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.


26 Responses to “Harry Reid, 1939-2021”

  1. I would almost be interested in knowing whether President Biden would prefer to have Sen. Reid running the show today rather than the jerkwad Chuck Schumer.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. I was wondering when Reid’s death would be noted.

    Yes, Reid fomented legislative division. He even engaged in dirty tricks against fellow Mormon Mitt Romney, claiming that Romney cheated on his taxes. Later, when called on his lie, he said something to the effect of, “Well, it worked. Didn’t it?” Vile.

    The news of Reid’s passing sparked a great amount of debate on a BYU sports board I frequent. Some wiseass posted a diabolical poll asking which person has/had lower morals, Harry Reid or Donald Trump. It was a delicious question, because most Mormons are Republicans, and many of them can’t stand Reid. However, they also know that Trump banged a stripper while his wife was pregnant, and then paid her money to keep quiet.

    The result? In round numbers it was 62% Trump (having worse morals) and 38% Reid.

    As a Nevadan, I didn’t vote for Reid. Not only did he weaken the filibuster; he was disingenuous when it came to the Second Amendment. He said he would never do anything to diminish gun rights. No, Harry. You’d just help get somebody on the Supreme Court who would.

    He was successful in politics (I give him credit for that), but not in a good way.

    norcal (3d2db9)

  3. And, I have no doubt that if Reid had been in Mitch McConnell’s position (and with a Democratic majority), he would have done the same flip flop thing Mitch did when it came to Supreme Court nominees during election years. No doubt at all.

    norcal (3d2db9)

  4. As he shows up at the Pearly Gates, Reid is informed that a filibuster of his ascension is ongoing and he is sent off to Purgatory to await the outcome.

    What he is not told that the committee being filibustered is composed of Ents.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. No doubt at all.

    None here either. The only difference would be that CNN would have his back.

    Remember that he created the idea of the routine judicial filibuster, and it ws only in response to that that the GOP broached the Nuclear Option. In the end, the GOP did not use the nukes, perhaps due to the universal condemnation from the media and the press.

    Then when Obama was in office and Reid was majority leader, he was the one who executed the nuclear option the moment the GOP returned the favor with judges.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. I’m not so quick to blame Reid for the lack of comity in the Senate. Chuck Schumer is objectively nastier.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. In God’s hands – Dingy Harry

    mg (8cbc69)

  8. A very sad day, the world has lost a great man. Condolences to the Madden family.

    mg (8cbc69)

  9. Purgatory for Harry Reid is that he has to persuade a hologram Mitch McConnell to pass a massive tax increase or accept a string of lefty lefty judges. Either that or tell the truth non stop for five years.

    Appalled (b3d3a0)

  10. May he rest in peace. He knew when to get out, he didn’t snivel that his seat was stolen from him, and impeding some lawyers from getting lifetime sinecures in the judicial trough is not all that big a sin.

    nk (1d9030)

  11. If it wasn’t for Reid, the GOP wouldn’t have been able to confirm Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett.

    For that, I give him many thanks for being so short-sighted.

    whembly (7e0293)

  12. Harry Reid’s legacy will be most notable for laying the foundation of the remarkably low future-time orientation of modern Democrats–enacting various legislative tricks and then being utterly gobsmacked when they lose power and whining when those same tricks are used against them.

    As has been noted, the combative tenor of the Senate these days was also established by him, to the point that Boehner had to go through Biden when it came time to get legislation passed. Reid watched Bob Dole operate for years, but learned all the wrong lessons on how to get things done while still protecting your party’s interests.

    In short, the man was a snake and certainly not worthy of the plaudits his fellow Dems in the media are no doubt giving him.

    Factory Working Orphan (af876a)

  13. I take the current news coverage as typical of the debased profession, wasting opportunities that naturally present themselves.

    We lost two former Senate Leaders in a very short time Reid and Dole. The natural thing for anybody that has paid any attention is to compare. Contrast. Review. What makes the pair similar in the ability to rise to that position of power, to build consensus and hold a faction together? What makes them different in the sorts of electioneering they had to do to appeal to both the state constituency they depended on for votes, and the national support they needed to guide an agenda through the Senate. What IS the Senate Leadership?

    Reid and Dole. There should have been comparative obituaries already drafted.

