Meeting Harry Reid

I recently met Harry Reid, the top democrat in the Senate. He was at UCLA, which is in walking distance to my home. In true Los Angeles tradition, I drove anyway. Senator Reid was promoting his autobiography.

There were two stools on the stage, with Senator Reid occupying one, and actor and liberal activist Rob Reiner sitting on the other one. Reiner gained fame by playing the role of Mike “Meathead” Stivic on the historic sitcom “All in the family,” with Archie Bunker, played by the late Carroll O’Connor.

Reiner asked the questions and Senator Reid answered them. Then audience members were allowed to ask questions.

While the crowd was very small, at about 50 people, they did listen intently. The audience basically consisted of 49 hard leftists and me.

My reasons for attending were for no other reason than personal observation and understanding. I wanted to see Senator Reid as a human being, not the cartoon character he comes across as on television. I went in with an open mind, and was glad I did.

Below, I bring the questions of Rob Reiner, the answers of Harry Reid, and my own thoughts.

Reiner: “You are the least likely man ever to be Majority Leader. Why do you jump around in your book from personal to political? Why not go in order instead of jumping back and forth?”

Reid: “I did not want to do a chronological book, starting with where I was born. I wanted to keep people interested.”

Reiner: “What was life like growing up in Searchlight (Nevada)? Also, I want you to know it has been an honor to be here with you today.”

Reid: “Don’t say that yet, let’s see how this goes first.”

“I want people to know that if Harry Reid can make it, anybody can. I grew up in a home with no indoor toilet and no hot water. I saw my dad use what people today would call pliers…those who are old enough know what a vice grip is…I saw him use a vice grip to pull out several of his own teeth.”

“The main career in Searchlight was prostitution. Willie Martello, the brothel owner, did nice things to help me.”

(With all due respect to Senator Reid, who clearly did allude to “that,” I can only imagine the furor if a republican bragged about being given prostitutes. I am not condemning the Senator, but I think that is something that should be kept private, especially with his wife in attendance.)

“Willie Martello built a swimming pool for his prostitutes so that they had a place to swim. He gave the neighborhood kids $5 for Christmas, which was the price back then for a trick.”

(Again, this is not in good taste. If others were to find out about it of their own volition, it would be a “scandal,” so coming forth eliminates that. Yet it just seems odd to mention.)

“My nickname was ‘Pinky.’ One day Martello caught me stealing beer. He could have turned me in. Instead he told me never to ever steal again. So yes, I learned about right and wrong from the head of a bordello. Even in a brothel, there is decency.”

(I understand his intentions, and not all life is “The Cosby Show,” but still…)

Reiner: “You have called President Bush a liar on two occasions. That is a strong term. Why?”

(Reid actually referred to President Bush as a loser and a liar, and apologized for calling him a loser only.)

Reid: “On two separate occasions, President Bush lied to me personally. He gave his word, and then he broke it. The first time was several weeks into his Presidency. He promised that he would be against using Yucca Mountains in Nevada to store nuclear waste. Then he came out publicly in favor of it. The second time was when republicans tried to go nuclear and abolish the filibuster. President Bush told me that he would not get involved, that it was Senate business. Two days later, Vice President Cheney went public in favor of the nuclear option.”

This might have been the most serious thing Senator Reid said all night. This is not to minimize the rest of his remarks, but these comments gave a deep insight into his thinking. His charges had nothing to do with Iraq, and he deeply believes the President is a liar. Many politicians publicly blast each other, and then laugh about it afterwards. This is not the case with Senator Reid. He deeply dislikes President Bush, perhaps to the point of hatred. I will offer more on this later, because it is important. He then turned to policy, but the whole night I referred back to his personal remarks.

The charge is a serious one, and his remarks came one day after the exact same charge was leveled at him by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The charge was not about policy. Senator McConnell felt that Senator Reid broke his word on the precise same issue of appointing judges.

Mr. McConnell and Mr. Reid need to both be careful. Charges without evidence can blow up. If these men have evidence, they should proffer it.

Reiner: “You called the Iraq War the “Biggest foreign policy disaster in history.” Are there consequences to an Iraq withdrawal?”

Reid: “I called Alan Greenspan ‘the biggest fraud, the J. Edgar Hoover of the financial world.’ He was ‘the biggest political hack in Washington, immediately cozying up to President Bush.’ I call them like I see them. With the war, the Middle East has been destabilized, there is a Palestinian civil war, a civil war in Lebanon, a civil war in Iraq, and the standing of America in the world community is way down.”

