GUEST POST: What Goes On In Harry Reid's Backyard
Guest post by Myrna the Minx at Reno and Its Discontents
As a Nevada resident and loyal Democrat, I keep trying to find reasons not to be frustrated with Harry Reid. The problem is, my beloved Senator has become like a dictatorial host at a staid cocktail party who keeps serving me up annoyances like smelly, cold hors d'oeuvres and then insists on watching me uncomfortably gulp them down and smile in gratitude for the privledge. I know many of you can't relate–Reid has a 70% approval rating over at Daily Kos for christ's sake–not exactly a group known for being easy to please.
Maybe tennis makes a better analogy? Its like I'm watching a tennis match with the Reid I cheer for on one side, and the Reid I groan about on the other. Reid convinces the National Democratic Party to add Nevada to the caucus schedule, “Way to go!” Reid votes for the Child Custody Protection Act, “#%$%?!” Look, I know Reid is personally anti-abortion, but he's said he would support legislation that protects reproductive rights, and with this vote he simply did not do that. “But,” you say, “The Democrats were going to lose on the vote no matter what, and Reid's making up for his yes vote by dispatching Dick Durbin to stall the legislation in the House.” Sorry, that's just not good enough, and its more evidence that the “big tent” philosophy doesn't work for all Democrats all the time.
And this leads me to the most frustrating position Reid takes–his non-aggression pact with Republican Senator John Ensign, or the “Kissy, Kissy by Reid, Ensign” as Hugh Jackson of the Las Vegas Gleaner eloquently described their Senatorial cuddle way back in 2005. And Ensign's manly charms are certainly hard to resist. Escaping notice on the national electoral scene, Reid's luke warm support of Ensign's Democratic opponent, Jack Carter, is a point of failure in Reid's Democrative leadership, and Democrats on the state and national level should be calling Reid out for it. Not only does Reid's position fly directly in the face of the Democratic National Committee's 50 State Strategy, it leaves Nevada citizens little choice but to believe that Reid would have us be represented by a Senator gleefully running in a three-legged race with the Bush Administration to hand the country over to the forces of the corporatocracy and religious conservatives who think that being pro-choice and for raising the minimum wage makes you an ungodly communist.
And why has Reid entered into such an odious agreement with Ensign? Self preservation of course. As an astute commenter on my last post on Ensign's membership in the ultra conservative religious Fellowship asked, “maybe Harry's loyalty to the “Incumbent Party” is stronger than that to the Democratic Party?” You think? Reid thinks his secure position as the senior Senator from Nevada and Senate Minority Leader is worth more than taking a risk on the Ensign/Carter race and the possibility of becoming the Senate Majority Leader. The Democrats of Nevada deserve better from Senator Reid. And because he is your Senate Minority Leader, all Democrats deserve better from Senator Reid.
These Nevadans – and the millions of Americans just like them – are who Democrats are standing with today. They've been ignored by the Do Nothing Republican Congress, which has put special interests and a special few first. They've suffered through weeks of debates over non-issues such as marriage, flag desecration, the estate tax, and medical malpractice. Meanwhile, their real problems have only grown worse.
We need a New Direction for America, and that is what Democrats offer. By changing course in Iraq, providing affordable health care, strengthening the middle-class, and embracing science and medical research, the Democratic agenda will unite America and turn away from the divisive politics of the last six years.
We won't pit Big Oil against working families when it's clear we're all better off pursuing a bold new future of energy independence.
We won't force workers to choose between getting by and saving for the future, because we'll protect Social Security, cut taxes for the middle-class, and build an economy where work pays.
And we won't go to war based on trumped up threats; we'll be tough and smart with a foreign policy that concentrates on our real threats, Iran, North Korea, and Osama bin Laden.
How am I, as a Nevadan represented by Ensign, who comes down on the opposite side of every issue mentioned in Reid's missive, supposed to take his call to action seriously? He isn't even serious about taking on the Republicans in his own state. Sure, he's given money to the Jack Carter campaign, but has he actively stumped for him? No. And you won't catch Carter complaining about the lack of Reid's active support because his campaign needs all the help it can get–they can't afford to say the wrong thing about Harry Reid. What can we do to communicate to Reid that his partnership with Ensign is not acceptable? Help Jack Carter win Nevada's second Senate seat. As Sarah Carter noted during a recent interview:
Politics is full of self-fulfilling prophesies. If we can get enough people to say that Jack Carter is a real contender, then he’s a real contender. If we can get enough people to say that Jack Carter will win, then he’ll win. We’re just starting our bandwagon, and we want everyone on board.
You heard her folks!