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May 20, 2009

Comments

Amen.

I'm disgusted, and ashamed of my party.

Yeah. Really what else can one say about the kind of cravenness shown by Reid on this issue. One tries to take larger perspective on these matters and lately I, for one, had been succeeding on taking the longer view. You can't win every battle. You have to sometimes concede a little to move things forward. But this is flat out cowardice that is truly untenable. There is no defense for it. None at all and I sincerely believe the only appropriate responses are shame and anger. Pathetic.

And this is one of the many reasons why people who probably are "liberal" will never support the Democratic party like conservatives support the GOP

let him lose. Reid is such a transparent pile of excuses.

I really, really don't understand Harry Reid. It's not just that he sometimes disappoints, it's that he almost never fails to disappoint, and almost never seems to make a surprising accomplishment (except perhaps the dubious success of wooing Specter). What is he doing as Senate Majority leader? Even more so, what is he still doing as Senate Majority Leader? Is it just because the obvious alternatives are now in the Administration, sick, old, or from Massachusetts?

Can ghouls be cowards? They're just ghouls.

"I'm disgusted, and ashamed of my party."

And it took you till now?
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/11/the-cabinet-com.html

What is disgusting and shameful about Reid's answers is not just his willful and dishonest conflating of "released" and "imprisoned." It is also his referring to the prisoners as "terrorists," when, not only have they not had trials, but we know most of them to be innocent.

But let's not let Obama off the hook. He has held innocent men (the Uighurs in particular) in prison for four months. He doesn't need Reid's permission to release them.

This makes me sick.

I mean, I'm a registered Democrat and I vote for Democrats in the hope of slowly making things a little bit better. But sometimes (especially with a charismatic guy like Obama) I get all excited and filled with Democratic team spirit, and I forget to be cynical. And then jerks like Harry Reid come along and remind me that I'm really not on their team.

Reid is the reason i won't donate to the DNC.

Kevin Drum's take on this is enlightening, too.

goddamnit, there was a link on that last post:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/05/bitch-slapping-dems

I agree. I think we are seeing that, despite his dismissal of the Nevada polls, he is trying to save his job. Maybe he should give up his leadership position. Durban has been the one acting like a leader.

Harry Reid is a useless tool, and should have been replaced as Majority Leader years ago.

Rep. Adam Schif was on Rachel Maddow last night & his spin was that this sort of thing (ignoring the fact it's b.s. ... that currently many convicted terrorists are in our prisons) puts pressure on Obama to give more details about his Gitmo plan & involve Congress more.

Uh huh. Those crafty Dems are using stupidity twelve dimension chess style! It is one thing to refuse to supply funding until you have a real plan. It's another to promote ignorance. Honest Democrats should call Reid and others for this stupidity, letting them know that playing Americans for fools or using Republican scare tactics is not the way to go.

As usual, Glenn Greenwald is on the case, including a "Save Our Prisons" video that ranks up there with Hilzoy's efforts.

I share everyone's disgust with Reid.

Maybe it would be a good idea to elect a leader who holds a safe seat, and is not constantly looking at a reelection fight. I thought that was part of Daschle's problem as well.

Let's face it, the best (perhaps only) chance for the Republican Party in the near and medium term is if Reid and Pelosi stay in their current positions. Obama (on the evidence so far) could remake the political playing field for a generation -- but not if we have those two (or replacements like them; I don't suppose for a minute that they are unique) to trash the new message.

Harry Reid is probably just listening to his constituents, not to liberal bloggers. Folks at Obsidian wings are pretty convinced that the most important thing that Obama can do is to close Guantanamo Bay and bring the detainees to America. But here in the land of hope and glory, millions of soccer moms aren't convinced that its OK to have mass murderers in their back yard-which is how the Republicans frame it.

It is clear that Obama is going to go out there and sell the idea of closing Guantanamo and housing the detainees here. It ain't a slam dunk. Maybe it should be but it ain't. Heck, maybe Guantanamo will remain open-it maybe that the American public just wants the detainees as far from their home and children as possible. If so, then Harry Reid and Obama are just going to have to go along with that-over the objections of Obsidian Wings.

