Has Harry Reid doomed the Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate? Probably. Excerpt:
You have to wonder if Harry Reid feels like an idiot yet. For years now, the Senate majority leader has been cynically protecting Democratic senators — and President Obama — from difficult votes. The rationale was pretty straightforward. He wanted to spare vulnerable Democrats named Mark — Arkansas’s Mark Pryor, Alaska’s Mark Begich and Colorado’s Mark Udall — and a few others from having to take difficult votes on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, EPA rules, and immigration reform.
The problem for the Marks and other red- or swing-state Democrats is that, having been spared the chance to take tough votes, they now have little to no evidence they’d be willing to stand up to a president who is very unpopular in their states.
Thanks to Reid’s strategy of kicking the can down the road, GOP challengers now get to say, “My opponent voted with the president 97 percent of the time.” Democrats are left screeching “war on women!” and “Koch brothers!”
There’s a lot we can criticize Harry Reid for besides hyper-partisanship in the leadership of the Senate. For example:
To say the man is a hack is to do a grave injustice to honest hacks everywhere. Harry Reid is the kind of man who gives politicians a bad name, and bear in mind that particular bar is set awfully low to begin with.
But Harry Reid (Limbaughites like to refer to him as “Dingy Harry,” a name that I admit is not entirely unwarranted) is as much symptom as cause. Politics is and always has been a nasty business – read any of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s speeches to the Roman Senate as evidence, particularly the ones about Mark Antony, who Cicero viscerally hated.
But American politics of late has gotten increasingly “ends-justify-the-means” in nature. Obamacare was passed by a parliamentary trick. The President is making deals and worse, sending troops into harm’s way without Congressional approval. The Constitution that both parties claim to revere has increasingly become a dead letter.
However, removing Harry Reid from his post as Senate Majority Leader may send some sort of a message – and on Tuesday, it’s looking likely that this is precisely what will happen.