As Democrats struggle toward a bulletproof majority (pace Norm Coleman), their impotence to get together and legislate or even confirm White House appointees underscores once again the fact that their Senate Majority Leader is no Lyndon Johnson.
"Nothing is simple if you’re Harry Reid," Gail Collins writes in her New York Times column today, citing his loss of 27 Democrats on a credit-card reform bill to an amendment allowing tourists to carry guns in national parks among a string of other ineptitudes during what the Republicans like to call "one-party rule."
Two years ago the dean of political columnists, David Broder of the Washington Post, labeled him the Democrats' Alberto Gonzales, "a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance," and with Obama in the White House, Reid's leadership skills have not noticeably improved.
Now Collins reviews his inability to get the President's choices, including his own Legal Counsel, confirmed "in a place that holds one important aspect of credit card reform is giving people the ability to pack a handgun at the Grand Canyon."
The Senate may have more than its share of clowns, but Reid is a dismal choice for ringmaster. Even in his barely populated home state of Nevada, the Majority Leader has ratings so low that, almost two years before he has face voters in 2010, his campaign has been grabbing for coattails by announcing that President Obama will headline a fundraiser for him later this month.
As Collins points out: "Ted Kennedy is sick and Robert Byrd is 91 and it’s a miracle some of the other ones can find their way to the Capitol. Even if you eventually get all 60 Democratic votes in the same room, how do you get them to do the same thing? You will remember that when Specter came over, Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska instantly said: 'They might have a 60-member majority. That doesn’t mean they have 60 votes.' Reid must have found the point Nelson was making less chilling than the fact that the senator kept referring to his own party as 'they.'"
Is Harry Reid who has been, as Broder notes, "assuredly not a man who misses many opportunities to put his foot in his mouth," the best crew chief for this fractious gang at a time when the President, and the country, need all the leadership they can get?