January 8, 2009

Let's not laugh along with Jane Hamsher over Harry Reid's problems.

Quipping "INSTAPUNDIT: Bringing America together!," Glenn Reynolds highlights a couple conservative blogs that thank him for linking to a post by lefty firebrand Jane Hamsher.

GayPatriot said he'd been permanently avoiding reading Jane's blog (FireDogLake), and Glenn's post led him to something he "pretty much" agreed with. And Syd And Vaughn, another FireDogLake avoider, saluting Glenn for taking them to Jane's "very valid" post, declared "Kumbaya!"

So let's look at Jane's post — "I want to play poker with Harry Reid" — and see if it's true that lefties and righties can come together and laugh about Reid's pathetically played politics.

First, if you haven't already, read her whole post. Despite some awkward, cornball writing — "Reid looks like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs on Meet the Press" — it's generally very pithy and funny, and it sums up the embarrassing succession of bad moves Reid made. We can all have a shared laugh about that.

But, my fellow moderates and conservatives, focus on this:
A seventy-one year old dude who hasn't held office for 14 years, appointed by a crook, takes the Senate Majority Leader to the cleaners.

Reid is a red state senator, up for re-election in 2010 and under pressure from the right, who is already making noise about appeasing Republicans who aren't going to be appeased. He's a hazard to Obama's agenda, which is why leading Senate Democrats tried to ease him out as Majority Leader last year.
Hamsher is rooting for the left wing of the Democratic Party. She thinks Reid will keep the party centrally located and give Republicans some clout, so she's saying loud and clear: He's a terrible leader. Don't follow him.

So Jane's post doesn't make me say oh, ha ha, Harry Reid, what a fool. It makes me reconsider whether I want to continue knocking him around. I have been giving Reid a hard time mainly because I think law is important and the legal question is easy: Blagojevich is the governor, he has the appointment power, he appointed Burris, so Burris properly holds the Senate seat until 2010. Deal with it. Blagojevich's sliminess doesn't suspend the rule of law. Play by the rules.

I'm not going to change my strong opinion on that point, but I'm realizing that we need to keep a sharp eye on the people like Hamsher who are hot to push Congress to the left.

ADDED: Henry, the commenter, emails a Venn diagram:


Simon said...

Robert Heinlein, as I recall, said in one of his books that government competency is to be feared, not welcomed, because the it's the principal threat to human freedom. And I suppose that in this case, he isn't far wrong: but for incompetent majority leadership in the Senate, we're going to see an awful lot of bad things in the next four years.

If Reid promises not to resign as majority leader, we should give him a pass in 2010 and focus resources on California, Connecticut, Indiana, New York, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. (New York is probably a lost cause, but anything that makes Schumer lose sleep is money well spent; Boxer is vulnerable if we can pick a candidate who isn't a total Muppet for a change.)

heywoot said...

Hope and change, baby.

Do not fear congress moving to the left - it is majority dem and will do what it can to make our country a worker's paradise.

And, we have the helpful guidance of Hamas to show us the way. The left loves those guys. What could possibly go wrong?

Henry said...

So Jane's post doesn't make me say oh, ha ha, Harry Reid, what a fool. It makes me reconsider whether I want to continue knocking him around.

That beg's the question of whether or not Hamsher's premise is correct and that Reid has any influence over his party.

I would say no. Power in the senate is determined by seniority, not leadership badges. The party stays centered by sclerosis.

SteveR said...

I guess Nevada is a "red state" in the sense that its not Berkely/SF/Austin blue, but with immigration from California, its only Reid's incompetence and questionable ethics that put him at risk.

Original George said...

Not to flog a dead horse, but I thought Reid looked as happy as a hog on ice.

Pogo said...

Of course the party's going left. What did you think would happen?

Richard Dolan said...

It's hard not to laugh along with Hamsher (and almost everyone else across the spectrum) at the way Reid & Co. have been played by Blago and Burris. But, while doing so, it bears remembering that a very self-interested bunch of pols picked Reid as their leader. All of those pols know Reid's obvious limitations, which were on full display in the Blago/Burris Show. Despite that, and despite whatever efforts a group of "leading Senate Democrats" might have made "to ease him out as Majority Leader last year," that same group kept him as their leader.

