Over the past couple of year’s I’ve offered up a few examples of Harry Reid’s antics and acrimony, flip-flops and angry outbursts, back-stabbing and just plain odd behavior.
On Sunday, former Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick launched his column on Reid with this rather — I thought — obvious but salient observation:
“When contemplating Harry Reid, it’s a mistake to attach extraordinary tactical meaning to his actions, or to give him the benefit of the doubt when he blurts out weird things.
“There is no deep side to Harry Reid. What you see is what you get. To understand the Senate majority leader the way longtime Nevadans do, one must quickly come to the realization that he’s got the grace and instincts of an outhouse rat.”
Harry Reid is no evil genius moving the Washington pawns like a chess-master, he is merely a human pinball bouncing from flipper to post, plowing down obstacles in his way. He is driven not by guile and cunning, but by whim and caprice.
That seems to be the theme of a piece in this week’s The Weekly Standard by Michael Warren titled “A Small Man in a Big Job: The petty reign of Harry Reid.”
Warren calls Reid “odd, temperamental, mercurial, obstinate, and rude,” a man who says things that “make you cringe.”
From there Warren provides a litany of anecdotes to support his description.
The magazine article notes that Reid not only is mean, crass and confrontational, he hires staffers who display similar traits — as this former editor can attest from the too frequent shouting matches over coverage of the senator from Searchlight.
Warren’s physical description of Reid includes: “His large hands, worn down by his years working in the Nevada mines as a young teenager, protrude awkwardly from his skinny suit jacket.”
Reid’s official biography mentions Reid as a small boy accompanying his father to the mines but fails to ever mention him actually working in the mines as a teenager. Perhaps.
Here are a few snippets from the article:
“Even his ostensible allies aren’t spared Reid’s nastiness. At a recent Capitol press conference with fellow Senate Democratic leaders, Reid joked about New York senator Chuck Schumer’s weight. Schumer was displaying a chart on a small piece of paper to the gathered members of the media. ‘I was told in second grade to hold it under your chin,’ Schumer said.
“’Chuck, you’re a lot older, though,’ Reid broke in. ‘Which chin?’”
“In his six years as Democratic majority leader, Reid has done more institutional damage to the Senate than any leader in history. Under his leadership, particularly in the last two years, the Senate has seen some of its most unproductive periods ever. Appropriations bills for national defense, agriculture, and transportation take months, instead of weeks, to pass—but at least they pass. Most legislation is issued directly from the majority leader or his surrogates instead of from the committees, where the parties have to deal with each other. The result has been two years of fruitless debate over partisan bills with little to show for it. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget—one of its most basic functions—since April 29, 2009. But it has been Reid’s abuse of power that has been the most destructive element of his tenure.”
“In the Reid regime, the Senate operates more or less at his whim. Members are frequently caught off guard when he decides to bring a bill up for debate. Reid will promise to allow a senator to present an important amendment only to change course at the last minute and claim he never made the promise at all. I asked Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, a top political opponent of Reid who nevertheless speaks highly of the majority leader personally, to describe Reid’s leadership style. He paused, seemingly to think, before answering.
“’I’m not sure he has one,’ Coburn said.”
“Reid can be curt to reporters, which may explain some of the reluctance from the press to ruffle his feathers. In 2009, a reporter asked him to clarify a statement he had made on the Senate floor. Reid told the reporter to ‘turn up your hearing aid.’
“’It was clear for those of us who understand English,’ Reid sniped.
Tell me again, all you Nevada liberal columnists, why Sharron Angle would have been an embarrassment.