A Broken Reid Retires
It’s the end of an error, er, era. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term in 2016. The New York Times epitaph says his retirement “bring[s] an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.” Of course, the point there is that Reid’s pushing Obama’s agenda is what put him in the minority, and after all his black eyes (real and metaphorical) he probably just doesn’t care to continue there. Naturally, he denies it, saying, “The decision that I’ve made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, it has nothing to do with my being minority leader, and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be re-elected, because the path to re-election is much easier than it probably has been any time that I’ve run for re-election.” But it’s hardly unusual for a powerful member of Congress to call it quits upon returning to the minority. And Republicans nearly unseated him in 2010 with a B-list candidate, meaning his re-election in 2016 is far from a sure bet. “I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” he said. Indeed, he’d rather not run than lose his last election. He gave that away when he said, “I think it is unfair for me to be soaking up all the money to be re-elected.” If his path is “much easier” and he’s “at the top of [his] game,” why would it take so much money to win?
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey writes, “The worst part of the next eighteen months or so will be the valedictions offered to Reid for his service. By any objective measure, Reid has been a blight on the Senate and on Congress. He declared the Iraq war ‘lost’ while Americans were still fighting there, and he derailed a budget process that had worked well before his ascent into leadership. He stripped the Senate of one of its debate functions after sabotaging the amendment process, and nearly destroyed regular order. On top of that, Reid used his post to commit McCarthyite character assassination of Mitt Romney, claiming to have inside knowledge that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years, a smear that turned out to be utterly false. He has been a malevolent force for years in American politics, and nothing he did in Washington will improve the place as much as his leaving it.”