Timothy McVeigh is walking the streets of America right now, showing up at tea parties and chatting with Hannity on FOX. Governor Rick Perry had him over to the Governor's manse the other day to discuss the organization of raiding parties into Colorado for food and women after Texas secedes from the Union.

Limbaugh gets down on his fatty knees every morning and prays for the silver glint of passenger aircraft to intersect with America's tall buildings on cloudless days so he can claim victory over President Obama.

Newt Gingrich works in league with the Uighurs to foment disgust against sleeveless women who refuse to show him enough leg so he can get his Monica jones on and screw them on the desk and then deny them health insurance.

Meanwhile, the Nation's Generals still can't handle folks who would show a little love for their fellow men and women while protecting their country.

I have no ending for this, except to say that Harry Reid needs to retire and get his gig on FOX too, where language goes to die.

If so, then Harry Reid and Obama are just going to have to go along with that-over the objections of Obsidian Wings.

I am honestly not sure what point you are trying to make. If it is that the commenters at this site have very little political power on our own than consider the point taken. But I am not sure if anyone will be surprised by that revelation and I am not sure what that has to do with the fundamental moral questions of how we treat "detainees" or the relative merits of closing Gitmo or the display of cowardice by Reid in the face of nakedly stupid political demagoguery, any of which might be considered a salient issue here. Perhaps you could clarify.

I am honestly not sure what point you are trying to make. If it is that the commenters at this site have very little political power on our own than consider the point taken.

Um, I'm pretty sure I control the levers of power in America. Are you suggesting I don't? That Obama and Reid don't hang on my every word?

That would be...just...I don't know, shocking. Let me try to absorb it all.

In case it wasn't clear, because the html formatting is apparently not working, my previous comment was in response to stonetools.

Yeah, right there with you with the disgust for Reid. He should've been replaced as Maj Leader a long time ago, and they'll likely get their chance after his next election--which he's nearly certain to lose. He most certainly is /not/ listening to his constituents, and they hate him. His approval numbers are nearly in Bush territory.

He'll be lucky to make it through a contested primary--and in fact, he really ought to be primaried.

Quoting myself in a comment I left on one of the Spector threads:

Great! Now that Spector has come over from the GOP, maybe the Dems can get Harry Reid next.

What? ReallY??

Oh. Never mind.
====================
I'm old enough to remember when the leaders in Congress were just that: real leaders. Both parties, both houses. Disgusting and dissapointing don't BEGIN to cover it.

Stonetools says "Harry Reid is probably just listening to his constituents" and that's probably true.

So what does that say about Reid's constituents?

The trouble with democracy is that cowards and idiots get to vote. I would not have it any other way. But I'm sick and tired of the "civility" which requires us to "respect" the cowards and idiots among our fellow citizens. We will never get better Democrats into office until we have the courage, ourselves, to point out to our next-door neighbors (or fellow commenters) that they are cowards and idiots when they fall for Republican fear-mongering.

--TP

stonetools has it right. Politicians take their courage from their constituencies. You want a politician to take your preferred courageous stand, figure out how you can help build a constituency around it. It's ludricous to expect someone like Reid to lead on an issue with so much downside and so little upside.

What breaks my heart is imagining what the political landscape would look like if people with the political skills of LBJ and Tip O'Neal were in the leadership positions.

Jeebus, we *had* leaders of that caliber once - do we have any Senators and Reps with those skills now and, if so, where the hell are they and why aren't they mounting a revolt?

Aren't the Democrats in the House and Senate just as tired of the weakness and cowardice? just as disgusted - with Reid, particularly, knowing he won't back them up on anything? Don't *they* feel any of the 'fierce urgency of now" - or at least the fierce urgency of not wanting their own leader to undermine them!

CaseyL, right.

Reid is more of a Senate Majority Placeholder than a "Leader". i realize it's gotta be tough to herd a group as diverse and egotistical as the Senate Democrats into behaving like a unified party, but it never seems like Reid is even trying - at least not publicly. and whatever he does in private doesn't seem to be all that effective - unless the effect he's going for is Don't Rock The Boat.

