About the only real argument for the re-election of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is his position as Senate majority leader. But if that’s all he’s got, he hasn’t got much. No politician in America is indispensable. Or irreplaceable.
Harry Reid became majority leader in 2006. Can anyone argue that Nevada is better off today than it was before Sen. Reid shifted his priorities from representing Nevada to representing the national Democrat Party?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Harry Reid caused the economic collapse after becoming majority leader. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Well, pretty sure.
What I am saying is that the fortunes of Nevada will rise and fall with or without Harry Reid in the Senate. Nevada did very well for itself before Harry Reid became majority leader, and it will recover from today’s economic collapse with or without Harry Reid as majority leader.
Yet our friends on the editorial page of the Las Vegas Sun declared Sen. Reid “indispensable” recently because he’s “a tireless worker who understands how to get things done.”
Well, that’s all fine and good … providing that what you’re trying to get done is something fine and good. Or as GOP Senate candidate Chuck Kozack put it, “Harry Reid’s got a lot of influence and he’s very powerful, but what good does that do you when he’s running the freight train in the wrong direction?”
But it’s not just Republicans and conservatives who discount Sen. Reid’s value as majority leader. Mike Zahara, a 30-year veteran Nevada Democrat activist, recently wrote: “The position of majority leader began in 1913 and was formalized in both parties in 1920, and without question, Sen. Harry Reid ranks dead last in either party in this position; no one in the history of the position has had less to show for it than Harry Reid does.”
And that’s Reid’s base!
Then there’s the matter of bringing home the bacon.
As a fiscal conservative, I have no desire for my senator to excel at the fine art of pork-barrel politics. However, if you’re going to run on a platform of being the most powerful politician in Nevada, shouldn’t you at least be able to put your OPM (other people’s money) where your mouth is?
Is the highway between Las Vegas and the California line wide enough yet? Is there high-speed train service linking Nevada to all those tourists in Southern California? Is the Las Vegas Beltway complete? Has all the traffic congestion on Interstate 15 along the Strip corridor been cleared up?
And why, pray tell, do Nevadans still send more money to Washington, D.C., than we get back if Harry Reid is so powerful and so indispensable to Nevadans?
According to the Tax Foundation, Nevada ranks 49th in federal taxes paid vs. federal spending received. Before Harry Reid was elected, Nevada received 98 cents back for every dollar we sent. Now we get 65 cents. That’s “change” Nevadans can believe in?
Indeed, one of the chief arguments for re-electing Harry Reid is that a freshman could never do as much for Nevada as the majority leader. However, Alaska (Mark Begich), Idaho (Jim Risch), North Carolina (Kay Hagan), Oregon (Jeff Merkley), New Mexico (Tom Udall), Virginia (Mark Warner) and Minnesota (Al Franken) all got more stimulus gravy per capita with freshmen senators than Harry Reid ladled out for Nevada.
But what about Yucca Mountain?
OK, sure. Sen. Reid helped kill this project. But in killing Yucca Mountain, Sen. Reid also killed thousands of high-skilled, high-paying jobs in Nevada. And what has he replaced them with? Bupkis.
Indeed, the only real jobs Harry Reid has created in Nevada are jobs on his re-election campaign.
On the other hand, we do have a senior political figure representing Nevada who declared the war in Iraq “lost” with troops still on the battlefield, called the president of the United States a liar, a Supreme Court justice stupid, town-hall protesters evil-mongers, tourists smelly, compared Republicans to defenders of slavery, and threatened to vaporize his political opponents.
How will Nevadans ever survive without such dignity in office?
Harry Reid is not indispensable. Harry Reid is not irreplaceable. Harry Reid is not too big to fail. But Harry Reid might be able to fool enough Nevadans into thinking he is next November.