GOP should not press for Harry Reid’s defeat

As the poster child for the administration’s government-controlled health care legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada makes a tempting target for the GOP.  From a practical perspective, however, the GOP should be cooling the rhetoric against Reid, not gleefully tossing fuel on the fire and kicking him while he’s down. 

And down he is — recent polls of voters in Reid’s home state reveal a shockingly high “unfavorable” rating of 52%.   In other words, more than half of Nevada voters have an unfavorable opinion of their incumbent, four-term senator who serves in one of the two most powerful legislative posts in the government.  Only 33% of those voters harbored a “favorable”opinion of Reid.  Numbers like those are not just bad; for an incumbent they are pitiful. 

Reid indicates he will fight to maintain his seat, and his defeat certainly is not a foregone conclusion.  However, with numbers this low, and with Republicans already smelling blood as a result of President Barack Obama’s plummeting numbers, it’s easy to understand why the GOP is publicly beating up on the Nevada Senator who never smiles.  Were the Republicans clamoring for Reid’s hide to step back and take a slightly broader perspective, however, they might see that defeating Reid would likely result in a case of jumping  ”out of the frying pan and into the fire.”  Why?  Because Reid’s likely successor as majority leader is New York’s Chuck Schumer.  Next to Schumer, Reid comes across as the GOP’s best friend; especially on issues like gun control, which many Nevadans oppose.  Schumer, unlike Reid, is an unabashed, dyed-in-the-wool liberal, and is probably the most staunchly pro-gun control of any member of Congress in either house and in either party. 

While Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin currently serves as Reid’s assistant majority leader and technically ranks ahead of Schumer, who is the majority party’s conference vice-chair, in a post-Reid battle for leader the tough-as-nails New Yorker, who has more political chits to call in than his Illinois counterpart, would likely prevail.

Of course, if the GOP were realistically to expect to reduce the Democratic majority in the Senate from 60 to 49 seats (the Democrats hold 58 seats outright but add two “independents” who caucus with them), and thereby win the right to once again elect a Republican as majority leader, working against Reid would make perfect sense.  However, such a scenario is highly unlikely.  Given that it is much more likely the Democrats will lose a few but not 11 seats in November, and therefore retain a majority in that body, focusing on defeating other, more liberal Democratic incumbents rather than openly trying to depose the one man who stands between them and Chuck Schumer as majority leader, would seem to make a great deal of sense for the Grand Old Party.  Good sense, however, does not appear to be in great supply in our nation’s capitol these days.

62 comments Add your comment

Niki

January 14th, 2010
8:30 am

STOP IT! Did either of you even read what I wrote?? We’ve got to work T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R!!! Call talk show hosts (liberals, conservatives, anything in-between) and find out where they stand on the issue of term limits. If they are open/in favor of, ask if they’d be willing to work together with others for a common cause. That’s what the founding fathers did. They came together and put aside their smaller differences in order to focus on the main goal, which was to form a Republic in which they could ALL prosper!

Freedom Line Blog » Morning Links

January 14th, 2010
8:44 am

[...] We’ll Take Back the House WSJ Editorial – Google Gets on Right Side of History Bob Barr – GOP Should Not Push for Reid’s Defeat National Review Online – Cadillac Tax [...]

StJ

January 14th, 2010
9:57 am

“…cause we all know that the ‘liberals’, who have never been in power…”

Colossal fail.

Obama, Clinton, Carter, JFK, FDR, et al also had their party as a majority party in Congress during some or all of their terms as President.

Mark

January 14th, 2010
10:02 am

Niki,
“term limits: is one of thoe ideas that sounds good at first glance, like “tort reform,” but not so good at closer look. To cry ” THEY ARE almost ALL CORRUPT” is pure demagoguery. What does it mean “almost”? 99%, 90%, 80%? Do you have any evidence for that statement? If there are, say, only two not corrupt, very able senators in the Senate, why should they be replaced? If they are replaced, what guarantee is there that they would no be corrupt within their term limits? Voters can vote out anybody out now. A better idea is to make it easier for incumbents to be defeated.

