Don’t Screw It Up
posted at 1:16 am on October 10, 2013 by Duane Patterson
It must be a joy to hang around Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid these days. If you’re a Republican, you’re an anarchist.
If you’re a female reporter from CNN and you ask him a question that’s a little uncomfortable regarding the government shutdown, he replies, “Why would we want to do that,” and challenges the reporter’s intellect for asking the question in the first place.
If you’re the president of the United States, and you’ve asked Reid to play lead on the negotiations with House Republicans, the Nevada Democrat’s one condition was to keep Vice President Biden far away from him.
If you’re a family member of a veteran who died in the service of the country recently, and you would like to receive the death benefits you are entitled, Harry Reid can’t seem to get that done, even though the President has already demanded it, and the House passed it unanimously Wednesday afternoon. Just to explain procedure, Harry Reid could have brought up the motion this afternoon and asked for unanimous consent it be adopted. There wouldn’t have been one member of the Senate who would have objected, and it would have been sent to the President in about 10 minutes.
Instead, Harry Reid called a hastily-arranged press conference outside the Capitol to tell the world what he really thinks of Republicans…again. Except this time, besides the media he really doesn’t like being in attendance, he had company. Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray crashed the majority leader’s little soiree to ask him to reconsider his strategy of saying no to everything, and allow the bill the House Republicans have already passed funding the District of Columbia to come up for a vote in the Senate. Naturally, the media thought this was interesting and pressed the issue. Reid didn’t find it nearly as interesting, and all of a sudden, the presser was over. Here’s what NBC’s Washington affiliate cameras caught.
I’m on your side. Don’t screw it up. And here I thought it was the Republicans who were supposedly falling apart at the seams and having this internal civil war over tactics? Seems to me there’s a little disunity on the Democratic side, too.
Reid’s really in a precarious position here. If he brings up the death benefits bill the House just passed, and again, it was a unanimous vote, it’ll pass and go to the President for immediate signature. So much for the whole ‘it’s the whole clean CR or nothing at all’ meme. They’ve already violated it once with the payment of the veterans. This would be another breach in the red line that won’t be crossed, apparently. And if Vincent Gray keeps pressing on the DC funding bill, it’s going to be very difficult for Democratic senators to keep hiding behind the bullying tactics of Harry Reid. It won’t take many exceptions in what they’ll accept in piecemeal funding until some very powerful constituency groups start wondering why they don’t get the same treatment.
In short, if Reid and the Democrats back off the ‘we won’t play the House Republicans’ game of partial funding’, then the strategy technically worked, didn’t it? The House can just start passing one thing after another, and let Harry Reid explain to America who gets funding and who doesn’t.
The optics of that playing out would certainly be fun to watch.