I think Reid has been a very weak leader, not only in dealing with the opposition, but also in dealing with his President. He should have been insisting to Obama, back in 2009, that he put forward judicial nominations while they had 60 votes.
Hard to know whether to blame Reid, or Leahy there, as Judiciary committee chairman I think wielded more power. I think all Democrats are to blame for not getting more done, when they had 60-votes. Yet I don't think they truly appreciated the extent of Republican obstructionism until it was too late.I am much more impressed by Reid after 2010, when he won re-eleciton. I think he's been a rather strong force for Obama's policies. He was recently cited as wanting to alleviate the sequester for the NIH which I strongly applaud, and think he's kept his caucus together rather well. Here's hoping if faced with more Republican obstruction in terms of Judiciary and Executive branch nominees he goes 'nuclear' and changes the rules. That would increase my view of him no end.
Good points; there also is an element of hindsight here---who could have predicted Scott Brown? If we assume the Ds retain that seat, then there is no reason to hustle over appointments.
Except for the looming Depression, and two wars, and the urgent need to fix the long-term economic future of the US by driving health care costs down, and somehow finding a way to keep the bankers from raping the economy again.... Sure, you've got a great memory for the last six years.
I think in part the answer depends on whether he is willing to follow through on his "nuclear option" threat regarding appointments. If the threat does lead to concessions by the Republicans, fine. If it doesn't, he had better follow through on it or he will look very weak.He shouldn't be deterred by McConnell's threat to go nuclear on everything if the GOP wins the Senate in 2014. There is still Obama's veto to curb the GOP, and unless 2016 is a total Republican landslide, the Democrats would probably regain control of the Senate then anyway, regardless of who wins the presidency.
Harry Reid is a fine Majority Leader in the sense that it's tough to picture a better one. Anyone who rises to that rank will have great respect for the Senate's unique norms and rules and would be reluctant to radically change anything. It's his job to protect the power of his party's Senators, since that is why they chose him. I have a hard time believing that Patty Murray, Dick Durbin, or Chuck Schumer would be much more successful as Majority Leader in this Senate. Hopefully the role is changing, though, to allow for more flexibility when dealing with minority obstruction.
Dems have often underestimated the chaotic obstructionism of the Party of Nothing. It appeared that Reid publicly undercut Sen. Feinstein's assault weapons regulation bill in some political attempt to consolidate support for expanded registration. But even that overwhelmingly popular bill didn't pass. I don't blame him for the rabid reactionaries and senatorial cowards, but sometimes playing what seems like smart politics is not smart politics.
I think that the Democrats are waiting for the bread and butter Republican interests to whack the crazy out of the party. There were a couple of articles recently about how Republican groups with a reasonable interest in modifying Obamacare have been unable to get any help from right-wing politicians in this regard. By trying to stay above the fray, I think Sen. Reid is trying to pick off these interests and get them to support the Democratic side, or (more likely) have them work out a deal with the crazy. The problem is more difficult than most realize.
I think that what's interesting about him is that he's stuck in this nightmare version of DC, in which the opposition party has given up on governing. He's stuck between having to take measures that reinforce and deepen the partisan divide, and wanting to hold onto the old standards and systems that made the Senate work in the "good old days."
Some big items (stimulus, health care, bank reform, 2 SC judges) did get through the Senate under Reid. But he has seemed very slow to grasp what the Republicans are doing with their total obstruction and respond accordingly. But so has been the rest of the Senate Democrats (and the press). I guess one way to answer this is to ask yourself whether you would want him to be majority leader if the Democrats won back the House and actually passing bills other than spending cuts for the poor became possible again. I guess my answer is no I'd rather have somebody else.
Wow. Reply spam is getting really sophisticated. cf. g.t.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect