In 2010, Nancy Pelosi became a campaign issue that helped to nationalize House races. Because of her lack of ability, her extremism and her personal unlikability, Pelosi became, and remains, deeply unpopular with the American people. So in many House races, Republican candidates used the fact that Democratic opponents had voted for Pelosi as Speaker, or intended to do so, against them.
It is beginning to appear that Harry Reid may play a similar role in 2012. Reid is an excellent candidate for the part. Like Pelosi, his mental skills are unimpressive and his personality is grating at best. Also like Pelosi, his record as leader of the Senate is impossible to defend. The only difference is that until now, Reid has maintained a somewhat lower profile.
But that began to change when Reid inserted himself into the presidential election with his outrageous claim–made, among other places, on the floor of the United States Senate–that he had heard a rumor that Mitt Romney went for ten years without paying any federal income taxes. Because the rumor is “out there,” Reid asserted, Romney needed to respond to it. Reid’s smear is ridiculous on its face; like most of what Democrats say, it is addressed only to the ignorant. By fabricating such an outrageous smear, accusing Romney of a crime and attributing the claim to an imaginary friend, Reid took an already despicable Democratic Party presidential campaign to a new low.
Republicans hit back creatively. On Twitter, conservatives started saying that they had heard Reid is a pederast (or–same thing–a child molester). They noted that Reid had not denied the report, even though it is “out there” and demands a response. Actually, the rumor that Reid is a pederast has somewhat more credibility than Reid’s rumor that Romney doesn’t pay taxes. We know the latter claim is false, since federal tax law and the IRS wouldn’t permit it. On the other hand, we have absolutely no idea whether Reid is a pederast. It’s possible.
Now, if you start to Google “Harry Reid,” this is what comes up:
Many conservatives have asked Reid to respond to the child molestation rumors, and the Ace of Spades actually did provoke a reply from Reid’s office, albeit not a substantive one.
The pederasty campaign is a useful way to dramatize Reid’s irresponsibility, but there are more important reasons for Republicans to make him a centerpiece of the 2012 campaign.
First, Harry Reid is a corrupt political hack. Nancy Pelosi came by her money honestly; she married it. But where did Reid acquire his fortune? His latest financial disclosure form indicates that Reid owns assets valued up to more than $7,000,000. Prior disclosures have indicated a net worth up to $10 million. Reid has never had a high-paying job in his life, and has almost always been employed in the public sector. As a Majority Leader of the Senate, he is paid $193,400 annually. So how, exactly, did Reid acquire his multimillion dollar portfolio of real estate and mining interests?
The short answer is corruption. For years, Reid has been the beneficiary of sweetheart land deals in Nevada. We wrote about one series of Las Vegas real estate transactions here. Reid’s cronies, some of whom keep coming up in organized crime investigations, have made him a wealthy man. But neither mobsters nor real estate developers give money away for free. What favors has Reid done, what strings has he pulled, that have been worth millions to his benefactors? Reid is a poster boy for cronyism and corruption, an image to which all Democratic Senate candidates should be tied.
More important still is the fact that under Reid’s leadership, the Senate has descended to one of its lowest points in history. The Senate has ceased to function, unless you want to get a post office named. For more than three years, Reid has violated federal law by refusing to allow the Senate to pass a budget. This irresponsibility, at a time when the nation faces fiscal calamity, is almost unbelievable. And Reid’s irresponsibility extends far beyond the budget. Currently, the House has passed more than two dozen common-sense measures that would eliminate obstacles to job creation. Our economy desperately needs that sort of help, so how have these bills fared in the Senate? Don’t be silly; they haven’t even been brought up for a vote. Why? Because Harry Reid won’t allow the House bills to be considered. He doesn’t want his fellow Democrats to have to go on record opposing measures that their constituents would consider reasonable if not long overdue. Thus, Harry Reid consistently puts partisan politics ahead of the nation’s welfare.
So Reid is a corrupt liar and a hateful partisan who has violated federal law and rendered the Senate incapable of functioning in a time of national crisis. Every Democrat running for the Senate this year–Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, Jon Tester, Tim Kaine, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and all the rest–should be asked, over and over: will you vote to perpetuate the corrupt and incompetent reign of Harry Reid over the United States Senate?