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Let's See You Prove Otherwise

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Harry Reid paints his toenails red and wears a girdle.

No, seriously, a former Nevada Democrat who shall remain nameless told me so. And if the erstwhile Senator wants to prove otherwise, he will have to take off his socks and shoes, along with his pants, and show the public it’s not true.

Oh, and did I tell you that Mr. Reid has “I like Ike” tattooed on his behind? I’m not kidding. A former country club colleague of Reid’s who is not comfortable revealing his identity whispered that to me while I was riding the subway. Therefore, it must be true. To prove otherwise the Senate Majority Leader will have to remove his Spanx in front of the media and show the public that he’s not a closet Republican.

In the political arena, the burden of proof is now on the accused to rebut charges—however reckless and outrageous—made by unnamed sources and repeated by others, whether the conduit of the alleged accusation is willing to vouch for the charge or not. At least that’s the standard set by Mr. Reid. He maintains that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid a dime in taxes in ten years. His basis for the claim? An alleged Bain investor, whom he refuses to identify, told him so. It’s up to Romney, Reid pronounces, to prove otherwise:

"The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes in 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes—because he hasn't."

This guilty-until-proven-innocent approach is the new go-to move in today's politics of the 24-hour news cycle. The mainstream media aids and abets Reid’s act by publishing his outlandish charges and looking to Mr. Romney to prove otherwise. A little spark of a rumor started by an irresponsible politician is quickly fanned into a wildfire by the throngs of media members straining to fill their time slots and all-too-ready to propagate any story as long as they can attach the get-out-of-jail-free word "alleged." No wonder public approval of Congress and the media is in the tank.

Meanwhile, The Prince of Civility, Barack Obama, remains mute, refusing to call off his Senate attack dog, now obviously afflicted with hydrophobia. The President's spokesman Jay Carney blithely tells reporters Reid "speaks for himself." And Reid is all too happy to do so. Deranged and foaming at the mouth, Reid revels in the absurdity of his conduct, and, sporting a silly grin, refuses to back off.

Why? Reid is pushing his accusation to the forefront of the political conversation to keep us from examining substantial issues in the lead up to November's election. Reid is doing the dirty work so the President's re-election campaign doesn't have to sully itself. And why not? Reid's term isn't over until 2016 and word is he won’t run again. But even if he does, surely his constituents will have forgotten a four-year-old indiscretion by then.

No matter how potentially effective his political "strategy," Reid undermines his office by putting forth these accusations without providing proof. His unethical approach does not qualify as a helpful, responsible "education of the voters." The rule of ethical accusation is simple: If the attack is true, prove it! The onus is on the accuser. After all, anyone can throw mud. As it stands now, Mr. Reid is just a distraction, and the chattering class is going along for the ride.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the theater of the absurd starring United States Senator Harry Reid! Mr. Reid has become positively Kafkaesque in his dotage. And he is relishing his role. What absurd accusation will he level next? What will be the next outlandish charge he hurls at his party’s opponents?

With actors like Mr. Reid at the helm, is it any wonder that the economy is sputtering, that the government is spending more than it takes in, and that our leaders appear to have lost touch with reality?

Can we really continue to indulge such nonsense? We the people had better get a grip on our government, because our government has lost its grip on reality. Come November, we may want to put a new cast and crew in charge and try out a new set of actors.

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