    But the journalists of our day are lazy idiots.

    pouncer (6c33cf)

  14. @13. They are lazy and they are idiots but the real problem is that what you suggest doesn’t serve the narrative and it does the opposite of what the modern media is focused on.

    Your suggestions would inform readers. Give them an opportunity to think about issues for themselves. Let them weigh their own values and priorities against those of the pair. Possibly give them an understanding of the political process we are all a part of.

    The media’s goal is to tell people what to think. It’s to short circuit critical thinking. It’s to assign values and priorities to people. It’s to remove people from the political process as much as possible.

    frosty (f27e97)

  15. impeding some lawyers from getting lifetime sinecures in the judicial trough is not all that big a sin.

    However, turning around and greasing the pigs when they’re his guys is the worst sin of all: hypocrisy.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. @13&14

    The narrative is this: When mean, nasty conservative politicians that Democrats hated die, they are lauded by the same Democrats as from an era before Trump. When mean, nasty liberal politicians that Republicans hated die, they are lauded by the same Democrats as from an era before Trump. In neither case is the reaction from Republicans of much interest to these reporters.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. Like Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid sadly represents the worst in modern politics. The fact that he was completely unrepentant about purposefully lying about Mitt Romney and his taxes…and adopts a cynical “ends justifies the means” ethics…tells you how he should be remembered. There have been a lot more honorable men who have died without headlines and news articles….they deserve Reid’s time

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  18. The Man Who Broke the Senate™

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. The newly updated CDC guidelines don’t require testing at the end of isolation because PCR tests can stay positive for up to 12 weeks, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Good Morning America” Wednesday. “So we would have people in isolation for a very long time if we were relying on PCRs,” Walensky explained.

    Plenty of great questions at the link for the 81 million strong Walensky.

    Ultimately the erroneous breathalyzer results are putting drunk drivers everywhere.

    BuDuh (4a7846)

  20. Oops! I honestly thought I was on the open thread. My mistake.

    Moving the comment now.

    BuDuh (4a7846)

  21. I’m not so quick to blame Reid for the lack of comity in the Senate. Chuck Schumer is objectively nastier.

    Everybody in that body of clinging to party ‘leadership’ posts are too damned old.

    It is part of the reason why so many citizens, busy with their lives and disappointed w/t job performance of the staid old party structures, are bailing on them- as they’ve have gummed-up the machinery of government ops from the local level up for decades- and drive voters to apathy, or to cage-rattling alternatives [like Trump] or simply join the ranks of the indies out of frustration.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  22. That lie about Romney stuck with me as well. I don’t have anything good to say about Reid after that, but I can wish the best upon his family at this time.

    steveg (e81d76)

  23. @17. All politicians lie.

    Some so well, they lie in state under the Capitol dome.


    Breaking- Putin asks to call Joe Thursday. [Joe Friday would ask for just the facts.]

    Biden time is done: ‘Tanks’ for the head’s up, Vlad! Let’em roll; the old fart couldn’t stop breaking wind in Britain so he sure as hell isn’t going to stop Russian armor.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  24. @pouncer (6c33cf) — 12/29/2021 @ 9:24 am

    Comparing Reed to Dole is like comparing carbines to flintlocks. Different tools for different times. Despite only being separated by about a decade, Reed and Dole were the products of dramatically different norms and party pressures. If you want to compare Dole to someone, compare him to George Mitchell. They were both decent, collegial men, as then Senate and party norms encouraged. Reed’s counterpart is Mitch McConnell. Both cutthroat tribalists and liars, as today’s party bases apparently demand. How any of the four would have behaved and fared in the era of their antecedents/successors is conjecture.

    lurker (59504c)

  25. RIP and condolences to his family.
    That said, Reid nuked the filibuster in 2013, and if there was a worse decision a Senate Majority Leader has made in American history, I haven’t seen it.
    Reid was also instrumental in killing the growth of nuclear energy with his stand against Yucca Mountain as a place to hold nuclear waste.
    Maybe he had some redeeming qualities, but what I saw was a mean, nasty sumbitch.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  26. I’ve noted Harry Reid’s passing. And while his long and somewhat troubled life has ended, I’ll put in a good work for his exercise machine. It did what a lot of Harry’s enemies would like to have done.

    GlendaleGreybeard (443593)

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