Ah, Harry! You lovable loser. Whenever I'm plagued with feelings of inadequacy I need look no further than Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader for reassurance. It's you, Senator, that I want staying "in" with me the next time I play Texas Hold'em.
Recently, Senator Reid, leader of the mighty Democratic majority, made a stand for good government by stating flatly that he would not seat any senator appointed by Illinois' tainted governor, Rod Blagojevich, if Blagojevich tried to name someone to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
This tough stance was something of a surprise. It's not that the sentiment Reid expressed didn't have a certain virtue. It's just that Reid might have learned by now that his tough talk doesn't carry much weight when he has already rolled over for everybody who has so much as cast a stern look his way.
The list of capitulations over the two years since Reid has been Majority leader is long indeed. Reid rolled over for Junior Bush on everything from telecom warrentless wiretapping (he voted "Nay," but he still allowed the FISA bill to come to the Floor) to unconditional funding for the Iraq misadventure.
Just last November, Reid rolled over for Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), granting Lieberman chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee in spite of the fact that Lieberman campaigned for the Republican nominee for president, criticizing the Democratic nominee at the GOP convention.
So, when Blagojevich went ahead and appointed Roland Burris to take the vacant senate seat there was much ado in the Washington Beltway about Senator Reid's response. Would the Senator have Burris escorted out of the Capitol building by the Sergeant-at-Arms? Would he table the appointment through some shrewd procedural maneuvering? Or, would he vanquish the would-be Senator through force of will, bringing to bear his mighty presence?
No, foolish one! Senator Reid is doing what he does best... he's rolling over.
Sturm und Drang, it now appears as if Roland Burris will soon be seated as the junior Senator from the state of Illinois. And, why not? Burris himself is not implicated in the charges leveled against Blagojevitch. His appointment is perfectly legal. He appears to be as honest as any other Senator. (I know that might seem to be a pretty low bar, but what the hey?) Reid had no legal means to block the appointment although he tried to hide behind the straw man argument that Illinois' Secretary of State has not signed the appointment papers.
So, why did Reid choose this battle against the appointment of a Democratic senator when he couldn't muster up the gumption to thwart Junior Bush in any manner?
Maybe Reid thought this was a fight that he could finally win. Any bully on the playground knows which kids he can intimidate and which he had better avoid. But, in Reid's case, there might not be any kids that belong in the former group.
Just yesterday he was at it again, claiming "I don't work for Barack Obama." Gonna get tough with the new prez, huh, Harry? Nobody's gonna steam roller anything past you, eh?
I'm sure Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are shaking in their shoes.