Sen. Reid sounds a little desperate

Sen. Reid sounds a little desperate for a guy who’s in charge of the Senate. Maybe just frustrated.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.

UPDATE: Added video.

Do those bothered by Elder Oaks’ comparison in October feel the same about Sen. Reid? Elder Oaks merely said that Prop 8 Supporters faced voter intimidation as did those in the Civil Rights era. He didn’t suggest that Prop 8 opponents were like Jim Crow apologists, or in Reid’s case that Republicans are like slavery apologists.

7 thoughts on “Sen. Reid sounds a little desperate

  1. James

    You say desperate. I say frustrated.

    Alan Grayson has this story about misbehaving Republicans in the House. He says each House member has an electronic card that he or she sticks in a slot to register a vote. Sometimes members will forget or lose their card, and will go up after votes are taken to register their votes. A few weeks back, he said about 60-70 Republicans began pretending that they forgot their cards.

    “They’d all walk to the front of the House and, laughingly and jokingly, put their arms around each other’s shoulder like it was some kind of clownish fun. And they did this over and over to make sure every vote took half an hour. That’s how low things have gotten. I could give you countless examples just like that. They’re simply obstructionists and there’s nothing you can do about it.’’

  2. Sam

    I would never compare a politician with an apostle, unless the apostle was a politician as well. That said, I agree with the above. Republicans — and I used to work for one — are not interested in healthcare reform at all. They merely want to derail Obama. They would rather see Obama go down in flames than the American people have a meaningful shot at healthcare reform, which prior to the election of 2008 virtually everyone agreed was necessary. If we get healthcare reform — still an if to me — and it is not a great bill, Republicans will have to live with the fact that they could have participated in the process and helped fashion a good, bipartisan bill but chose not to. So Harry Reid has good cause to be frustrated.

  3. David H. Sundwall Post author

    Sam – I think that is flat out ridiculous. I also worked for Republicans (one being Sen. Hatch) and they have good faith motivations for opposing the various Obama/Pelosi/Reid incarnations of what they call healthcare reform.

    The Republicans have their own proposals of how to improve healthcare but have been entirely shut out of the process because they have (deservedly) been hammered in the past few elections. If the President and the Democrats don’t want to work with the GOP to make a bipartisan bill (the only bipartisanship I’ve seen has been with the opposition), that’s fine. That’s their prerogative.

    But the Dems are clearly desperate as they have to unveil a new plan every few weeks, trying to appease their own party and they can’t even do that. So what do they do – demonize Republicans! If they could only get their own side in line they could have passed this months ago as they intended. But they can’t and their leader stoops to the level of comparing the GOP to slavery apologists.

    If Sen. Reid was serious about attacking those who are standing in his way of passing a “health bill” he would be attacking his own Democratic Senators.

  4. James


    While I’d very much agree that the Dems are divided on some things and the Reid has his hands full trying to corral them together, that does not discount the fact that the GOP has been nothing but obstructionists since Obama’s election. As another example:

    It took three days for the Senate to vote on the first amendment to health care brought to the table, in part due to the GOP’s decision to offer up second-degree amendments and to require measures to be read out at length, among other tactics.

    Yes, both parties are demonizing the other as they have been for decades. That’s what they do, unfortunately. Obama has attempted to be non-partisan but has been repeatedly rebuffed for his efforts. And as a result the rabid Left are annoyed with Obama for “giving in” to the GOP, which isn’t the case at all. And what is actual policy and what is rhetoric is becoming far to confusing to tell apart anymore because of all of the hatred and shouting.

    But I’d suggest that the major problem in congress is not necessarily just the GOP or just the Dems. It’s the extremely high level of control that business has over almost all of the politicians. The senators need money to exist and the large corporations have the most money to throw around. And so we have an entire senate (in both Right and Left) who are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the mega corporations.

    You said that “If they could only get their own side in line they could have passed this months ago as they intended.” I say if they would remove the special interest’s control of the senate from the insurance industry, this would have passed months ago as they intended.

  5. Sam

    If I look at things from the point of view of a moderate, I wonder why the Republicans who for eight years under GB controlled everything but the kitchen sink did not advance a bill to reform healthcare if they cared about this issue so much.

