Newspaper column: Harry keeps us rolling in the aisles

Are you sure there isn’t some way to talk Harry into running for re-election?

Nevada will be a barren, mirthless desert without Harry Reid’s unpredictable and always outrageous pronouncements, provocations, proposals and pontifications. He should come with a warning label: Past performance is no predictor of future results.

Harry provides a perpetual game of rhetorical twister. You never know where his hand, foot or mouth will end up — though likely all in the same place. His comedic forte is misdirection. You never know what he will say next.

Why, just this past week he took to the floor of the Senate to lambaste his former allies at the National Rifle Association.

“Now, the NRA and its leadership are committed to a radical agenda that allows criminals and mentally ill Americans to access guns to commit these terrible acts,” Reid said.

Harry Reid with .22 rifle

Reid never lets the facts get in the way of a good rant, such as the fact a plan — endorsed by the NRA — was offered in August to improve the national database of mental health records, because people with mental health problems have purchased guns due to poor record keeping. That proposal languishes.

In 2012, the same Harry Reid spoke at the opening of a firing range in northern Clark County claiming he was the one who secured the land for the park and $60 million in funding. He talked about carrying a gun as a Capitol police officer and while a member of the state gaming commission. He also rambled nostalgically about shooting a rabbit with a .22 when he was a child in Searchlight and how his grandmother cooked it — this one always cracks me up, as it did his audience at the time. He said it was an old, mangy, all-sinew-and-bone jackrabbit. Yeah, right, grandma told him she cooked it.

Reid’s comic sidekick that day was Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, who praised Reid. “I’ll tell you he’s a true champion of the Second Amendment back in Washington,” he said.

Perhaps that was true at one time. Reid actually voted in 2005 for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which limited the ability of trial lawyers to sue gun makers and dealers for the “harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or ammunition products that function as designed and intended.”

Reid comes down squarely on both sides of the product liability issue, especially if his self-interest is involved.

Just 10 years earlier Reid stood on the floor of the Senate and argued for 20 minutes against a bill that would have reformed product liability law and capped lawsuit damages that drive up the cost of all manner of goods.

“In the area of products liability, I pause to think what would happen if manufacturers, especially big business, did not have to worry about their products being safe,” Reid passionately argued. The bill passed but Clinton vetoed it.

Reid and his leadership PAC have raked in $4 million from trial lawyers during the past six years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That might explain the passion … or was it a premonition?

Harry Reid after injury to eye

This past week Reid and his wife filed a product liability lawsuit against the maker of an elastic exercise band he was using in his Henderson home on New Year’s Day when he slipped and crashed into a cabinet.

“While in use, the TheraBand broke or slipped out of Mr. Reid’s hand, causing him to spin around and strike his face on a cabinet,” the suit says.

Wait a minute. This is a product liability case and Reid can’t say whether it broke or slipped? Isn’t that a key element of the case? Is the band in two pieces or not?

Reid, 75, at first told reporters the band broke but later changed his story, saying the band slipped. Now he wants it both ways. That’s funny.

Reid’s suit says he and his wife sustained more than $50,000 in damages — including broken ribs and face bones, disfigurement, bruising, a concussion, loss of vision in his right eye and a loss of consortium.

Reid, who has an estimated net worth of $10 million, argues the maker of the band did not include warnings about potential accidents — particularly for the elderly.

Maybe there should be background checks before one can buy an elastic exercise band to make sure the buyer is mentally and physically capable of using such a dangerous product as it was “designed and intended.”

Harry is such a card.

A version of this column appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, the Lincoln County Record and the Sparks Tribune — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Update: Lawsuit could open Reid to probing discovery and deposition.

8 comments on “Newspaper column: Harry keeps us rolling in the aisles

  1. Rincon says:

    Harry isn’t the only one who doesn’t have the same reality as the rest of us. From The Economist 10/19/15, p.11: “Even though, according to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans favor background checks for all gun purchases, a 2013 bill to mandate them failed in Congress.” That’s a massive portion. It’s hard to get 85% of people to agree that water is wet. But of course, the will of the people isn’t what runs this country; money is thanks to Conservatives.