As far as I can tell, the main indicator as to whether you have been released from Guantanamo or still languish there, is whether you are a citizen of a rich country or a poor one.

To be fair to the politicians, quite a few of the internees might well try to attack America if released, but this is certainly partly or even mostly due to the fact that there are always more terrorists coming out of unjust and brutalising incarceration than went in in the first place. It's like the American government identified all the basic principles of fighting terrorism, and went out of their way to do the opposite over the past eight years.

1st question: why is the President watching sen. Reid blurble and sputter and not yet come to his aid, after all didn't he start this boulder down the hill, shouldn't he be helping here?

2nd question: isn't it going to be difficult to keep the terrorists/detainees safe from our maximum security prisoners, more so than us from them?

Mayhaps we need to rewrite our national anthem and drop the words "Home of the brave."

... to have mass murderers in their back yard-which is how the Republicans frame it.

The problem is that that's also how Harry Reid is framing it (and how stonetools is framing it, but I'm assuming he's not a Democrat).

Politicians take their courage from their constituencies. You want a politician to take your preferred courageous stand, figure out how you can help build a constituency around it.

There are at least a couple things wrong with this:

First, it is also a part of a politician's duty to make a case to his/her constituents about what he/she believes to be in their best interest. No one, for instance, likes to pay more taxes but politicians make the case as to why a .5 increase in the sales tax would be a good idea all the time or why, to choose a completely random and fanciful example, a massive bailout of the banking system is necessary. If it were the sole duty of a representative to just do what the majority tells them, then why are they even necessary? We could just have a direct voting initiative on every issue.

The second problem is that, even if Reid doesn't necessarily want to lead on this issue, that does not excuse his wholesale adoption of the lazy and incredibly stupid demagoguery coming from the Republicans on this.

He doesn't want a fight on this issue? Well that's pretty lame but I guess I could understand it. But to effectively join up with people like Inhofe who are using a transparently irrational appeal to fear as a political bludgeon is the real offense.

//or why, to choose a completely random and fanciful example, a massive bailout of the banking system is necessary.//

Dollars -- or more accurately, the people who have them to give -- are a constituency, too.

3legcat brings up a good point. The President set this in motion. It's his issue. Why isn't he leading on it?

I dunno, but I suggest he's figured out it's a loser politically, and, all things considered, not the best place to spend his political capital.

Fear not, I've got the solution:

Abandon the presidential system in favour of a parliamentary one based on proportional representation. Wait a couple of years and people might actually gain some influence on the political decision making process instead of being perennially forced to vote for the lesser evil.

"why is the President watching sen. Reid blurble and sputter and not yet come to his aid"

why would Obama support someone who is opposing him?

Why IS Reid Majority Leader? IIUC, the other Senators elected him. Anybody know why? Is it one of those things where they all pick on whoever left the room and make him be "leader"?

More seriously, Wikipedia sez that he put in some time as Whip, so obviously he wanted the role and had some qualifications on paper, so I can see why they voted him in the first time. But he seems utterly ineffective. Can't get his own party to come together, won't challenge the other party (unlike Wikipedia, I do not count puerile name-calling as opposition), votes like a Republican, lousy public speaker, etc. Are the other Dems afraid that if they shove him out it will cost him the election and they'll be down a seat?

Henry: "But let's not let Obama off the hook. He has held innocent men (the Uighurs in particular) in prison for four months. He doesn't need Reid's permission to release them."

Actually, while he could move them to a US prison, he cannot release them to their home country (since China will likely mistreat them) or legally do so into the United States (it is illegal to allow in people who have received training from a designated terrorist group, which fact I don't think is in dispute for the Uighurs, although their defenders say their beef is not with the US). So Obama needs to find a country to accept them, which is difficult if we won't do so.

"it is illegal to allow in people who have received training from a designated terrorist group, which fact I don't think is in dispute for the Uighurs,"

Hilzoy has made numerous posts on the Uighurs, including six in the last week, and you can still say this with a straight face.

