By now you've probably grown inured to Harry Reid's oafish hyper-partisanship, but it's still fun to flag instances where it blows up in his face. In advance of last night's Massachusetts Senate debate, Sen. Scott Brown told local reporters that he might be forced to skip the face-off with rival Elizabeth Warren if his official duties required him to remain in Washington to cast votes. Reid interpreted this as a sign of trepidation and accused Brown of running scared and deliberately using the Senate calendar as a handy excuse to duck the debate. Reid ostentatiously canceled the remainder of the day's votes in order to expose Brown's cowardice, or something:
Madam president, I’m so sorry. We have no more votes today. No more votes today. It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in a debate. While he can’t use the Senate as an excuse, there will be no more votes today.
What a clever gambit by the ingenious Majority Leader! This political sage surely has been to "a few of these rodeos" (several of which apparently incorporated poetry readings). With his carefully-laid designs to wriggle out of the televised confrontation thwarted, Brown sheepishly...hopped on the next plane to Boston, and turned in a strong performance at the debate. According to a flash poll of viewers, Brown got the better of the exchange:
Fifty percent (50%) of voters who watched tonight's U.S. Senate debate between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren said the Senator won, with 40% saying that Warren won the debate (6% thought it was a tie and 4% were undecided) according to a Kimball Political Consulting survey of "likely voters" in Massachusetts. The poll also shows that 55% of likely voters actually watched the debate leading to speculation by the pollster Spencer Kimball, that "the effect of tonight's debate will be played out over the course of several days as pundits and both campaigns try to frame the results for the voters". Results of the ballot test show Senator Scott Brown with a 1 point lead over Democrat Elizabeth Warren (48 percent to 47 percent) with 5 percent undecided.
The ballot portion of this poll is the second survey this week that shows Brown in the lead. Good thing Harry Reid showed him who's boss. On a serious note, the New York Times recently reported that Reid and his party's Senate leadership have been "content to achieve little" in order to avoid tough votes for vulnerable Democrat incumbents. So in an age of $16 Trillion in national debt and a looming fiscal cliff, the budget-free Democrats are intentionally dodging votes and blocking even the consideration of amendments. And Reid's the guy suggesting that Scott Brown is the petty wimp here? I find it extraordinary and pathetic that the leader of the United States Senate gaveled out an entire session for the sole purpose of attempting -- and failing -- to embarrass one member of the opposition party.
UPDATE - I guess Reid has decided the Senate is DSCC headquarters. What a joke:
The bill Reid wants the Senate to vote on is the Sportsmen's Act of 2012. Or, as one political hand dubbed the legislation, "the get Jon Tester reelected bill." It's a bill meant directly to appeal to Tester's constituents, which is why Reid wants a vote on it, even though it's expected to fail in the Senate. "Harry Reid is literally holding up a bill to fund the government so that Jon Tester can use the Senate floor as a campaign studio," says one senior Republican aide in the Senate. "He’s more concerned with saving this guy’s seat than keeping government funded, avoiding the biggest tax hike in history, or preventing across-the-board defense cuts in January. This is Washington at its worst."
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography