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May 5, 2015

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Jon Ralston:

When Reidisms are no longer funny

On Thursday, Harry Reid was mad (or so it seemed). And when Reid gets mad, Reidisms follow.

The Senate majority leader has made many off-the-cuff comments over the years that have raised eyebrows, evoked guffaws and, occasionally, sparked outrage (calling George W. Bush a “loser” in 2004 comes to mind.) But rarely has the majority leader packed so many Reidisms into one day and of varying types as he did Thursday in talking about Olympic uniforms, Mitt Romney and Shelley Berkley.

If you want to know why the majority leader’s staff has a private prayer group (“Our senator, who art in Congress, careless be his tongue …”) and has a special “Reidism alert” button on their BlackBerrys, consider:

“The USOC should be embarrassed, they should be humiliated. ... Our athletes should not wear clothes manufactured in China.”

This was part of Reid’s rant against the United States Olympic Committee for allowing America’s athletes to commit the unforgivable sin of wearing Ralph Lauren uniforms made in China. Forget the obvious inanity of this attack — where do the Clothes Police draw the line and with whom?

But how does Reid make the case for being apoplectic about this scandal of mammoth proportions when he is as enthusiastic as ever about his Chinese billionaire friend, Wang Yusuo, making a fortune by building a solar plant near Laughlin — an enterprise that coincidentally now employs his son, Rory Reid, as a lobbyist?

And when is Reid going to let the Nevada gamers have it for investing so much money in China that could have been used to reinvigorate the Nevada economy?

No, let’s save our ire for Olympic uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren but — the horror! — made in China.

“(Mitt Romney) not only couldn’t be confirmed as a Cabinet secretary, he couldn’t be confirmed as a dog catcher. Because a dog catcher — you’re at least going to want to look at his income tax returns.”

Those comments, as reported by the Sun’s Karoun Demirjian and others, came a day after Reid declared Romney could not get confirmed as a Cabinet secretary because of his reluctance to release more of his tax returns. I understand that Reid relishes playing the attack dog for national Democrats on Romney, but this one does not hunt.

No, I don’t mean that dog catchers don’t actually need to be confirmed. Nor do I want to argue about whether presidential candidate should be browbeaten into releasing tax returns — while Romney’s date of withdrawal from his Bain Capital may be germane, I’m not sure his tax returns are. (Maybe Reid should agree to release his wardrobe — any Ralph Laurens made in China? — if Romney agrees to hand over his IRS documents.)

We get it — Romney is super-rich and the Democrats want to rub that and his offshore accounts in his face to win the support of middle-class families. But to sneer at Romney by using the dog catcher line is to show a level of viciousness that, I think, too often populates rhetoric from a left that has lost too many message battles and prefers ad hominem attacks to defense of policy initiatives.

“If you are from Southern Nevada, everyone knows she is married to a nephrologist.”

That was Reid on a conference call with reporters Thursday defending Rep. Shelley Berkley on allegations she helped her kidney doctor husband by her actions as a congresswoman. That’s an obviously false statement. But even if I give Reid latitude for exaggeration, it is an absolutely ludicrous defense of Berkley.

A very small percentage of Southern Nevada’s 2 million residents know a lot about Berkley, much less about what her husband does for a living. And even if they did, how does that immunize her against disclosure and perhaps less activism on issues that could affect her own pocketbook — the issues the House tribunal is exploring?

Reid later went on to produce another Reidism — in this case, another obvious prevarication — when he said he was “glad this is all out in the open,” echoing the Berkley campaign line that has to be one of the most unbelievable in history. Yes, happy days are here again when the House Ethics Committee announces it is forming a special investigative subcommittee after every Democrat votes to move forward with a more extensive, subpoena-laden probe. Maybe Dean Heller should be the one to drop out because things are going so well for Berkley.

Folks, I understand the need to be a good soldier in politics as well as the imperative for a leader to be the partisan sniper. But Reid’s loose Thursday lips, entertaining and amusing though they may be for us Fourth Estaters, are part of the dumbing down and nastying up of politics, where truth is not valued but discarded and civility is not strained but trashed.

Isn’t there a Reidism for that?

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  1. Sad, very sad. Find me a democrat, any democrat, that has a working knowledge of economics. You wonder why we're broke? We've taxed our economy into dysfunction. Government payments cannot replace private enterprise--those receiving social welfare benefits do not replace workers with earned income. Mistaking that is the fuel behind continued and inappropriate cuts to employee payroll taxes while SS and Medicare are fiscally challenged.

  2. I'm real tired of Jon Ralston's constant hate on
    Senator Reid. Is he a progressive or a rabble-rouser?

  3. Mr. Ralston
    I bet dollars to doughnuts you voted for Harry. And the rest of us have to suffer under the consequences of your bad choice. I think there should be a tax levied on people who vote for candidates they later find reason to you rue Harry..and as I do..
    That said.. I have been collecting "obamanisms" lately.
    Obamaisms: you know, people like your "stubborn Uncle Jim who watches fox"
    Obamaisms: "You didn't build it" (therefore you should pay for the privilege of using it) to a group of business owners, referring to the infrastructure and why business owners should pay more in taxes.

  4. As for "civility" there was never a nastier, dirtier, vile, dishonest campaign than the one Harry Reid launched against Sharon Angle. The Fourth Estate reported Reid campaign's insinuations, half truths, distortions and out-of-context statements as "gospel truth" news. The Fourth Estate justified their bias and smear as "protecting the public" from an "unfit" candidate rather than reporting objective truth and letting the voters decide.
    In Fact..this smear campaign against Romney looks like a Reid dejavu all over again..I have thought that Obama is using Reid as his campaign advisor on how to smear early, smear big and smear smear smear..
    No it wasn't funny then, it isn't funny now..and Reid is foul, trash mouth dirty politician..

  5. Teamster:
    Isn't the teamster's union suing Obama for insourcing teamster jobs to Mexican nationals under Billy Clinton's NAFTA?

  6. Thank you, Jon, for saying the emperor (there is little doubt Harry has far more power than Obama) has no clothes!

  7. Harry and BHO both need to go quietly into the night.
    Neither have a clue...

  8. Oh, pulleeze...

    Hey, Jon; you are walkin' a MIGHTY FINE LINE...
    You tink' you are God's Gift to Gab-dom?
    Have you actually watched tape of your show lately?

  9. Future:
    I read that speech by Obama "You Didn't Do It." I imagined a group of people in my business being the audience. I winced..It is the most uninformed, ignorant and insulting speech I have is ..shameful for an elected official to have so little knowledge of business, taxes and government..and to reduce the issues to "bumper sticker" sloganeering for an agenda
    I thought..who would I rather listen to or have as a speaker to a group of business leaders ? Romney who has a very sophisticated knowledge of business or Obama's silly, "You didn't do it?"

    Lost Throes:
    Campaign issuses are "yadda, yadda, yadda." The fact is I would rather have Angle, a teacher with a husband who works for BLM, is Washington than Reid who hasn't been out of the beltway for years.
    I think Angle would have a more informed take on Nevada than Reid.

  10. Last Throes..
    The Angle/Rieid election to me was a choice between two visions..Reelecting an experienced operative, cunning, ruthless Reid as Pope of the Byzantine Beltway ..or Mrs. Angle Goes to Washington
    For the Fourth Estate to engage in smear and bias was annoying and distracting...and it is undeniable that the Fourth Estate did so..
    Reid is ..Pope of the Byzantine Beltway but how is that working out for Nevada?

  11. Holy Moly..Harry Reid just said "Angry Old White Men"
    The democrats had best hope he was givng a 4th of July speech to the AARP about Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franscis Marion, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin and Lightfoot Harry Lee or he is in some deep deep trouble!

  12. Harry being Harry.
    Harry being a doofus. But I repeat myself.

    Now Obama's campaign is whining about Bain Capital outsourcing jobs? Are they just congenitally stupid?

    Don't they think we remember that Obama's "job creation czar" is one Jeffrey Immelt, head of GE - the same company that sent their manufacturing to China (that's outsourcing in extremis) and PAID NO TAXES!!

  13. Jeez John when Reid was running his corruption only made him more colorful to you. A little late now.