(The Senator is wrong. Greenspan saved America in 1987 from a complete financial breakdown. Also, his comments simply aren’t very nice. I know politics is rough, but insulting people serves no good. As for the Middle East, it has been unstable for thousands of years. A Palestinian civil war is delightful, and should be renamed “dinner theatre.” Lebanon is not a civil war. It is occupied by Syria. That is an occupation, not our presence in Iraq.)

“We did not have a majority on Iraq after the 2006 elections. We led 51-49, but then South Dakota Tim Johnson fell ill and nearly died. Additionally, Senator Joe Lieberman supports the war. So we started out with 49 votes for ending the war and 50 votes for continuing. The closest we ever had on any issue we favored was 57 votes. We never had 60 votes. Senator Chuck Hagel is a political and war hero, but there are not many others.”

Reiner: “Why was the intelligence faulty? Was it cherry picked?”

Reid: “As for the first part of the question, the Senate is very complex. As for the second part of the question, (former majority leader) Tom Daschle gave me free reign. I invoked Rule 22, which shut down the Senate when we did not get answers.”

(With the exception of C-Span junkies and other experts of mind numbing arcane procedure, bragging about shutting down the Senate does not make a good impression with voters. Senator Reid does know procedure very well, but I think he overestimates its impact, especially in seeing going on strike as a positive development.)

Reiner: “Scott McLellan’s book contains explosive allegations. When will the Senate materials related to the charges be made public?”

Reid: “Not now. This is a national security issue.”

(On this issue I agree with Reid. Any Senator that releases private information has committed a security breach. It would also make anybody that got outraged over Valerie Plame look hypocritical. The crowd was not happy, but thankfully the Senator allows his understanding of national security to trump his animus towards the President, at least on this issue.)

“During Vietnam, we had veterans come home only to find out that they were lied to. This is what Scott McLellan is going through. Running a political campaign is like running a war.”

Reiner: “Between Valerie Plame and the war, there are prima facie allegations that rise to treason, high crimes, and misdemeanors. Why isn’t something being done?”

Reid: “There will be upshot from this. I have not yet read the book. People beyond Scooter Libby were involved. You know, such as his boss.”

Reiner: “What is the story of you and your wife?”

(This answer was Reid at his very best and very worst.)

Reid: “My wife Landra and I will be married 49 years this September. We met when she was six.”

(In all fairness, his wife does look younger than her years, and she was very…extremely…nice.)

“In Searchlight, the closest thing I had to religion in my house was FDR. In high school I saw a girl wearing shorts washing her car, and it was love at first sight.”

(The Chicago Cannonball has the best hide on the planet, and every day I wake up thinking about the next time I get to enjoy it. So this was the closest the Senator had to complete agreement from me. My girlfriend has political views that are closer to the Senator and his wife than me, but her hide is a perfectly good reason to overlook everything else. She knows this, and is comfortable with absolute power.)

“My wife is Jewish. I am not sure if I had ever met a Jewish person before. Her parents were initially happy, because I was a football player, a boxer, and student body president. They were happy until things got serious. Then it all changed. Her father would not stop trying to break us up. Eventually, it got to the point where things happened. ‘Physical things’ happened.”

(At this point I was stunned. The man punched his father in law. If he wanted to keep this private, I would absolutely respect that. If it had been leaked, I would have defended him as well. Yet to so causally offer a discussion of violence without a hint of regret troubled me. He should not offer regret unless he means it, but I did not get that impression. I have had fistfights, and in some of them I felt justified. Yet to beat his father in law seems harsh, and his even mentioning it in passing seemed strange.)

“We then eloped. Her parents said shiva (prayers of mourning), but then they were supportive. Once we were married, they decided to sit back and see if it would work. I had a good relationship with my father in law, and having to physically beat him up was “one of those things that happened.”

(The Senator may be amoral, or perhaps he just simply does not like to talk about himself. However, to offer a window and then close it just seemed strange. I keep using that word because I feel comfortable talking about stuff, and others do not. Senator Reid did not seem calculating. If anything he just did not seem to know what he should and should not divulge.)

Reiner: “What about your father? What was he like?

Reid: “My dad was almost killed in a mining accident due to an electrical blowout. A man carried my dad out of the mine. That man saved my dad’s life. My dad was withdrawn and quiet. He was never mean to his boys, but he was mean to our mother. He drank too much. One day when he was drunk and upset my brother and I had to take him down. He was bigger than both of us, but not combined. He never beat our mom after that. My father ended up committing suicide. This is one of the reasons that I ended up holding hearings on seniors’ suicides.”

(At that moment I realized that Harry Reid has had more pain than I would ever know. No amount of power makes that pain go away. I have always wondered why Harry Reid was so dour, so boring…why he never seems to smile…the man is a human being, and I wish he had had better circumstances. However, he also seems to be a hard man. Some people with intense pain are more understanding towards others. He seems to be harder on others. Whether it be President Bush or others, Senator Reid always seemed harsh to me. His pain, if that is the reason, does not justify this. However, it absolutely makes sense. I hope the man has inner peace.)

(Reiner, either by coincidence or deliberately, shifted gears. This was smart.)

Reiner: “What issues would you like to talk about?”

Reid: “Let’s talk about health care. My brother broke his leg in a bike accident. There was no money. He never went to the doctor. My mom tested positive for tuberculosis. We had no money. She did not go to the doctor. She could have had a false positive, but to walk around with that burden is unbearable. There are 50 million Americans with no health care.”

(Reid’s own tales are heart wrenching. That does not change the fact that his number of 50 million is not true. That number includes many young people that do not want health care, opting to buy luxuries instead. Faulty numbers do not minimize the issue, but it weakens the argument. Senator Reid makes a big deal, as he should, about credibility. When his argument is punctured from a truth standpoint, it only emboldens those that then say he is lying about he entire issue. He should check his numbers for the sake of his cause.)

Reiner: “Where do we start, when there is so much acrimony?”

(Senator Reid is a major contributor to that acrimony. He is a very hardened man. He needs more warmth.)

Reid: America is less divided than people think. They want to get things done. Yet Lord Acton once said that ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ From Newt Gingrich to President Bush, they are drunk with power. We need to change things. There is enough credit to go around for everybody. From global warming (one person clapped), to education to health care…Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are committed to early education.”

(There is acrimony because one cannot bring people together when they are bashing the other side relentlessly. Senator Reid is a skilled boxer, both in the actual sport, and in politics. However, he simply seems to view political opponents as evil. This does not leave much room for compromise. This made the next exchange very bizarre.)

Reiner: “Can both sides come together?”

Reid “Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together in 1983 to take on the Social Security crisis. They would drink together, and then sing Irish songs. They saved Social Security.”

(This remark became very ironic when I asked my question of the Senator.)

Reiner: “When ideology trumps everything else, how can we get past the religion of ideology?”

(The issue is not ideology. The issue is to stop being an ideologue. I have an ideology. I am not an ideologue. I am a thinker, not a reflexive actor. Mr. Reiner is an ideologue, although he has only recently become more pragmatic, which I will describe in a separate column. Senator Reid prefers combat to comity. I say this because this is the very image he projects. He is a brawler and a bruiser. He is correct in assessing Reagan and O’Neill, but that required both of them. Mr. Reid will not do this.)

Reid: “Legislation is the art of compromise. It is about getting things done. I worked on an endangered species issue that was hedl up due to water issues between California and Nevada. I helped with the water agreement between both states to get it done. On the Federal level, I worked on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The IRS is not our friend.”

(With all due respect to Mr. Reid, neither of these issues are “sexy.” This means that there was less public media scrutiny blocking it. Also, taking on the IRS does not require much political courage. This is not to demean his accomplishments, but many other issues are much more complex.)

The audience was then allowed to ask questions. To the credit of Mr. Reiner and Senator Reid, this was done fairly, and not because I was allowed to ask a question. Some events, usually involving liberals, use pre-screened questions. People write them down, and friendly ones are asked. In this case, people were allowed to walk up to the microphones, and not one person was censored by either Mr. Reiner or Senator Reid. Yes, it was a mostly friendly audience, but I give them the credit for gambling on actual democracy.

Q: “Why are there no price gouging laws yet? What will be done to stop the obscene profits of the oil companies?”

(I cannot blame the Senator for the stupidity of some questions. The questioner does not understand economics. There has been no evidence of gouging. The blame should be on Arab Governments, not American businesses.)

Reid: “We are currently working in the Senate ona global warming bill. I can tell you this much. There will be no more oil subsidies.”

(The crowd clapped. They are wrong, but policy disagreements exist.)

Q: “With regards to Ted Kennedy, what are the repercussions for democrats? How is the Senate dealing with this?

Reid: “We are all praying for him. I jsut spoke to him today. We just pray.”

Q: “Virginia Senator Jim Webb has sponsored Resolution 759, which would subject any war with Iran to Senate approval. Is this legally binding?”

Reid: “I spoke today with California Senator Dianne Feinstein. We are concerned that right now the White House is actively planning to level a strike at the Iranian Republican Guard. We want to prevent this. However, the letter is not legally binding.”

(The crowd was upset about this, but resolutions are usually non-binding. Senator Reid does not have the power to do what the crowd wanted, which was to ban the White House from taking any action. The War Powers Act still gives a President wide latitude.)

Q: “Are you concerned about another Gulf of Tonkin, where the President just lies or makes stuff up to go to war?”

Reid: “I hope not. I hope whispers of that are just sheer rumors.”

Q: “Do you believe that the foreclosure crisis in Nevada is related to the situation with President Bush and Yucca Mountain?”

(Senator Reid is no dummy. He does not let his animus get in the way of sanity, especially in a You-tube world.)

Reid: “No. We are in an economic downturn.”

Q: “If we leave Iraq now, couldn’t there be a bloodbath?”

Reid: “Nobody is saying that we should pull out now. We just don’t want to have bases in Jordan and Kuwait. Iraq now has a budget surplus of 100 billion dollars. We need to take care of problems here.”

(This is an absolute lie. Many left wing people in America want the troops out immediately. If Senator Reid meant no politicians when he referred to ‘nobody,’ that is not true either. Some have.)

Q: “If President Bush was a democrat he would be in jail right now. Why isn’t the supposedly liberal media doing their job?”

Reid: “The media does a lot right, and we should respect them. They have a hard job, and they do it well.”

(I wonder how Reid would have reacted if the person had advocating killing President Bush. I do not blame him for the fact that some of the questioners were nuts. However, his answers reminded me of the cold answers Michael Dukakis gave in a debate that cost him the White House. Senator Reid may be wise to not directly address insane questions, but hopefully he will at some point say that ‘enough is enough’ when things go too far. I am not sure he will.)

I then asked my question. I was VERY polite. I was not in the room to stir up trouble. I asked a question from the heart, and was very disappointed by his answer. However, he answered the question honestly, and did not dodge it in any way.

MY Q: “Senator Reid, I have learned several things about you today, some of them very positive. For one thing, you married very well…”

(The crowd laughed and clapped…they liked me very much, which I knew would change.)

“I am diametrically opposed to most of your policies, but I absolutely do not hate you. I’ve never met you…”

(The Senator then interrupted me. I was expecting to be cut off, but he was very gracious.)

Reid: “I have done speeches before, and at many of them, a person who thinks he is out of the range of cameras will tell me what he really thinks. I will listen in, and the person will say, ‘Harry Reid, I can’t stand him.”

(The crowd, including me, laughed. The Senator let me continue with no hint of interruption.)

“Sorry, I am a little nervous. Senator, I went into blogging to end what I call ‘ideological bigotry.’ To me it is just as hurtful as racial or ethnic bigotry, hating somebody just for their politics. Since you sincerely want to get things done, why not, since he is leaving office in a few months anyway, just make peace with President Bush?…”

(The crowd started booing and hissing. There were some catcalls for me to sit down. Again, Mr. Reiner and Senator Reid were not part of this. They allowed me to continue.)

“The man is a human being (others tried to shout this down, but were told to be quiet). You have been accused of scandals and other things, and I don’t care. I learned more about you today, and I want to know, can you do the same with the President? Lastly can you look at somebody like me who is Pro-Bush and pro-Iraq War, and still see a human being with views as noble and decent as yours? I would absolutely share a beverage with you if you were open to that.”

Senator Reid was better than many politicians who disagreed with people. His only interruption was for something positive. His answer was also very sincere. There is no question in my mind that every word came from his heart. However, the answer itself troubled me greatly.

“No, I will not sit down with the President. I expressed why earlier. I am not going to sit down and talk about the baseball game with him and make everything ok, because it will not be ok. If the President wants to get things done, we can get to work. He is a disaster. The Iraq War was the worst foreign policy blunder in history. It is hard to work with the other side. There are no moderate republicans except Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. I mentioned in my book that Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is always there when you don’t need him.”

