Hail Harry Reid
Rumours of Harry Reid’s weak-kneed moderation and soft leadership have been greatly exaggerated. Right up until the summer, I was convinced that the weak link in health care reform would be the Senate leadership—Reid—and surely not Lieberman, who ended up pulling a full Souter. And while Reid still had to pay the Liebergeld to get any bill out of the Senate, at least he fought for a public option—certainly more than the president did—and didn’t coat the turncoat from Connecticut with political platitudes, as many did Olympia Snowe. Nah—Reid said in private that Lieberman double-crossed him and was ready to scuttle the less-than-ideal Senate bill just as the crazy Deaniacs had wanted. Thank god it didn’t come to that, but at least the man showed some grit, albeit in private. And here we are—on the verge of an historic law that would fundamentally change America’s health care system for the better.
The gentleman who led us to this point is none other than President Obama, and that might be Reid’s doing as well. Sneaking behind Reid’s headlining “negro” comment in the new, gossipy campaign retrospective, “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, is the claim that Reid was the one who convinced Obama to run in the first place. That, in retrospect, would have been a good thing.
As for Reid’s little foray into the sunny meadow that is race relations, the fact that the man is incredibly old excuses him from slipping up and using a rather dated term for African-Americans. It’s not quite a non-gaffe, as Kevin Drum puts it, to let slip the racial element of political calculations in the nation of Jeremiah Wright and George Allen. Nevertheless, scientists can prove that it is of higher ethical standards than the average of every singe word uttered, in public or private, by Dick Cheney.
And since the theme of this bit is credit where credit is due, hats off to George Will, beating back the braindead partisan drumbeat of Dick’s daughter:
WILL: I don’t think there’s a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it.
LIZ CHENEY: George, give me a break. I mean, talking about the color of the president’s skin...
WILL: Did he get it wrong?
CHENEY: ... and the candidate’s...
WILL: Did he say anything false?
CHENEY: ... it’s — these are clearly racist comments, George.
WILL: Oh, my, no.
And now for Liz Cheney’s thoughts on Pat Robertson’s comments that the devastating earthquake in Haiti was karma: