Obstructionist Reid Angered at Obstructionist Label
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid hit back at the Republican Party on Monday for targeting him with an attack campaign reminiscent of one used to help oust Reid’s predecessor, Tom Daschle. Standing in the Republican-led Senate, Reid called on President Bush personally to repudiate and pull “a hit piece” against him by the president’s Republican National Committee. “What they want to do is just like (what) they did to Daschle,” Reid said.
Republicans last year effectively branded Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, as a “chief obstructionist” to Bush’s agenda on Capitol Hill and got his longtime constituents to vote him out of office. Daschle served in the Senate for 18 years, his last 10 as leader. Reid, of Nevada, noted Bush has called for bipartisanship and said the president telephoned him after last year’s election and said he wanted to “get along.” “Is President Bush a man of his word (or) is what he is telling the American people just a charade?” Reid asked. At the White House, spokesman Trent Duffy said, “The president looks forward to working with Senator Reid on addressing our country’s challenges.”
An RNC spokeswoman said a “research document” about Reid that the Senate Democrat had denounced would be distributed to about a million people, including donors, party activists and reporters. “It introduces the public to the real Harry Reid,” said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. “He can try to paint himself as a centrist, but his votes to block tax reform and tort reform and his opposition to strengthen Social Security prove otherwise.” “We intend to make clear that Reid is an obstructionist who is out of the mainstream and we will hold him accountable as the Senate leader of the party of ‘no,”‘ Schmitt said. Reid was elected Senate minority leader by fellow Democrats after Daschle became the first Senate leader in a half century to be voted out of office.
That Reid is an obstructionist would seem beyond dispute. He’s the leader of the opposition party in the Senate, so there’s a sense in which Chief Obstructionist is his job title. But even beyond that, even though Bush has just been inaugurated to a second term and a new Congress, in which Democrats remain the minority party, has just started session, Reid and his comrades have decided that there will be no honeymoon period and no spirit of bipartisan cooperation.
In their “response” to Bush’s State of the Union last week, Reid and his counterpart Nancy Pelosi made it clear they have decided upon a strategy of opposing Bush’s agenda per se rather than offering an alternative set of policy proposals. They’re going to pretend that the election never happened and that the American people didn’t just vote for the agenda Bush campaigned on for two years and repudiate the message Kerry and the Democrats offered. That’s their right. It may even turn out to be successful, especially with respect to Social Security. But the Republicans have every right to fight back as well.
Calling an obstructionist “an obstuctionist” strikes me as merely the first jab. If Reid is going to start crying already, he should throw in the towel now.
Update (2-8): LAT has a version of the story now.