When Henry Met Harry

So Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he “can’t work with Romney.”   This ham-fisted campaigning has to rank as an all time low for Dingy Harry.  Has there ever been a worse guttersnipe in a Senate leadership position before?

Which got me to thinking: what would Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken have made of Harry Reid?  Mencken didn’t like politicians as a class, and they always brought out his most acid prose.  But I think the supremely egregious Reid might have given him an embolism.  Still, it’s a refreshing exercise that you can turn to almost any page of Mencken at random and find a description that, if anything, barely begins to describe Harry Reid’s depravity.  Reid is a perfect specimen for what Mencken called “connoisseurs of the obscene.”  Here’s a few gems from my quick random search:

The typical politician is not only a rascal but also a jackass, so he greatly values the puerile notoriety and adulation that sensible men try to avoid. . .  [A]s one goes up the line one finds less and less diligence and less and less capacity for the work at hand, until at the top one commonly encounters a professional politician of the most crass and shameless sort, bent only upon serving his party machine.

One can easily imagine Mencken encountering Reid, and describing his “snickering” contempt for him, as he did of William Jennings Bryan, as something that “I shall recall on the scaffold, and so shock the sheriff with a macabre smirk.”

But while I’m channeling Mencken for today’s political figures, what, oh what, would he have made of Obama?  OMG!  His great dismissal of Woodrow Wilson is perhaps a good place to start:

[Wilson] was simply a pedagogue thrown up to 1000 diameters by a magic lantern, and he never got over the shabby opportunism of the campus.  If his campaign in 1916 was honest and honorable, then honesty and honor are words quite without meaning.

Too bad Mencken didn’t live to see Saul Alinsky and “community organizers.”


Books to read from Power Line