Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clean Harry Reid And Senator Roland Burris

I don't see why these FireDogLake commenters are so unhappy with Harry Reid's handling of the Roland Burris situation.

The essential thing in handling the Blagojevich scandal is to make it absolutely clear to observers that you're not tainted by Blagojevich's corruption. If Harry Reid jumps the gun in trying to block the corrupt governor's Senate nominee, and then Blago tries to simultaneously save his ass and be an ass by appointing a clean guy who Reid can't actually block, Reid looks a little foolish but totally clean. Reid's vigorous but failed attempt to oppose Blagojevich (much like Obama's unwillingness to play the bribe game) makes sure that the taint of corruption is quarantined and doesn't affect public perceptions of the Democratic Party as a whole.

This is the Senator who once choked a dude who was trying to bribe him. You know what I want people saying about my Senate Majority Leader? If you're corrupt around Harry Reid, he'll throw everything he has at you, plus some things he doesn't.


Anonymous said...

well put, but it accomplishes that goal (of demonstrating incorruptibility) at a cost: reinforcing the image of congressional Democrats as feckless wimps waiting to be outstrategized.

Anonymous said...

I would have been content with Reid saying he would reject Blagojevich nominees to the extent he was legally able to do so -- and staying away from threatening actions that he knew or should have known were illegal and unconstitutional. You don't show disrespect for Blago's alleged lawbreaking by breaking the law yourself.

Also, the impression that Reid was negotiating with Burris, or had certain demands of him before he would permit him to become a senator, is exactly the wrong tone -- again, because it is not based on the law of appointments, but on using (or rather, abusing) the political power of the majority leader's office to get concessions from an appointee -- which is almost exactly the same charge against Blagojevich.

The majority leader should have been able to show credible opposition to Blagojevich, while also adhering to the rule of law with regard to Senate nominees -- instead of jerking a valid nominee around for two weeks, changing positions a couple of times a day, and asserting claims of senatorial power that would have been laughed out of both liberal and conservative courts.

Linkmeister said...

Possibly a cumulative effect of past frustrations with Reid when he was perceived as getting rolled by McConnell on issues the Firedogs thought he should have fought harder for. I admit I share some of the frustration.

corvus said...

What Neil said. Gaucho, I don't think that's really a cost; looking like you can be outstrategized is actually a strategic advantage (providing you can't actually be outstrategized).

Also, I agree with Linkmeister that this is a cumulative thing. It's pretty obvious when every Hamsher post on anything involving Reid slips in a mentions of Joe Lieberman (which isn't really fair since that seems to have been more due to Obama's influence, besides which it was probably the right call anyways: you hear the thing about Lieberman getting into it with Begich about protecting ANWR?)

Anonymous said...

I like Reid's ethics, but have gotten tired of seeing him rolled again and again. The Gang of 14 was the last straw for me. The Dems need a more effective leader, a al Pelosi. (Yes, I know the differences in rules between the 2 chambers makes her job easier, but come on.)