    If I look at things from the point of view of a conservative, I wonder why they passed the Bush prescription drug plan, the cost of which is estimated to be $500 billion at a minimum, and really doesn’t do much to solve the problem.

    Frankly, I can see why people find libertarianism appealing.

  6. David H. Sundwall Post author

    James – Sorry for the belated response.

    While the GOP has certainly not been supporters of the various HCR bills, how have they been obstructionist? They have offered their own amendments but I haven’t seen any hardcore parliamentary tactics to tie up the Senate, yet. That may come as they get closer to serious passage but it looks to me, again, that Sen. Reid’s problems are with his own caucus.

    The efforts you mention merely take up some time, but considering how fast the the Dems have wanted to push an ever-changing bill that will transform health care as we know it, a few extra days seems entirely reasonable.

    I suppose it’s all a matter of your perspective but, in contrast to his campaign promises, Pres. Obama has been as partisan as any president I can remember if not the most in recent history. Like Reid, he would rather blame the GOP or his predecessor when he cannot even manage the large majorities he has in Congress.

    I will agree with you that the greater involvement of business in government is a problem. However, its a natural result of government getting involved in private business. It’s only natural that if government is threatening to take greater control over a certain industry, that companies in that industry do their best to manipulate government to minimize their loss or get the best cut they can (see the President dealings with the AARP and AMA). So it’s a problem, and another expired campaign promise from the President.

  7. James


    I agree that Sen. Reid’s problem is with Leiberman who really hasn’t been much of a Lefty for quite a few years now, to put it mildly. It seems very strange that Leiberman is suddenly now opposed to an identical Medicare buy-in for which he campaigned on many times in the past. And so he becomes another example of a bought and owned senator doing what the insurance companies wish him to do.

    As for the GOP being obstructionists: yes they have offered token amendments, but they haven’t offered any effective, alternative health care plan, except to ensure that things remain as they are – with the insurance companies vacuuming our paychecks from our wallets. If they would at least bring something to the table that would restrain the insurance company’s hand-over-fist accumulation of wealth at the expense of the public I would be more than happy. But they have (to my knowledge) offered no such package that would be effectual, saying that they would instead “let the market play out” which leaves far too many Americans powerless against corporate greed.

    Another example of the GOP being the party of “no” is their refusal to allow any of the Obama judicial nominations to proceed. Party whip Jon Kyl bragged that he intended to do exactly that even before President Obama was inaugurated. In this first year the Senate has confirmed just one of Obama’s 23 appeals court nominees and one of his district court nominees. By contrast the Senate by October 2001 had confirmed eight of Bush’s nominees, including four circuit court picks. And these confirmation votes are always along strict party lines with the GOP always saying “no.”

    Yes this is a matter of perspective, I agree. And unfortunately on both sides people who take a specific view politically suddenly can not see the failings of their own party. It’s just how people behave: you don’t want the side you picked to be wrong and so you tend to be blind to it. But it is emperically the fact that both the Dems and the GOP have been wrong on far too many things for the last decade or two. I’m not at all discounting that the Left has major problems and have done some amazingly stupid things; they have. And Obama is by no means a “messiah” and I agree he’s not followed up on many promises during his campaign, which bugs the heck out of me. But the faults of the GOP, especially during the Bush administration, have in my eyes been considerably more extreme than the many faults I see from the Dems.

    Now this may change. If the Dems retain power past ’10 and ’12, then I predict that I’ll swing back to the GOP in a reaction to the inevitable future excesses from the Left. Just as I swung Left as a reaction to the Right’s excesses during Bush’s administration. That’s what is so great about our government: the pendulum swings back and forth, Right and Left. And the extreme elements tend to (over time) become powerless and pushed aside. At least as long as the pendulum (our government, the Constitution, the law, etc.) isn’t removed or altered significantly.

    My position is that I’m a Centrist with a very strong anti-extremist bent. And in my opinion, the most powerful members of the GOP right now are far, far too extreme for my tastes. I see them as no longer governing for the people, but governing only for the Republican party. And only governing to ensure that the GOP retains and gains power at the expense of all else. I hope that this extremism will change soon, because I do agree with a great deal of what the GOP used to stand for back when it wasn’t so radical. And there’s a lot on the Left I really don’t like very much. But until that happens, I’ll be always on the opposite side of the extremists.

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