Harry Reid is a bitter, bitter man.
Having survived a challenge to his career in 2010 while serving as the Senate Majority Leader, Reid is still looking for someone else to blame. Someone to blame for 25 straight months of double digit unemployment in his home state of Nevada; someone to blame for Las Vegas schools that rank 51st in the nation if you count D.C.
Reid is looking for someone to blame in an attempt to stop from cutting a mere $61 billion out of a budget close to $1.5 trillion. The Tea Party demands that $61 billion just be a down payment on further, future cuts.
“The country doesn’t much care for the tea party,” Reid is quoted as saying in Politico. “If the Tea Party isn’t the most unpopular it’s ever been, it’s awfully close,” he explains, citing the recent CNN poll about the Tea Party movement.
Of course, the same came be said of the US Senate, controlled by Democrats, and of Obama.
New polling suggests that Obama’s approval rating has reached an all-time low. For the first time, fifty percent say that Obama does not deserve to be reelected, despite some recent strength in the economy.
And in criticizing the Tea Party, Reid has as much admitted that it’s the Tea Party, not Congress, that’s driving the debate about serious, meaningful cuts in the budget of the federal government no matter how much is cut.
The Tea Party may be fatigued and may be lower in polls, as CNN suggests, but even if they are, they are driving the debate on cutting the budget in ways that were unthinkable just two years ago.
To Reid, the cuts the Tea Party demands are bitter. But for the rest of us that tea tastes pretty sweet indeed.
The head of Tea Party West, an education group in Nevada, sees Reid’s remarks as vindication for their struggle to change the way Washington does business.
“Harry Reid ignored the rest of us for a long time in Nevada, while he grew rich by serving in public office,” says Ms. Taylor, head of Tea Party West and an opponent of Reid’s re-election in 2010. “But he’s not ignoring us anymore, is he? If he thinks that the cuts we demand on the budget are extreme, well then, I’m all for extremism. If he thinks, we’re the ones steering the debate, then, hurray for us!”
Reid still believes that government is best left to a small inside-the-beltway clique who thinks that cutting $2 billion from a $1.5 trillion problem is the fulfillment of hopey, changey rhetoric.
“Much of the criticism in this process has come from people who aren’t even sitting at the negotiating table,” Reid continued. “But I am. And so is Speaker [John] Boehner.”
Well, I’ve got news for Harry.
The rest of us are sitting at the table now too.
The Tea Party is demanding it.
For way too long we’ve left lobbyists from Washington and Wall Street block common sense measures at cutting the budget.
“I am sure it is not easy to try and negotiate with the Tea Party screaming in their ears,” say Reid of GOP negotiators.
“They are always talking about transparency,” says Francesca Subramanian, a founder of a Glenn Beck group, Broomfield 9-12. “The Tea Party is what transparency looks like. It’s going to be uncomfortable for politicians. They aren’t used to having someone look over their shoulder. They are used to having a compliant media.”
“But I can promise you one thing for sure: We’re not going anywhere,” she says after a pause.
That’s why Harry Reid, once the most powerful man in the US Senate, is a bitter, bitter man.