I was in Las Vegas last week on business and can report that Senator Reid’s free boxing match tickets, and especially his attempts to defend accepting them, don’t seem to be playing well there. A roundtable of local talking heads, none of whom seemed terribly conservative, had plenty of fun dissecting Reid’s explanations. First, Reid argued that he needed to attend the match to see how proposed federal boxing legislation would affect the state. If the notion that two guys slugging each other constitutes an educational experience was laughable, his next defense was hilarious. According to the talking heads, the Minority Leader tried to claim that accepting free tickets from the state boxing commission could not possibly involve a conflict with his duties to Nevada because the commission is part of Nevada. Reid overlooked the fact that he has supported boxing legislation opposed by the commission. But to the extent there is perfect convergence between the commission and state, why couldn’t Reid just stay home and await his marching orders.
Reid also argued that the people of Nevada would be happy to know that he was attending the fight. But the talking heads didn’t think they’d be happy to know he was attending for free. Reid ultimately must have concurred because he finally announced that he would no longer take free boxing tickets. The consensus was that Reid had shot himself in the foot and has lost some standing with Nevada voters. Of course, Reid doesn’t have to face them again until 2010.
It’s pretty clear that Harry Reid lacks the intellect (never mind the integrity) to serve credibly as a leader in the Senate. He has tried to mask this deficiency through vitriolic utterances that have surprised some who thought they knew him. And that’s actually a pretty good strategy inasmuch as vitriol is about all many Democrats require of their leaders these days.