And I Thought Harry Reid Was Supposed to Be Such a Nice Guy…

November 17, 2004

I know people are talking about the next Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, as some mild-mannered guy, but it sounds to me like he has already locked and loaded for GOP bear. The Las Vegas Review-Journal provides some quotes from the fine senator.

According to the article:

Reid signaled a willingness to work with Bush, but said Democrats will not be pushed around by Republicans who may interpret Bush’s re-election and GOP gains in Congress as a broad endorsement of their policies.

`He said four years ago he wanted to be a uniter,” Reid said of Bush. “It didn’t work well the first four years. We hope it works the second four years.”

“I would rather dance than fight,” the former boxer told reporters. “But I can fight.”

While they lost 19 of 34 Senate elections on Nov. 2, Democratic Senate candidates won 3.5 million more votes than Republicans nationwide, Reid said. The party also made pick ups among state legislatures, he said.

“I think the majority should be careful about throwing words around like `mandate,’ ” Reid said. “President Bush won the election but it was certainly no mandate. If one state had turned around, Kerry would be president.”

OK, so if Republicans try to implement their agenda Reid will view it as war? Have you ever noticed that Dems always talk about “mandates” when they just got defeated in an election? But all this talk about mandates is silly, as I’ve been saying. It doesn’t matter whether Republicans “interpret Bush’s re-election and GOP gains in Congress as a broad endorsement of their policies.”

Their interpretation of the election is irrelevant. They are not pundits or pollsters, but duly elected representatives of the people who have a constitutional duty to try to put forward their agenda. It doesn’t matter if they won by 1 vote or 3 billion. Neither federal or state law requires that victors partially relinquish their authority in proportion to their margin of victory. This idea that Dems keep repeating that Republicans only have partial authority (presumably because they didn’t win unanimously) is as wrongheaded and cockeyed as anything I’ve heard in politics in a long time. It is not up to Republicans to soften their positions. The check on their authority is the Democrat minority. Period.

More importantly, President Bush and congressional Republicans should have learned by now what the Democrat reward is for reaching across the aisle. When Republicans try to meet Democrats half way, Democrats demand more, much more, and lambaste Republicans in the process. When Republicans partake of the bipartisan spirit, they are slapped down like stepchildren by the likes of the ingrate Ted Kennedy. Don’t give us this BS, Mr. Reid, about President Bush breaking his promise to be a uniter — a promise that you and your partisan cohorts (or should I say warlords?) prevented him from fulfilling.