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Harry Reid vs. the Republican Wave

Harry Reid vs. the Republican Wave

November is coming…for Leader Reid’s power.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is worried.

For the past year, Republican candidates have been campaigning to take back the Senate under the “Fire Reid” mantra, highlighting Reid’s failure to run a cohesive body capable of actually passing legislation. Even now, with less than two months to go until the 2014 midterms, Reid is doing what he can to brush off criticism.

Via Politico:

As he’s tightened his grip on the Senate and protected vulnerable Democrats from casting politically tough votes, furious Republicans have made the mantra “fire Reid” a rallying cry and major fundraising push ahead of the midterm elections.

But in Reid’s mind, Republicans are training all their fire on a guy most voters barely even know.

“I’m meaningless,” Reid, a three-decade Hill veteran and the most powerful Democrat in Congress, told POLITICO Thursday. “People in red states don’t even know who I am.”

I’ll give Reid partial credit for this response—it is certain that there are a great deal of people out there who have no idea who Harry Reid is, or that Harry Reid exists at all. But when it comes to political messaging, that doesn’t matter.

When Republicans campaign using the concept of taking back the Senate, they don’t focus on Harry Reid, the man; they focus on Harry Reid, the faceless spectre of Congressional dysfunction. Most Americans know generally that the House and Senate are generally unproductive; on top of that, many Americans are aware of that lack of productivity to the point that they don’t trust their own representatives to do their jobs.

Campaigning for Senate as a Republican is less about Harry Reid and more about being able to show your prospective constituents a laundry list of things you’ve tried to do to help improve their lives, and then in turn show them exactly why those things aren’t going to happen before 2015.

It’s a Democrat problem. Democrats are in the majority, Democrats set the calendar, and Democrats are throwing away legislation that will make things better. It doesn’t matter if voters associate this miserable failure to lead with Harry Reid or Harry Potter, as long as when they enter the polling place, they see the “D” on the ballot and feel the urge to punch a wall.

The goal is to get voters to make the connection between a Democratic majority, and their state getting the short end of the stick; Reid is just the masthead on a sinking ship—and it’s not just Republicans he’s putting in a tight spot:

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said no matter what Reid believes, his handling of the Senate will be a key factor come fall.

“How do you explain to your constituents even as a member of the majority party you are unable to get a piece of legislation voted on and heard on the floor?” Cornyn said. “To me, the biggest charge they’ll have to defend is being ineffective – and it’s all at Sen. Reid’s feet.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is poised to take Reid’s job if he survives his race in Kentucky and the GOP wins the majority, said he believes about half of the Democratic Caucus is “uncomfortable” with the lack of legislating in the chamber. If he becomes majority leader, McConnell has vowed to “restore” the Senate, bringing back five-day workweeks, rebuilding the weak committee process and holding a free-flowing set of votes on the floor.

McConnell pointedly noted that Sen. Mark Begich — a vulnerable Democrat up for reelection in Alaska — has yet to have an amendment vote on the Senate floor, even as the GOP leader’s own regular filibuster threats have helped bottle up progress in the chamber.

“The way the Senate has been operating has actually been a negative in his reelection campaign,” McConnell said.

It’s Change 2.0, and Democrats are worried. They might even be panicking. They’re doing things like this:

And this!

And for the love of God, this, which even I find not-quite-hilariously offensive.

Reid claims he’s switched the focus of the public, but with the Senate in recess until after the election, Republicans have over a month to flip that strategy on its head and use the dysfunction as a tool to target Democratic challengers.

We may not win a supermajority, but I’ll take a narrow majority if it means being able to call Harry Reid “the Minority Leader.”


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This unreasonable grip that the parties have in protecting the political garbage who don’t belong in DC will really have to go. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that my representation is overruled by party machines. In addition, the GOP “serge” has more to do with dems messing up than the GOP have any good answers. It’s time to change the whole system.

    Radegunda in reply to showtime8. | September 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    1. How do you propose to “change the whole system”?

    2. How quickly do you imagine that you can “change the whole system” so that your “representation” is not “overruled by party machines”? And what does that mean anyway? Does it mean (a) the “party machine” is prevailing upon your “representation” to vote in ways you don’t like? Or does it mean (b) voters elect someone you don’t like in the primaries and you choose to blame the “party machine” for it?

