There are few politicians more cavalier with the truth and more loathsome than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He delighted in telling a bald-faced untruth about Mitt Romney, namely that he did not pay taxes for 10 years. He now says the Koch brothers didn’t pay corporate taxes. He calls the brothers, who provide jobs and legally participate in the American political system, “un-American.” His self-enrichment in Nevada is legendary, and he reportedly has been under investigation in a corruption probe.
In the Senate, he changed 200-plus years of tradition to supposedly break gridlock in the confirmation process (now even Dems won’t approve the president’s embarrassing nominees). But he uses the procedure known as “filling the tree” to prevent amendments. He refuses to bring to a vote the overwhelmingly popular Iran sanctions bill. His only bipartisan instincts seem to be in hurling racial remarks, whether about President Obama or questioning Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s intellect.
Reid forever earned the left’s admiration by jamming through Obamacare on strict party lines using a questionable procedure. Now those who dispute the law’s ill effects are “lying.” Reid survives because for Democrats he is, in FDR’s words, a bastard, but their bastard. Moreover, if the MSM and liberal spinners acknowledged his misdeeds, the entire meme that the Republicans are solely responsible for political dysfunction would crumble. Reid’s venom and procedural machinations, if fully explored and condemned, would certainly correct that misnomer.
Far-right Republicans who are in the business of grievance-mongering and fundraising choose to make Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — the pro-life, pro-First Amendment fiscal tightwad — the subject of their ire rather than Reid. It’s a measure of how destructive that segment of the GOP is that they’d rather vilify a Republican with them 80 percent (or more) of the time than go after Reid hammer and tongs for his serial misrepresentations, hyper-partisanship and far-left agenda.
In a sense, Reid is the worst possible Senate majority leader at the worst time possible. This president is famously averse to working with Republicans and all too ready to name-call and cast aspersions on their motives. With Reid there, there is zero chance for any bipartisan action or for a pause on nonstop political screeching. Reid and Obama reinforce each other’s worst qualities.
The Republicans are probably heading for a big win in the 2014 elections, with Obamacare front and center. But Senate Republicans should also make sure every voter understands that the self-described “moderate” red-state Democrats put and keep Reid there, allowing him to wreak havoc on the truth, on the Senate and on political debate in this country. Unlike the Kochs, he really is responsible for the dismal tone and hyper-partisanship of national politics; a demotion to minority leader would certainly be an improvement in the body politic.