It’s not easy being Senator Harry Reid these days. First, the four-term incumbent finds himself locked in a desperate reelection campaign against Republican Sharon Angle, with polls showing the race a statistical dead heat. Now, he has to go on television to remind Nevada voters to please not hold him accountable for their economic woes.
Apparently, many of them were under the mistaken impression that Reid, as Senate Majority Leader in partnership with a Democratic House and President, would have some role in shaping national economic policy.
However, in an interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC news, Reid was quick to disabuse anyone of that notion when he said “You know I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. You know I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures…I think it’s a stretch to think I caused the problems with this economy.”
Now, for a politician to take credit during a rollicking good economy and begin pointing fingers when it tanks is usually par for the course. In that regard, Reid may be forgiven for trying to take the focus off himself and shift it elsewhere — anywhere — to not get swept up in the political tsunami most are now predicting will befall the Democratic Party.
So, in an effort to clarify who was really at fault for the economic mess, Reid laid the blame squarely at the feet of the man Democrats believe to be at the root of every ill in the country: George W. Bush. Unfortunately for Reid, unless the entire state of Nevada suddenly develops a collective case of amnesia and forgets which Party has been running things the last two years, it’s going to be a difficult task to successfully shift the blame to Dubya this time around.
The Bush card, like the race card, has begun to lose the cachet it once held for Democrats. Accountability seems to be the new buzzword that’s captured the public fancy this election season. It’s but one reason why Harry has ditched trumpeting his part in the current economic maelstrom in order to emphasize his real role as innocent bystander blindsided by the evil George Bush.
Accepting this strategy must still have been a very bitter pill for Reid to swallow. It’s a cardinal rule among politicians seeking reelection to remind their constituents of the sway they hold on the levers of government. It’s a sign of their ability to bring the goods back home. To hear the Senate Majority Leader openly acknowledge his political impotence was somewhat startling, but not all too surprising.
But what else is Reid supposed to do? Nevada’s economy is abysmal. The state leads the nation in unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosures, and credit card delinquencies, a superfecta of economic misery. He has become, along with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, the personification of the anti-Washington, anti-Democratic sentiment sweeping the nation.
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