The Campaign Spot

Harry Reid, Running on His Record, Just Not His Recent Record

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, to David Brody:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “I don’t grin but I do smile just a little bit because you can’t go anyplace in America today that people’s approval ratings are very high.”

Louisiana: “So far the governor [Bobby Jindal’s] handling of the spill appears to have paid off. A recent poll by Rasmussen Research found that 74 percent of likely voters approve of the governor’s job performance, up 10 percent since April.”

Mississippi: “A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Mississippi finds that 70% approve of the job Republican Governor Haley Barbour is doing.”

Reid: We have an economic situation that’s not only in Nevada. It’s all over the country and also we have a unique situation in Nevada. I haven’t had a difficult election for 12 years. During that 12 year period of time we’ve had 600,000 new people move to the state of Nevada. They don’t know me but they’ve seen that during a lot of this last number of years me is me trying to fight with George Bush because he’s trying to privatize social security or arguing about the war in Iraq and other policies of his. I thought that all the red ink was bad and I complained about that so people are going to have to get to know me, the 600,000 people who are now here who I am, a moderate kind of guy. That’s how I got elected so I feel comfortable where I am. I have a campaign that’s moving along just fine. I feel comfortable where we are today.”

Judging from the spending bills coming through the Senate, Harry Reid stopped worrying about red ink on January 20, 2009.

It’s a rather strange argument from Reid; it seems he’s arguing that he had a more moderate record in the earlier part of his career, and that when he became the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, he became defined by the party’s stances as more liberal than his state. (He should ask Tom Daschle about this phenomenon.) But why should Reid get credit for moderate stances from before 2004? If a voter doesn’t like Obamacare, thinks the stimulus was largely wasted, thinks cap-and-trade would cost jobs, and thinks Congress has grown ever more arrogant and unresponsive, why should any Nevada voter think, “Yeah, but I really liked his stances in 2003?”

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