Reid to CNN: Hey, McCarthyism works, huh?

posted at 10:01 am on March 31, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

When Harry Reid announced his retirement, I wrote that the worst part of this process would be listening to people praise his service, especially as Majority Leader:

By any objective measure, Reid has been a blight on the Senate and on Congress. He declared the Iraq war “lost” while Americans were still fighting there, and he derailed a budget process that had worked well before his ascent into leadership. He stripped the Senate of one of its debate functions after sabotaging the amendment process, and nearly destroyed regular order. On top of that, Reid used his post to commit McCarthyite character assassination of Mitt Romney, claiming to have inside knowledge that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years, a smear that turned out to be utterly false. He has been a malevolent force for years in American politics, and nothing he did in Washington will improve the place as much as his leaving it.

When I tweeted out a shortened version of the last sentence, a few Reid fans scolded me for being a religious man full of hate. In response, I give you Harry Reid, Proud “McCarthyite,” as CNN’s Dana Bash explicitly framed it (via Free Beacon):

REID: I don’t regret that at all. The Koch brothers — no one would help me. They were afraid the Koch brothers would go after them. So I did it on my own.

BASH: So no regrets about Mitt Romney, about the Koch Brothers. Some people have even called it McCarthyite.

REID: Well… [shrug] … they can call it whatever they want. Um … Romney didn’t win, did he?

Hey, so I smeared Romney. It worked, didn’t it?

Despicable. The Senate will likely throw him a celebration on his way out; they should be censuring him instead, especially with that arrogant admission. Reid embodies the worst of American politics, and no amount of fluffery over the next two years will disperse the stench that should attach itself to his name as long as it’s remembered at all.

Update: Meanwhile, back in Nevada, some are scratching their heads over Reid’s explanation of his retirement (via Instapundit):

Although he would be challenged by what he called “second-tier candidates” and boasted of having the clearest path to victory since 1992, in the next breath he was saying it was time to go. After five terms in the Senate, he certainly had earned a break from the battle, but since when did the recalcitrant Reid want a peaceful political life?

When Reid elaborated, the confusion really began. His attempt to choreograph the media reaction wound up raising more questions than it answered. Reid said he was retiring, and he wasn’t interested in fielding many inquiries from the press.

Between Reid’s YouTube statement, a surface-skimming sidebar in The New York Times and his appearance on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” radio show, we learned all he believed we needed to know about his motivations for closing up shop.

Reid was retiring. What made perfect sense in concept, suddenly made no sense at all.

Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy says his accident story doesn’t add up either.

Update: Chris Cillizza finds Harry Reid’s remarks to Dana Bash “appalling”:

If you can lie — or, at a minimum, mislead based on scant information or rumor — then anything is justified in pursuit of winning. This sort of “the winners make the rules” approach is part of the broader partisan problem facing Washington and the polarization afflicting the nation more broadly.  There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.

Think about Reid’s statement in another context. I have two little kids.  What if I told my son, who has just started playing soccer, that his only aim was to win the game — no matter how he accomplished that goal.  After all, it’s not cheating unless someone can prove it, right?

Would anyone think that was either (a) good parenting or (b) broadly beneficial for society? No.  That is the same logic Reid is applying here but because we are all inured to the horribleness that is modern political strategy, people barely bat an eye. No, politics ain’t beanbag. I get that. But, allowing elected officials to say anything they want about people running for office — and requiring zero proof in order to report those claims — seems to be a bridge too far. And to defend that behavior by saying “well, we won didn’t we?” feels like the junior high school logic that shouldn’t be employed by the men and women trusted with representing us in Washington — or anywhere else.

Exactly. We’ve been pointing that out for years. While Chris is correct that the ends-justifies-the-means approach is common in politics, no one holds a candle to Reid for sheer dishonesty and arrogance — plus, as a party leader, he set the tone for years in the Senate with his McCarthyite approach. The explanation is appalling, certainly, but it pales in comparison to Reid’s appalling nature. Good riddance.

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The Box Harry. The Box.

Bmore on March 31, 2015 at 3:30 PM

i think the producers of The Walking Dead should line harry up to play role of the governor’s father and seek revenge on the grimes gang. He just needs a black eye patch. Of course he would have to be eaten by zombies….or maybe he and rick have an end all fight where rick smacks with a piece of exercise equipment.

jaywemm on March 31, 2015 at 5:41 PM

Enjoy your retirement, if you get to live that long harry.

The mob is NOT finished with you yet.

Andy__B on March 31, 2015 at 7:13 PM

The Democrats play out of a different playbook than the Republicans. You can say that it’s wrong, that it’s dishonest, that it’s immoral, that it’s unethical… but, in the end, the Democrats always play the game better than the Republicans do.

Which is why the left has consistently, steadily advanced their agenda in every corner of society for the last 60 years, while Republicans have only actually elected true conservative leadership a handful of times and, even then, did nothing but slightly slow the pace of the leftward march.

Shump on March 31, 2015 at 1:50 PM

Sure. If your supporters cheer you more when you cheat and get away with it, you have a lot of freedom. Especially if the more blatantly you cheat, the louder they cheer.

It comes with the territory. Either suck it up and deal with it or stay home, but it is what it is. That phenomenon is a given once you accept the premise that rights are just a legal fiction. Once that premise is accepted it’s not about philosophical niceties anymore, it’s about raw power. Every single buzzword (justice, rights, equality, fairness) becomes automatically a lie, because they are not ends in themselves, they are just tools to achieve more power.

