Harry Reid: NRA’s Greatest Ally?
Yesterday, This Week With George Stephanopoulos aired an eye-opening interview (conducted just this past Friday) with Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV).
I urge every Democrat, across the spectrum – whether you identity as moderate, center-left, liberal or progressive – to watch this interview. Even if you forward through to the discussion on gun proposals.
What you will see is an evasive, whip-smart, sly and soft-speaking man (Elaine Benes would have called him a “low talker”) who does not stake out positions on much of anything. A man who single-handedly controls the public debate in this country. A man who operates with impunity because he leaves no fingerprints; this is where his true power lies.
Harry Reid relishes his role as the puppet master behind the throne, while simultaneously playing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) like a fiddle, setting him up to take the fall for critical legislation that goes poof at the blink of an eye. What we are realizing now is that this is particularly true when Reid does not personally wish for democratic (small “d”) supported legislation to pass. The most immediate example, and if you watch the interview from Sunday, you will see, is where Reid lands on President Obama’s gun proposals.
He hasn’t read everything yet. He needs to wait and see “what it looks like”. “All options are on the table”. Right.
In 1993, as a fairly new Senator, Reid, a nearly lifelong NRA “A-rated” politician, voted NO on Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) original Amendment to the Crime Bill that became the ’94 Assault Weapons’ Ban. He’s used taxpayer money to build a state-of-the-art shooting range in Nevada, which, at its grand opening, standing next to none other than Wayne LaPierre, Reid dubbed “the greatest gun park in the world”. He’s taken money from LaPierre and his cronies, most recently in his 2010 re-election bid (when his “A” rating was renewed). The NRA got Harry Reid re-elected. They did it because the “threats” waiting in the wings to lead the Senate were either Dick Durbin (D-IL) or Chuck Schumer (D-NY), both staunch supporters of gun control, both “F” rated by the NRA.
Harry Reid is “sentimental” about his guns, even though, by his own admission, as a former law enforcement officer, he saw terrible things at the hands of gun violence. He’s “sentimental” about his guns, even though his own father committed suicide with a self-inflicted shot to the head.
Reid sat there, after being shown a clip of NRA President David Keene saying “Senator Reid is under great pressure” and “we don’t really know where he stands” (on gun legislation). And he glibly retorted to Stephanopoulos “I think that’s a good thing”. Really? It’s a “good thing”, Mr. Majority Leader, that the American people do not know where you stand on one of the President’s most important 2nd term agenda issues? The American people deserve – have a verified right to know where you, of all people, stand on the matter of public safety and gun legislation right now. When has the Majority Leader of our Senate ever been opposed to a signature piece of legislation by his own party’s President?
What does this all add up to? For one, we need not ponder any longer over the head-scratcher that was filibuster reform only a few short weeks ago, which mostly stifled any chance Democrats had at “getting things done” in the 113th Congress. All along, it was, for Reid, about gun legislation and his cozy role as decider. Period.
Right now, there exists a narrow window – a window we’ve not had in nearly 20 years – where everything conspires to make some lemonade (not to use the worst pun ever). Because of a horrible series of tragedies – the last one unimaginable – because we have a President with some cajónes and compassion, because of the mood of the country as a whole, there is an opportunity to change our gun laws, if ever so slightly.
One man stands in the way of this. And he is a Democrat.
He is a Democrat who likely has fooled the President into believing he is a great ally. Who has his Democratic colleagues in the majority hogtied and unable to do what the people have so clearly sent them to Congress to do. And he sat there, smirking at George Stephanopoulos, just knowing that he has the upper hand. No one controls Harry Reid. No one can.
If ever the law of unintended consequences were at work, it is here. Remember Tea Party nut, Sharron Angle? She of, ironically, “we might just have to use 2nd Amendment remedies to deal with our Harry Reid problem”.
We would have been so much better served if Reid had lost that race. That’s right.
Just imagine. Democrats would have had a choice between Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumer as Reid’s successor. We would (likely) have had filibuster reform by now. We would most definitely be on the path to using our majority for legislation that the majority of Americans have already spoken out in favor of. And right now, that means reasonable, sane gun legislation.
The Angle trade-off: just one more nutcase in the Senate minority.
[feature photo credit: politics-world-news-blog]
[Angle photo credit: republicanredefined.com]