Center, posted on YouTube, and released to Fox News, would feature images of President Trump signing the order to send Americans back to the moon, pictures of Apollo astronauts on the moon, images of Kennedy Space Center workers looking both pensive and hopeful, a flattering picture of Bridenstine, and an unflattering picture of Nelson.

The voice over would be firm and grave in its demeanor.

“President Donald Trump has recently instructed NASA to return American astronauts to the moon. In a few short years, the United States will lead a coalition of international and commercial partners in the first program of space exploration beyond low Earth orbit since the Apollo program. That program could mean an explosion of jobs and economic development here in Florida.

“The president has chosen Jim Bridenstine to become a leader of that effort as administrator of NASA. Bridenstine is a young visionary who is well qualified and has the support of both the scientific and commercial space communities and even Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Renowned space expert Mark Whittington has stated that if the Senate confirms Bridenstine, it will ‘not only be choosing a man but the vision for space exploration that he brings with him.’

“But Senator Bill Nelson is standing in the way of Jim Bridenstine’s confirmation out of sheer, partisan spite, thus jeopardizing the return to the moon and the jobs and economic development it will bring to Florida. Contact Senator Nelson and tell him to stop standing in the way of Bridenstine and the future return to the moon. This ad had been paid for by friends of Jim Bridenstine and supporters of a return to the moon.”

Make a deal with Doug Jones

Because the good people of Alabama, in their wisdom, selected Roy Moore to be the Republican candidate to fill the rest of Jeff Sessions’ term in the Senate, Democrat Doug Jones was elected instead.

Jones has been assumed to be a no vote for Bridenstine. However, he has also promised to be an independent senator who can reach across the aisle and not a lapdog for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

The NASA nomination will provide Jones an opportunity to fulfill his promise. The senior senator from Alabama should put his arm around Jones and remind him that while they are separated by party affiliation, they are united in their desire to do what is right for the NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville. Jones can duly announce his support for Bridenstine, and the gentleman from Oklahoma can be confirmed on a (barely) bi-partisan basis.