Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Broken Reid

The Inland Empire, CA – Around forty years ago Harry Reid launched himself into politics. Although he lost an initial election attempt, he recovered, and now sits proudly as the Democratic majority leader of the senate.

Less than two weeks ago Reid spoke as the gathering of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas. The speech is now remembered because of a remark seen by many as racist, which was so offensive to some of those present that they have since given their endorsement to the opponent of the candidate Reid was endorsing that night.
However, there is something else, not mentioned in all the outlets, although some covered it, that happened that night that is telling. While there Reid also mentioned a book. “I would recommend it to everyone,” Reid said. “It’s called Dowager Empress Cixi. Read that. It’s a best seller. It’s a great book. Everyone should read that. … This remarkable woman did so much for China.” Although he got the title wrong by just a little bit, the true story in the book is interesting.
The author, Jung Chang, writes of Cixi: “In some four decades of absolute power, her political killings, whether just or unjust … were no more than a few dozen, many in response to plots to kill her,” Four decades. The time Harry Reid has been in politics. Jon Ralston, a political writer, said of this “the parallels are clear.” A person trying to hold onto power no matter what the cost.
Recently, Reid, who is now 74, and apparently feeling it, has seemed to be slowing down. There is even the occasional whisper that he might not even run for reelection in 2016. He is currently in her fifth term in the senate. Among his more famous current happenings is an attack on the previously unheard of Koch brothers, billionaire conservatives, who he claims are “un-American” and trying to buy senate seats by pumping millions of dollars into campaigns all across the country.
Just recently, a large cutout of Harry Reid was placed at the Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas. Everyone from Ted Cruz, Michael Pence, Rand Paul and Rick Perry showed up, as did the Koch brothers, the candidates showed up to remind everyone about themselves as 2016 draws closer, and also to bash Harry Reid, deriding him as a man who attacks the 1% while living at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and having a chauffeur.
The brothers assumedly showed to help them begin to get an idea about which horse to bet on in the presidential race. Their money could make an interesting talking point in 2016. But by then people may remember all the liberal millionaires and billionaires that donate, and be less concerned about the Koch family.
The cutout of Reid got a lot of attention, with people reportedly lining up to take pictures of themselves with him. Some punching him in the mouth, others giving him rabbit ears, others just taking selfies of themselves with one of the club of 100.
Reid may or may not run again in 2016, and if he does, he may or may not win. Forty years around politics is a long time. He has grandchildren, and he is getting older. His gaffes are becoming more regular, and his ramblings reportedly more pronounced. Within the last few months he made headlines by being admitted to the hospital. But perhaps worst of all for him is he has hit at the Koch brothers, a duo who could drown his opponent’s campaign in so much money, that even if Reid wins, his image could come out so battered that he could lost much of his authority in the senate.
One wonders why he attacked the brothers. But perhaps after forty years, he just didn’t much care anymore. Or perhaps he isn’t even planning to run again, although currently he still says he is. Whatever the case about Reid and the Koch brothers, one is reminded of the old movie line “they are coming for you.”

Andrew C. Abbott

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