  2. First – Even the the 2013 bill…does NOT mandate background checks for ALL gun purchases or transfers. “Manchin-Toomey Proposal Exempts Firearms Transfers to Family, Friends, Neighbors. According to the press release detailing their amendment to expand the background check system, under the legislation developed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), “Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks.” [Manchin/Toomey press release, 4/10/13]
    Second – “Universal background checks are a perfectly good idea, except that they won’t stop the burglar who recently cleaned out our house of all our legally purchased rifles and shotguns, including an antique that had belonged to my great-grandfather, who, as sheriff of Barnwell County, S.C., confiscated the gun from the triple murderer he tracked for three days and finally killed. (I want that gun back, please.)
    Those guns are now in circulation among an element of society that has no intention of submitting to a background check or any other well-intentioned effort to ensure that only good guys have guns. [The Washington Post, 4/9/13]
    Third – As I already stated…a number of the loonies who have recently committed the cowardly mass shootings…PASSED a background check.
    So while this will make some of the progressive left breath a sigh of relief…it will not stop the madness.
    Fourth – Back to the point of the thread…Harry Reid has been all over the map and firmly on both sides of this debate with his finger to the wind!
    (PS – at the time of the Manchin-Toomey proposal…90% of Americans polled favored background checks…so they’ve lost some ground!)

  3. Winston Smith says:

    After two and a half decades of observing Nevada politics, I’ve come to realize that people keep putting Reid into office for two reasons:

    1. They are stupid.
    2. They are amused.

    Rincon: Wouldn’t federal background checks for firearm purchases come under, “infringement”? Just wondering…

  4. Rincon says:

    First – It makes some sense to exempt family. Unlike strangers, family and close friends can’t believably say, “Gee, I had no idea” as a dealer or other stranger can. Liability would put Uncle George into a lot of hot water if he sold his .38 to his jailbird nephew – unless someone passes some ridiculous law exempting sellers from liability laws. Oh wait, they have.

    Second – It’s moot because the moneyed interests deep sixed it anyway.

    Third – The number of guns and ammo burgled is finite. Gun sales are infinite for all practical purposes.

    Fourth – So the alternative to taking a step which would only solve a piece of the problem is to do nothing at all? Somewhat of a nihilistic view, isn’t it?

    Loitering laws infringe on freedom of assembly. Laws penalizing the sale of porn to minors restricts freedom of speech. Should we remove them? I’ll let the legal system decide what’s Constitutional.

  5. An aside on Uncle Harry…a bit off topic. I finally found something John Ralston is good for – getting his guests to reveal some of their “inside baseball” dirty tricks. On the day of the Democrat debate Ralston was interviewing the rabid pit bull (with a pink collar) attack dog of the progressive left – David Brock of Media Matters. He was at a meeting with Dingy Harry who pounded the table and demanded to know why Brock, who was helping Hillary through the political mine fields…wasn’t helping HIM! Harry stated that he had gotten himself “out on a limb” over his Koch Bros. attacks on the Senate floor! Brock stated that he’d be glad to help Harry as he had a ten or fifteen member research team exclusively devoted to digging up dirt on the Koch Bros. So it is Brock and Media Matters who are funneling talking points and anti – Koch Bros. ammunition to Harry for his rants and personal attacks. One question Ralston failed to ask was…where is Media Matters getting IT’S funding??? George Soros or Tom Steyer??? I’ll see your evil billionaires…and raise you two.

  6. Rincon says:

    He who has the gold makes the rules, but at least there’s usually another guy with gold on the opposite side – so nothing really gets done.

  7. What troubles me the most about this exercise band fiasco…is you know darn well that the insurance company for the manufacturer will fold like a cheap tent and settle before they ever get to court because of Dingy Harry’s political clout & dirty underhanded dealings…which will rob us all of the joy of having him deposed under oath. (Look what happened to OJ in the civil case when he actually had to testify!)

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