Democrats will spin Harry Reid’s victory and cling to it like the American people allegedly cling to their Bibles and guns, but I see a huge silver lining here for conservatives. What did we lose in Sharron Angle? Not 51, right? I understand that a lot of people viewed her as a fearless conservative stalwart, but there are plenty of reasons to think that she might have been a less-than-reliable crewmate when it came time to navigate the very difficult procedural straits that lie in wait for the newly strengthened Senate minority. Avoiding needless political damage is going to be the name of the game, and it’s not clear that Angle possessed that skill.
Now, what did we gain in Harry Reid? 1) A feckless political leader for the opposition — don’t forget that his version of health-care reform was even less popular than the one that eventually became law, so unpopular that it very much jeopardized the entire project. Only a last-minute resort to a desperate abuse of the reconciliation process enabled the Democratic party to pass a bill that its House members could stomach. 2) A potential leadership crisis for the opposition, should Chuck Schumer’s imaginary friends talk him into mounting a challenge. And while we’re on the subject, 3) the likely avoidance of a more formidable Democratic leader in Chuck Schumer, who, despite his many shortcomings, remains the guy who engineered the improbable six-seat pick-up that gave Democrats control of the Senate in 2006.
Yes, Reid would have made a great trophy on the GOP’s mantle. But cheer up: He’s even better as a leader of Senate Democrats — depending on your point of view.