Hamsher and those like her may hate the idea of keeping the Dem Senate "centrally located" or of giving "Republicans some clout" (mostly so that Reps can share the blame when things inevitably go wrong), but it seems clear from their actions that the Dem Caucus in the Senate is taking a different tack. Unlike Hamsher, they're not political idiots, and know that governing is a very different exercise from campaigning to become the governing majority. I suspect many in the Dem Caucus agree that, in some ways, Reid is a "terrible leader" but, unlike Hamsher, also have decided that having him as leader helps them more than it hurts. Whether you agree with their political judgment or not, whether you think the Senate Dems have even a clue where the "center" could be found, the fact that they are keeping Reid tells you something important about trying to position themselves in the political center.

Ann looks at this and concludes: "So Jane's post doesn't make me say oh, ha ha, Harry Reid, what a fool. It makes me reconsider whether I want to continue knocking him around." Well, he deserves the knocking around. And the political judgment that makes the Dems want to keep him as leader is a far better guarantee of moderate and centrist policy results than any self-restraint in the blogger-knocking-around-fools department.

SO relax and enjoy the show.

1jpb said...

He's a hazard to Obama's agenda

Sure, Jane is worried about a right-left thing.

But, is Reid more of a hazard to BHO's agenda or Jane's? For example, is she still pushing for Bush administration war crimes trials, or whatever it was. Seems like Reid helps BHO (and Senate Ds) be moderate, which may be why 1) Jane is upset, and 2) Reid is D Leader.

And anyway, didn't Reid emphatically and boldly state that he doesn't work for BHO, ipso facto, he will work for BHO.

MadisonMan said...

You know, I do think Harry Reid is a dreadful leader and a frequent source of embarrassment. But the conclusion isn't that a new leader has to be farther to the left (or to the right, for that matter). A new leader just has to be competent. Is that too much to ask?

MadisonMan said...

Richard Dolan: You knocked it out of the park. Very well said.

AllenS said...

Let's wait and find out what senator elect Al Franken has to say about this.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"A new leader just has to be competent. Is that too much to ask?"

In this Senate? Yes. Watching this formerly august body, "the eye frequently does not discover a man of celebrity within its walls. Its members are almost all obscure individuals, whose names present no associations to the mind: they are mostly village-lawyers, men in trade, or even persons belonging to the lower classes of society." (If only Democracy in America had been more widely read before the submission of the Seventeenth Amendment for consideration, his diagnosis of the House might have prevented the ruin of the Senate.) And who do we find next in line after Reid? Why, it's the proverbial village-lawyer of whom Tocqueville wrote.

Darcy said...

Henry, that was brilliant.

jdeeripper said...

If the massively incompetent Illinois Republican party can simply nominate a half way appealing candidate then the Republicans will pick up this Senate seat in 2011.

Harry Reid is a lawyer so what does he not understand about the rule of law and procedure.

His goal is understandable - keep the Illinois Senate seat in the Democrat column. The only reasonable option was to call for a special election and hope for the best.

Instead he contributed to the mess and almost guaranteed a Republican in the Senate from Illinois in 2011.

From Inwood said...

Now what were we saying about Bush & Katrina & ineptitude?

And the Republican “culture of corruption”?

MSM is giving The One a pass on this & is not being that hard on ol' Harry, either.

BTW, with all that's going on, CNN this morning was taking Bush to task for not letting The one use Blair House RIGHT NOW! Watched in fascination for what seemed like five minutes, including an interview with some expert listing the number of rooms in the House & proving beyond a doubt that the strawberries were missing & The One could be accommodated in Blair House & Bush was a meanie.

What, Israel, Blogo, Reid, Russia/Ukraine? Nevermind. CNN; all the Republican bad news we can find or invent.

Der Hahn said...

This brings to mind on of the nuggets our friend Michael laid in an earlier thread ...


when what we're all saying is


AlphaLiberal said...

Althouse: "...I think law is important..."

Ha-ha. Good one, Ann.

