Senator Harry Reid, whose cancerous partisanship and casual slanders marked his contemptible tenure in Washington, is at long last departing Congress. No longer will his ignoble "leadership" shame our politics. This morning, he delivered a valedictory floor address, which I couldn't quite manage spare the time to watch because I had...well, literally anything else to do. Part of me does hope that he lobbed a few final baseless smears, or ranted impotently against the Koch brothers, one last time. For old time's sake, really. Or perhaps he devoted some of his speech reflecting on his greatest legacies: Contributing heavily to the decimation of his own party by forcing through an unpopular healthcare law for which Democrats are still suffering at the polls four election cycles later -- and equipping the Republican majorities he helped build with the legislative tools and precedents to give President Trump much more of what he wants, much more quickly. Helluva job, Harry. Take a bow.
In any case, as America prepares to shed zero tears over his blessed departure from the national stage, please join me on the following trot down memory lane. When Reid announced his impending retirement early last year, I compiled a 'not top ten'-style list of the Nevadan's ugliest conduct and statements over the years. In truth, it was rather difficult to narrow down the roster to only ten entries, but making tough editorial judgements is part of my job. Reid has no doubt churned out additional potential entries since the publication of the post that follows -- this one in particular stands out -- but each of these lowlights still seems worth reliving together as we jointly celebrate the end of this small, nasty man's undignified and shabby career polluting our polity. Good riddance:
(1) That time he claimed, with a straight face, that paying taxes is "voluntary:"
(2) That time he completely baselessly accused Mitt Romney of tax evasion on the Senate floor -- with the Obama campaign's blessing:
"The word's out!" Reid also remarked that Romney had "sullied" the Mormon faith, also opining that the Republican's father would be "embarrassed" by him. These nasty attacks proved too much even for Jon Stewart.
(3) Those approximately 17,000 times he ripped the Koch brothers by name, going so far as to call them "un-American," which usually raises gales of protest from the Civility Police when ideologies are reversed:
(4) That time when Reid -- whose party refused to even propose annual budgets throughout most of his time at the helm -- attacked "mean-spirited" (and minuscule) GOP-offered budget cuts as devastating to, uh, cowboy poets:
(5) That time Reid claimed that every single Obamacare horror story was a lie, prompting a furious rebuttal from yours truly. Public polling continues to show that many more Americans were directly harmed by the law than were helped:
(6) That time Reid, a promiscuous player of the race card, praised Barack Obama for being "light skinned" and lacking a "Negro dialect:"
(7) That time when Reid tipped his hand on 'shutdown theater' in 2013, after being asked why he opposed a Republican proposal to re-open parts of the government on a piecemeal basis. On the subject of NIH funding, CNN's Dana Bash asked, "if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" To which Reid replied, "why would we want to do that?"
(8) That time Reid got super rich during his tenure as a supposed "public servant" on a government salary, thanks to a series of remarkably successful investments:
Try this thought experiment. Imagine that someone grows up in poverty, works his way through law school by holding the night shift as a Capitol Hill policeman, and spends all but two years of his career as a public servant. Now imagine that this person’s current salary — and he’s at the top of his game — is $193,400. You probably wouldn’t expect him to have millions in stocks, bonds, and real estate. But, surprise, he does, if he’s our Senate majority leader, whose net worth is [now] between 3 and 10 million dollars, according to OpenSecrets.org.
(9) That time Harry Reid wondered how any one with brown skin could be a Republican, echoing President Obama's divisive "punish our enemies
(10) That time when Reid, having detonated the nuclear option on filibuster rules as majority leader, suddenly reclaimed his deep commitment to the practice after being relegated to the minority. Click through for a fuller accounting of his shamelessness on Senate procedure.
Sen. Reid yesterday: "The filibuster is an indispensable tool of the minority"— STEW (@StewSays) January 8, 2015
Goodbye to you, soon-to-be former Senator Reid. At least you won't have to be subjected to the stinky masses much longer.