The left operates from the premise that all those words are just buzzwords, code words for “more power to _____ group”. The right still thinks concepts like rights, equality and the rule of law are ends in themselves. You can either accept that hamstringing and fight anyway, not accept it and become just like they are, or stay home. No fourth choice.

GrumpyOldFart on March 31, 2015 at 8:29 PM

At the bottom of the poll, the sentence,

*Voting entitles you to receive conservative alerts from

may just be one of the funniest sentences I’ll read today.

Tell our contestants what they won today?

Spam, spam, and more spam. You lucky devil!

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 31, 2015 at 8:40 PM

So……the exercise equipment (resistance bands) were defective……and this defect resulted in serious bodily injury.

So, when’s the lawsuit, Harry…..????
Mr. Reid…..?
Hello…..?…..*tap-tap*…..this thing on?

mjs28c on March 31, 2015 at 10:47 AM

I’m wondering where you buy resistance bands with brass knuckles attached…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 31, 2015 at 8:49 PM

Reid to CNN: Hey, McCarthyism works, huh?

Somebody oughta slug that punk.

Wonder if Bonnie Bramlett is available to handle this. LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 31, 2015 at 9:39 PM

Harry Reid lies. Barack Obama lies. Hillary Clinton lies, and is totally corrupt. Nancy Pelosi is, well, Nancy Pelosi. What has the Democrat party become? And, do the American people really care?

Techster64 on March 31, 2015 at 10:22 PM

Just be glad someone beat the crap out of Reid.

They should have finished the job.

Moesart on April 1, 2015 at 12:23 AM

What has the Democrat party become?

Techster64 on March 31, 2015 at 10:22 PM

A cesspool.

justltl on April 1, 2015 at 1:49 AM

Wouldn’t it be swell if someone punched Reid in his other eye?

grumpyank on April 1, 2015 at 7:32 AM

Wouldn’t it be swell if someone punched Reid in his other eye?

grumpyank on April 1, 2015 at 7:32 AM

Of course politicians who get into criminal dealings with mobsters deserve to get the crap beaten out of them on a regular basis, but that isn’t best.

Best would be for his criminal dealings to come to light so he could be locked up and spend the rest of his years in prison, where he belongs.

fadetogray on April 1, 2015 at 7:49 AM

Does Harry Reid still diddle little boys? Probably not retiring from that.

Doomsday on April 1, 2015 at 8:13 AM

Stevie Wonder called .. he wants his sunglasses back

J_Crater on April 1, 2015 at 10:03 AM

Something tells me there’s a special hot seat in hell waiting for Reid….

Bob Davis on April 1, 2015 at 10:50 AM

He’s right. He’s a POS, but he’s right.


You missed a spot, he’s destructive. That behavior is destructive. To the Constitution, to the very fabric of our country. The progressive left’s agenda for America is about forcing a vision of the country that the entire population DOES NOT SHARE. It’s about ripping away basic individual rights that we’ve held dear since the inception of our country.

YOUR agenda is less important that maintaining those rights and values. A society that doesn’t support being ethical ends up collapsing. At that point do you pathetically say ‘at least we won?’

How hollow, shallow and pointless. It’s really easy to break things. It actually takes talent, drive, knowledge and skill to BUILD things. You are not making things better for the average person, you’re making things worse. Not only in this country, but in the entire world. The Middle East is burning, our country is more polarized than ever. The average person’s lifestyle is more difficult than ever and you’ve ‘won’….what exactly?

History will not be kind to this administration, nor to this political agenda.

GeeWhiz on April 1, 2015 at 12:13 PM

There goes Ed, so misguided & so limited in brain power as to play the McCarthy ‘McCarthyite’ card. Come on, Ed. It’s time to grow up & get over misrepresenting that bygone era that’s actually come true, & is all the more a reality to this day. There actually are subversive, unpatriotic, communist American traitors all throughout the US government, still hard at work & planning for more & more generations to follow, planning for the ultimate rundown & takedown of the US & all the great things for which it should stand. It’s long past time for you to put your thinking cap on & come up with an analogy that actually works for whatever point you’re trying to make. You show yourself to be a mental midget when you say things like that. Good luck making a breakthru.

ABLOGMAN on April 1, 2015 at 3:03 PM

If you can lie — or, at a minimum, mislead based on scant information or rumor — then anything is justified in pursuit of winning. This sort of “the winners make the rules” approach is part of the broader partisan problem facing Washington and the polarization afflicting the nation more broadly. There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.

That isn’t quite right and Cillizza knows it. Conservatives know that progs in the media and in politics will resort to lies and smears because they all now that progs can not without them. And if whoever the GOP nominee turns out to be is a real threat to knock out Queen Hillary, the Dem apparatus (incuding the MSM) will be spreading the smears and lies just as they did with Palin and Romney and Perry and whoever.

ddrintn on April 1, 2015 at 6:17 PM


ddrintn on April 1, 2015 at 6:18 PM

Does Harry Reid think the “accidents” will stop when he leaves the Senate?

Demonized on April 2, 2015 at 9:10 AM

Romney may not have won but at least he can still see his grandkids with both eyes, Mormons not being as prone to drunken falls (my theory).

kd6rxl on April 2, 2015 at 10:02 AM

A liberal bastard lying?


JackM on April 2, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Again Democrat politicians show they depend on division, hate, envy and obfuscation to get the votes of stupid or ignorant voters for their existence. For them, a solution to a problem is never offered, elevated proclamations of the issue-of-the-day is their path to power.

WestTexasBirdDog on April 2, 2015 at 9:42 PM