Some of the longest-serving Democratic members of Congress, whose party has overwhelming majorities in both houses, are having far closer election races than they are used to. These include Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, not to mention 18-year veteran Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Despite their long records, they seem to want to talk about everything except their records. They could tell us why they voted for Obamacare and huge stimulus bills without having had enough time to read them. Instead, they have come up with enough red herrings to stock an aquarium.
One of the big, distracting talking points is that the Republicans in Congress have been “the Party of No.” Given the overwhelming majorities of the Democrats in both houses, in addition to their control of the White House, whether the Republicans said “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” could not have stopped the Democrats from doing anything they wanted to do.
It should also be noted that the Democrats were in power in Congress before President Obama got to the White House. So “the mess” that he constantly reminds us he “inherited” includes runaway spending by congressional Democrats, among whom Senator Obama was one of the more prominent big spenders.
Usually, the incumbents can talk about their “experience.” But experience at what? Deception? Earmarks? Reckless spending?
Sen. Harry Reid is playing the race card, saying that he can’t see how any Hispanic can vote for Republicans. But this is the same Harry Reid who in 1993 rejected “those who ask us to wink at illegal immigration” and warned against having “the social and cultural makeup” of the country “radically altered” by these immigrants.
In 1993, Senator Reid introduced a bill — the Immigration Stabilization Act — to cut back on all immigration, both legal and illegal.
Senator Reid said: “Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits, often without paying taxes.” He said, “Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance.” He added: “These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world.”
Today, of course, Senator Reid is singing an entirely different tune. He has what Thorstein Veblen once called a “versatility of convictions.” So do a lot of “experienced” politicians.
Instead of talking about the track records of people who have been wielding power in Washington for years, much of the mainstream follows the scent of the red herrings that have been dragged across its trail and focuses on the personal lives of the candidates who are challenging the incumbents.