Niki

January 14th, 2010
11:16 am

Hello Mark,
Please excuse my emotional outburst – when I said “THEY ARE almost ALL CORRUPT,” I was not employing demagoguery (at least not intentionally). I have been watching the news (on all the networks) and have been appauled by the “sweetheart deals” given out in order to push through the “healthcare” bill. I see that as evidence of corruption from quite a few in both House & Senate
In addition, I see & read way too often of many others involved in various shady & underhanded deeds, including conflict of interest, mismanagement of funds, marital infidelity – not to mention tax evasion, “mistakes” & fraud….the list goes on & on & on, and we all know it.
But yes, there may be 2 who are not corrupt. In fact, I’m sure that there are some who are conscientious & doing their best to represent the people & the Constitution, but they are few and far between from what I’ve seen. And the longer they stay in power, the more they are in danger of being swayed by the fierce temptations all around them.
To answer your question of why should the “good ones” be replaced, I say for these reasons:
1) They have done their duty & worked for the people & now can go back to their homes where, if they wish, they can use their experience to help prepare others to serve, or they can continue to serve in other areas.
2) Knowing that they have a limited time to get things done might help them focus on the job at hand rather than constantly planning for the next election.
3) It would give others more opportunity to serve.
Granted, there are risks, & there are no guarantees. In some cases, there will be some bad apples who replace good ones, and there is always the risk that someone elected in good faith turns out to be a bad choice, which can happen any time now. The good news would be that with term limits, that bad choice would be out within a few years, instead of staying put for years on end. Right now, we seem to be “guaranteed” that we’re stuck with carreer polititians forever. I would like to hear how you would “make it easier for incumbants to be defeated.” I would work for that just as hard as I will for term limits!
So to summarize, yes, there will be risks (and there is much to work out by way of details) but in my opinion, the benefits of instituting term limits far outweighs any risk.

Mark

January 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

Hello Niki,
I understand your reasoning, but I still think it is the other way around – that with term limits the risks would outweigh the benefits. I think you underestimate the benefit of having the good people who can do so much more in the Congress when they stay a long time than if they had to leave early, as well as the risk of just “trying” someone. A congressional job is like any other one, you need experience to do it well.

hatin' on the stupid

January 14th, 2010
1:04 pm

Bob: “Hatin now being stupid, no liberals in power. Who gave us entitlements you idiot, not the founding fathers.”
StJ: “Obama, Clinton, Carter, JFK, FDR, et al also had their party as a majority party in Congress during some or all of their terms as President.”

The problem is you people think anything to the left of a teabag is a liberal because that’s what you’ve been told. All of the above-mentioned democrats were and are solid centrists. Caring for old people is liberal? Helping young mothers bring to term healthy babies is liberal? Was Teddy Roosevelt liberal for busting up the monopolies? Why don’t you just go ahead and say anyone you don’t agree with is a liberal. And since Newt and Rush and Savage and Boortz and Hannity say hate liberals (that dirty word!!), you hate them. My point is liberals haven’t damaged this country near as much as conservatives and neo-cons. Have you checked out the deficit spending of the last three republican presidents? Inform yourselves before you spew.

Niki

January 14th, 2010
1:15 pm

Thanks for the dialogue, Mark. I guess we agree to disagree. Yet I can’t resist adding these thoughts before I go… If the “good people” who have already stayed a long time were ABLE to do “so much more,” I sure wish they would have by now! Instead, I see them (sorry, some of them) caving in, surrendering their morals or just plain getting ignored by those in control. And if the “experience” of those carreer incumbants I mentioned above have enabled them to do their jobs “well,” then I say the experience is not worth a tinker’s dam (where did that expression come from, anyway?)! And I did not mean to suggest that we just “try” someone. I would assume that new people would be elected based upon their resources, experience, background, ethics, etc. (which is just how their predecessors got started, no?).

Mark

January 14th, 2010
1:34 pm

Niki, you cannot expect even a sizable number of good people, staying long, to accomplish everything. Are you saying that they NEVER have done anything good? Moreover, what you think should be done is not necessarily what I or some other people think should be done. That is the way the system is designed to work. The alternative would be one dictator agreeing with your ideas (or mine). As for new people being elected based on …, well, that is how those rascals have been elected also.
I agree to disagree, LOL.
I could tell you where the expression “not work a tinker’s dam” come from, LOL.

Niki

January 14th, 2010
7:55 pm

C’mon, Mark – I never said I expected anyone to accomplish “everything!” And I think I said “in my opinion” at least once in these discussions, so you can hardly accuse me of attempted dictatorship. We agreed to disagree, so I guess we’ll just leave it at that.
BTW, I did look up the idiom so I now know where the “tinker’s dam” came from.
And one more thing – you never did answer my question – I would sincerely be very interested to hear (or read) your ideas for making the incumbants “easier to defeat.” Seriously – how would you do it?

A True Patriot

January 17th, 2010
5:51 pm

Bob, you certainly know more about politics than I ever will; however, it is my opinion that Reid and Pelosi “The Evil Twins” are absolutely the worst thing that has happened to America since little Jimmy. I don’t disagree with you on many things but…….

Law

January 19th, 2010
11:53 pm

It is just amazing how Harry Reid profited off a sex victim who came close to death by hours. The victims because she was poor was denied all Federal Discovery Laws. Denied every motion to have discovery to show the truth so they could win.

Does Harry Reid believe in the United States Constitution when he can profit from Safeco American Ultra Religious Orthodox Sexual Molestation Insurance Coverage insurance?

This is what our moral Politicians do inside of America?

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