Thursday, January 15, 2009

Harry Reid Explained

As I've said before, Harry Reid is quite possibly the weakest Majority Leader of either party in the last half century, at least.

Now I know why. He's not only a Conservative Democrat. He comes from a Republican state where his re-election is not guaranteed. In short, he has to be careful not to seem "too" Democratic if he wants to stay in office.

Fine. I can understand the instinct for self-preservation. But that does not explain why the Democratic Senate first elected him as Majority Leader and then re-elected him. Except, of course, that Senate Democrats (like the equally cowardly House Democrats) are so afraid of being labeled "partisan" or "liberal" by the media that they don't want a "real" Democrat in the position.

I, quite frankly, am not happy with a Democratic President who thinks that partisanship, action on behalf of a set of firm beliefs, is wrong. That both Pelosi* in the House and Reid in the Senate share this view does not bode well for Democrats like me who believe in traditional Democratic values.

*Pelosi's cowardice and weakness, even with a Democratic majority, has no similar excuse. She comes from a reliably liberal district in one of the most liberal cities in the country.

Burris - the new Junior Senator - Media Missing in Action

One of the things that has most amazed me about the Burris case has been the kid gloves with which this man has been treated.

Everybody, including Harry Reid (not that his judgment means much), insists that Burris is untainted,is a good man.

But Burris ran for Governor 3 times and lost. He also, I believe, ran for Senator and lost. In short, the people of Illinois have repeatedly rejected him.

He knew that the Governor has been accused of trying to sell the Senate seat. He knew that the Senate did not want to seat an appointee of that Governor. But he wanted to be Senator so much that he, apparently (I read or heard this somewhere), put himself forward for the position and accepted the nomination. Think about that.

One can draw only two conclusions about Burris the man, based on this action. Either he is so ambitious, so desirous of becoming Senator that he doesn't care how it looks or how he gets the position or his ethics are so weak (perhaps non-existent) that he simply can't understand why the character of the person appointing him, and the situation under which the appointment was made, taints the appointment. One can't help but wonder what other ethical matters he will be blind to.

Rich & Holder - Missing the Point

First, in spite of all the ink and air time spent on this issue, I still honestly don't know why the Republicans think the pardon of Rich was the equivalent of a high crime.

Who was this guy? What was the pardon for (what crimes)? Who requested the pardon?

Beyond those important basics, however, Holder's answers appear evasive because he has focused on the fact that the decision "was a mistake". He made assumptions that he should not have made. Etc., etc.

Holder seems to assume that the members of the committee already know all the details (probably true) but the public audience probably doesn't.

What he needs to do and what he has yet to do is to explain how the the process works, how the issue came before him and what criteria he used to approve the pardon. Just saying that he made a mistake or that he made erroneous assumptions, however correct as far as those statements go, simply makes him sound evasive.

I, BTW, believe this is all a red herring raised by Republicans who still hate Bill Clinton and who want to cause trouble for Obama (for whom I did not vote), and seriously doubt that it deserves the attention it has been given (given all the pardons issued by all past Presidents), but it does bother me that Holder seems so locked into planned responses that he is unable to hear what he is being asked and to respond in a way that would explain why he acted as he did.