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/05/the-uighurs-compilation.html

Why IS Reid Majority Leader?

He was elected Leader when the Dems were in the minority. (..or 'Leader'). Not sure he was really adequate to THAT role, either, but that, and the way the Senate works (or 'works'), is why he's there.

Notice how in every profile of Reid in US newspapers, you get the story of the mafia guy in NV trying to bribe Harry, and Harry confronting him, saying "You sonovabitch, you tried to bribe me!"? That's how PR works, folks. Any competent publicist knows what kind of crap reporters like, and are deft about getting it fed into the News Maw. The mafia story (which may be perfectly true, of course) is supposed to cement the impression that this Harry Reid is One Tough Hombre. But, notice that that's the only 'tough' story you ever hear? I think Harry called W. Bush a 'loser' or something a couple years back. Ho hum. Harry is a timorous Blue Dog leading an already sclerotically conservative institution. He is exactly what the dems don't need there, IMO.

Reid is only a symptom. He has the absolute support of the Democratic Senate caucus. The problem isn't Harry Reid, it's the Democratic Party.

I left the party in 1996 over welfare "reform." I've never looked back. Our political system frequently requires me to vote for Democrats as the lesser evil. I have done so and will doubtless continue to do so.

But trust me, hilzoy, it feels a lot better not to be a member of that trainwreck of a party than to live in constant shame and/or denial about what it actually stands for.

Reid is only a symptom.

True, but he's as much a symptom of politico-tactical incompetence as of moral failings of the party. The Senate itself is a preposterously fucked up institution, frankly, but even with a compromised majority Party and broken system, you could still have a leader - at this of all moments - able to at least hold his own in what is a frequently laughable rhetorical war with desperate, cornered Republicans. This is indeed a kind of cowardice: If you can't win - won't even try to win - rhetorical battles this easy, you are a joke. The Rovian Laughter never ends in DC; the GOP knows precisely how mediocre the dems are at any given moment because they are constantly, relentlessly checking - and the dems always give them a good 'reading'..

I'm surely not alone in getting the impression that official DC represents a giant ass one sticks one's head into after having lived there for a while. And the Senate is the quintessential DC institution: there, the head continues on into the upper 'chambers' of the digestive system where no sun has ever shone.

Harry Reid loves the Senate: (wait for it.....) its prerogatives, its customs, its bla bla bla, its etc etc etc. Seems to me that the only people who really *love* the Senate are Senators themselves and their staffs.

Reid is no more a Senatorial leader than I am, for God's sake. Watch his comments and body langusge conflating the imprisonment and release of Gitmo detainees makes me think that reid is one of the dumbest sonofabitches we have.

OK, I get the 'constituant" thing. My problem is thes guys are US SENATORS; yes, they have their state electorate, but goddammit, he's a US Senator and he also represents my interests, as a US citizen.

I called Sen Schumer's office and Sen Kohl's office this morning to express my displeasure with the way their boss's voted. Interestingly enough, the staffer in Kohl's office had a handy talking point list of "Sen Kohl was one of 89 other Senators who voted,,blah, blah.." Seemed to me that Kohl anticipated some blowback phone calls and had his staff prepared to deflect the criticism.

"Sen Kohl was one of 89 other Senators who voted,,blah, blah.."

You should have responded with "Well if 89 Senators decided to jump off a cliff, would Sen Kohl do that too?"

Wasting a moment of your time by dropping my own nickel in the "Reid Sux" slot.

The Democratic Party can do better for a majority leader.

Many towns have struggled hard to GET prisons nearby because these supply good jobs and so on.

It is interesting that people want THOSE murderers and so on, but not these mere SUSPECTS.

Yeah? So what? You vote for whatever corporate-owned slug you're told to vote for. What's your shame worth? Nothing.

AlanSmithee -- (a) it is not so simple, and you don't know that that is true. (b) you are quite belligerent and probably not worth knowing. If I ran this blog, I would tell you to go away.

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