Maybe you do though, with some exceptions like when you're afraid, warrantless wiretapping, when a Republican President breaks the law, torture planned in detail by top Bush-Cheney officials, denying the ancient writ of habeas corpus to scary brown people, abducting people off the streets and locking them up, GOP operatives blowing the cover of CIA agents working on WMD, over 100 people killed in US custody, etc, etc.

Other than THAT, yeah, you're all about the law. As long as you're not afraid of something else.

And that's my core Althouse objection. A law professor who embraces lawlessness and shredding the Constitution. Blows my mind, man.

Simon said...

Shorter AL: waaaaaaaaaaah, Althouse won't blog about what I want her to blog about and reach the same prefab conclusions as me!!!!!!!!!!!! Waaaaaaah! I thought you'd promised us some well-reasoned, factual and humorous arguments: can we get an ETA on those?

I don't understand why you have to insist on being such a total cunt to the person who has been so inexplicably generous to you in allowing you and your dribblings to remain.

Simon said...

Wow! He said habeas corpus and called it "ancient"! That's well-reasoned, factual and humorous!

EnigmatiCore said...

"my fellow moderates and conservatives"

I thought you described yourself as a liberal?

Simon said...

EnigmatiCore said...
"[Althouse said 'my fellow moderates and conservatives'] I thought you described yourself as a liberal?"

Oh! I think we're seeing progress!


I mean, if you're very smart, and you blog all the time, you're going to become less liberal. Someone smart will see that the liberal arguments are shallow and the unexamined assumptions begin to show up, and someone with a sense of decency who is exposed to how liberals actually behave via the leftosphere is going to be repulsed from all that. Don't you think?

peter hoh said...

Keep in mind that the GOP had a reasonably competent Senate (*) Leader in Trent Lott at the start of Bush's term. He was deposed in a manufactured scandal. True, it was liberals barking about it, but the other side complaining is never enough. Lott found himself without support on his side, and that sunk him. The White House was more than happy to have the ineffectual Frist take over.

*Majority Leader at the start of the Bush term. Minority leader after Jeffords moved over. Lott would have been Majority Leader after the 2002 elections, were it not for the Thurmond birthday controversy.

Bender said...

Keep in mind that the GOP had a reasonably competent Senate (*) Leader in Trent Lott at the start of Bush's term

Conservatives were long looking for an excuse to get rid of that hayseed, sh*t-for-brains Trent Lott. That is why he was so easily dumped. The Thurmond thing was just a convenient reason to dump him.

1jpb said...

Conyers also has flaws

1jpb said...

Of course, I'm in a glass house today, since I'm on a machine (connected to the dozen speakers around my house) w/o spell check, i.e. I haven't bothered putting on Firefox. But, if I were in congress, I'd definitely have spell check.

1jpb said...

BTW, it's sort-of cool to hear mouse clicks reverberating around the house. Maybe this is increasing my carbon footprint. I guess I should shut down the rooms I'm not in.

AlphaLiberal said...

Jane's a babe!

AlphaLiberal said...

Simon whines:

I don't understand why you have to insist on being such a total cunt to the person who has been so inexplicably generous to you in allowing you and your dribblings to remain.

Gee, nothing offensive there!

I don't understand why you need to insult people so much. You're a sad, bitter person clinging to a rigid ideology that you can't defend with reason so you quickly resort to insults.

As far as Ann, I've thrown some compliments her way over time, seek to point out, also, when I agree with her. And, I guess she just doesn't take the same censorious approach to disagreement that you do.

Besides, I'm good for her traffic.

daveo said...

I have been hoping that Reid would get his in more ways than one. But if the Left is for it that is going to take all the fun out of it.

Swilcinburn said...

Back in college my Political Science professors waxed nostalically on the legend of how congress worked so smoothly and effectively in the 1950's with the "greats" Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson running the House and Senate respectively. Statesmen, gentlemen, great bargainers, where business got done over "bourbon and branch water". Even if the legend is only half true, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are utter incompetents by comparison!

How does a modern Democratic Senate Major Leader change a lightbulb?

First he declares he won't; then he declares there is no lightbulb; then he declares he might; in the end, he screws it in halfway.

No matter what, he's still pretty dim!