Patterico's Pontifications


Harry Reid, 1939-2021

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:56 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid died earlier today at the age of 82 after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly four years. I blogged about his affliction three years ago when the New York Times Magazine had a piece about his life and illness since leaving office. At that time, as I pointed out, people close to Sen. Reid were saying that the Nevada Democrat “had months left, if not weeks” in his life, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise and is in fact a fitting capstone to his political life that this turned out to be a lot of hokum and bunkum, designed to elicit a measure of sympathy to an otherwise largely unsympathetic character.

Fans, or at least those who want to find a legacy-enhancer in the career of Harry Reid, are focusing on his role in passing Obamacare in the Senate, even though that included a very controversial parliamentary trick pulled off a dozen years ago right around this time (tempus fugit!). Despite that victory lap, even Democrat-sympathetic outlets such as CNN find themselves acknowledging that “Reid is often blamed for deepening an era of political polarization.” President Biden shows up to remind everyone that he served ninety years, or whatever it was, in the Senate, many of them alongside of Sen. Reid, and former President Obama quite naturally offers his own peculiar form of praise by evaluating the life of the late Senator almost entirely in terms of how useful he was to Mr. Obama’s own vast ambitions. Various other mediocrities have also added their own two cents on the life and career of Senator Harry Reid.

History will have its say on Harry Reid, but I think it’s inevitable that a major part of his legacy will be the breakdown in comity and cooperation between the two major parties in Washington during his leadership terms. For better or worse (you can probably guess which one I would choose), his career had a huge effect on life in modern America, so his name will rightly go into the history books and his leadership term will be studied in years to come. May he rest in peace.


For Your Consideration

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As we close out 2021, you can find some interesting (and brief) essays about current events at Bari Weiss’s Common Sense. And whether or not I agreed with them in full, they were worth reading. A few excerpts:

From Enes Kanter Freedom on freedom:

The first time I came to America, in 2009, one of my teammates at Stoneridge Prep, in Simi Valley, California, was criticizing the president. I was scared for him, because I thought he was going to be jailed. Then he sat down and talked to me about freedom of speech, religion and the press. “Wait,” I said, “you’re telling me a TV channel or a newspaper is not going to be shut down because they are criticizing the regime?” He told me that’s not how it works here. I was shocked.

The thing about freedom is, once you taste it, you want everyone else to taste it, too. That’s why I marched for Black Lives Matter and spoke out for democracy in Hong Kong. It’s why I advocate for Tibetan freedom and safety for Taiwan. It’s why I continue to call out the corporations that talk about social justice but ignore China’s Uyghur genocide. And it’s why, a few months ago, I changed my name. I’m now Enes Kanter Freedom.

From Ayaan Hirsi Ali on liberalism:

Since I left the world I was born into—the world of Somalia, the world of Islam, and all of the strictures that society and religion put on me as a woman—I have always identified as a liberal. I mean that in the most capacious sense of the world: a belief in the rule of law; in individual liberty; in equality between men and women; in due process; and in, yes, a belief that some cultures—namely, liberal and democratic ones—are better than others.

Lately, I worry that liberalism is insufficient. Or to put it another way: that the weak version of liberalism we see across the West cannot compete with muscular ideologies, like Islamism and populism rising on the right and the left across Europe and here in America.

A value-neutral liberalism that insists that all cultures and choices are equally good is liberalism in name only. For liberalism to win, it needs to stand up to its enemies yet again.

From Chloe Valdary on CRT and racism:

I was surprised to read [Derrick] Bell’s argument promoting school choice for black and white Americans alike. Bell also laments what he calls “racial balance remedies,” or the conflation of equality of opportunity with the notion that racial parity (the idea that an institution should perfectly match the racial breakdown of the community it serves) as the only measure of “anti-racism.”

This overlap between traditionally conservative views about education and critical race theorists can be helpful to those, like me, who are trying to fight racism by avoiding the temptation to caricature others. A vision of anti-racism that genuinely seeks to refrain from demonizing our differences has to begin with finding common ground.

Go see what you think.


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