I don’t see eye to eye on every issue with Majority Leader Harry Reid. But, contra David Broder, there is something about him I really like. It comes through in little things that he says, and how he says them. Take this quote for example:
Reid said last week that his discussions with officials around the president suggest they “recognize there are some problems” but Bush himself appears isolated. “We talk to each other,” he said. “I have no animosity toward the president. I look forward to when he’s out of office, maybe going to a ballgame or something.”
To me, this type of comment has exactly the right political pitch. It doesn’t matter that it probably is untrue that Reid would want to see a ballgame with the ex-president. The important information is conveyed. According to Reid the President is so isolated that even his advisers are concerned. Reid can’t wait until Bush is out of office. And then there is the inherent dismissiveness…
Some, like Broder, sees this kind of talk as lacking in civility and respect for the office. But Reid understands that ridicule, mockery, and dismissiveness actually takes away power from your adversary. Bush isn’t the alpha and omega of power in Washington DC. The Democrats have power, too. And they must be reckoned with. If the President doesn’t deserve respect, he doesn’t get it. If he can’t compel deference, he doesn’t get deference.
The President needs to move. Reid knows how to make that point. He can shove in the shiv even as he says “I have no animosity toward the president.” That’s what I like about Harry Reid.