    3. Where in the Constitution does it say that you, personally, will have “representation” that always does what you want?

    4. How many more years of leftist rule are you willing to facilitate while you nurse your fantasies of changing “the whole system”?

      the quickest way to change the system would be to pass the “fair tax” and take the power away from the pols, thereby ending the purpose of k street whilst eliminating the irs and the fed. the solutions are always simple, implementation is a bitch.

Too bad that some people who could help end the Democrat majority — including a number of people who comment here — apparently think it’s more important to punish the GOP or “send them a message.”

The GOP leadership may often behave badly, but Democrats are obviously worse. If the only choices with any chance of winning are a) unsatisfactory and b) horrible, it’s idiotic to let horrible win and keep moving policy in a more horrible direction.

The first rule of voting is to block the worst candidate. Fantasies about “changing the whole system” while you let the worst candidates win are childish.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Radegunda. | September 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    The GOP “may often behave badly?” You whip them with a feather, lol.

    The GOP leadership has told me openly and repeatedly that they do not want my vote as a conservative. They identify folks like me as among their worst problems. That’s not behaving badly, that’s behaving stupidly.

    You might want to consider the possibility that some of us measure ‘unsatisfactory’ vs. ‘horrible’ differently than you might. Your opinion is not the touchstone on this.

    ConradCA in reply to Radegunda. | September 23, 2014 at 2:08 am

    When I support the Republican party I am supporting the RHINOs over the conservative that I support. Makes it difficult to sport the Republican party and that’s why I became an independent.

I don’t see why Harry is worried. There will be enough fraud for Democrats to claim victory.


My inbox is overflowing everyday with RNC begging letters disguised as old friends getting back in touch, overdue bills, and other contemptuous and contemptibly dishonest attempts at manipulation.

Here’s the thing. “Not a Democrat” has to actually be true to have any power at all. And the highest levels of the party leadership actively worked to have the (R) candidate in MS chosen by (D) voters.

Thad Cochran. Enjoy him, RNC. I’ve lost my checkbook.

We have to destroy the corrupt rot that is the GOP and replace it completely with a new party unburdened with the a-holes infesting the GOP. In this case, it’s the Tea Party.

Remember: there was the Whig Party that was dumped in favor of the Republican Party in the mid 1850’s. It’s time to do it again.

Squeaker Boehner will go down in history as great a destroyer of our nation as Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their fellow democrat party bastards. It’s just too bad we can’t subcontract with the Iranians to have him flogged first.

Republican candidates have been campaigning to take back the Senate under the “Fire Reid” mantra, highlighting Reid’s failure to run a cohesive body capable of actually passing legislation.

This is a gross misunderstanding of the function of Congress.

Part of Congress’s job is indeed passing legislation.

The other – and almost certainly more important – part of Congress’s job is preventing destructive, harmful, cripplingly expensive, or just plain odious legislation from passing.

The job of the Republicans is to oppose the disgusting policies of the Democrats. That was true in 1854, and it’s true now.

The Republican party was formed from the wreckage of the Whigs in 1854, and it was formed specifically to prevent the Democrats in Congress from bringing the new territories (ie, what was in those days The West) in as “slave states”.

Preventing Congress from passing crap laws is a legitimate and vital function of at least a part of Congress. The militantly unreflective call it “gridlock”; but they should call it “success”.

In this case, if it’s Harry Reid who’s paralyzing the Progressive legislative agenda, I see no need to look a gift horse congressman in the mouth. Let him do something useful for a change.

JackRussellTerrierist | September 22, 2014 at 1:26 am

Amy, don’t get ahead of yourself, girl. The ‘pubs have a history of and a professional-level knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and basically screwing up most everything.

It should be noted that the current Republican leadership in both House and Senate are the most conservative in history.

Those who disparaged Boehner while supporting Newt Gingrich for President qualify as thoroughly ignorant.

“It should be noted that the current Republican leadership in both House and Senate are the most conservative in history.”

LOL X 1,000

“Those who disparaged Boehner while supporting Newt Gingrich for President qualify as thoroughly ignorant.”

That describes our host, Professor Jacobson. He’s thoroughly ignorant? That’s your premise?