(Senator Reid continued, and shifted gears. Again, he did seem sincere. Also, I agreed with the Specter remark, from the opposite side of the aisle.)

“As for you, I do not hate you at all. I think you are a good person. I am just troubled by so many who believed the administration’s lies about this war.”

(I was determined to remember my place in the room, and end things on a positive note.)

“Senator, given that James Carville married Mary Matalin, the next time I am in Nevada we can get that beverage.”

(I then walked all the way back to my seat in the back. It felt like a long walk, even though it was only a few meters. I smiled back at the Senator’s wife, and she did smile back. I then sat back and listened to the rest of the questions, although I was still taken aback by the Senator’s answer.

I speculated why he really had so much animus towards the President. Perhaps it was jealousy. President grew up wealthy, in a loving home. Senator Reid grew up poor, and had to “earn” his money. His home life was beyond troubled. Also, given his dad’s tragic death, many could resent a man who had a father who provided everything, including a path to the Presidency.

Maybe the reasons for his animus do not matter. Anger is unhealthy. President Bush is not Adolf Hitler. Also, Senator Reid made it clear that the war was not why he had the animus. Even if he was lied to, which I cannot disprove but do not accept at face value, is that really a reason to despise the man forever?

Senator Reid has had more pain in his life than anyone should have. While that explains his conduct, it does not excuse it. Senator McConnell just leveled tough charges against Senator Reid, and I am sure Senator Reid would want the benefit of the doubt. If Senator Reid can look in the mirror and see a well intentioned man, perhaps he should extend that charity to the President.

I do not in any way believe that Senator Reid is evil. I do believe he is too hardened. His wife seemed very warm. I am sure he is warm with her. I wish the Senator would consider that speaking of compromise does not work when one’s actions are of a brick wall.

Anyway, below are more questions and answers.

Q: “Will there be a ‘NAFTA Highway?'”

Reid: “I have never voted for a trade agreement, and I never will.”

Q: “President Bush has committed crimes. Why has he not been impeached? Why has there been no action?”

Reid: “Never question the intelligence of the American people. There is much evidence for impeachment, but impeachment takes time. We don’t have the time to do it. Also, impeachment reinvigorated Clinton. I don’t want any chance for this man to reconstitute himself. There is not enough time to build a case.”

(I was horrified by these remarks. He never used the word “hatred,” but that is what I felt. I will not say that hatred is always wrong. In this case, I believe it is wrong, and at the very least, excessive. I recalled his comments about Reagan and O’Neill sharing drinks, and how compromise was vital. People do not compromise with those they agree with. They compromise with those they disagree with. Also, opponents should not be seen as enemies.)

Q: “What are your projections for 2008?”

Reid: “We are competitive in 12 states, including Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and North Carolina. Keep in mind that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a small margin. She has the Blue Dogs, so she has to pay for everything. Yes, we should pay as we go, and she has to. We have to act now. The world is falling apart, and much of that is related to the environment.”

(As much as my stomach was turning, Mr. Reiner announced that there would only be 2 more questions, since that is what a woman who put on the event was telling him. Senator Reid saw 6 people standing and insisted that all of them be allowed to ask their questions. Again, this was the right thing to do.)

Q: “Since Gingrich, there has been right wing domination. How do we decide whether to adopt a position of negotiation or brinksmanship?”

Reid: “On funding, last year, President Bush had us over a barrel. We didn;t like it. We swallowed hard, because we didn’t want to have to come back this January for the same bills. This year is different. He does not have us over a barrel. Also, we don’t have huge majorities. We have everybody from Senators Barbara Boxer and Sherrod Brown to Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Joe Lieberman.”

Q: “I am a doctor, and I want to know…what is being done to advance health care?”

Reid: “Hillarycare should have passed. We should have single payer. There are pluses to socialized medicine. This will not be done in one year. It takes time, and needs to be done in increments.”

Q: “I work with veterans suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What is government doing to help?”

Reid: “Thank you for what you do. There have been a number of scandals regarding our veterans, especially  the disgrace of Walter Reed. Jim Webb is sponsoring the GI Bill of Rights. We are working to get that passed. Studies show that 20% of Iraqi veterans have PTSD.”

(Mr. Reiner then interjected that PTSD lasts forever. The woman politely but firmly told him that he was incorrect. She was an expert on the subject, and it does not last forever if it is taken care of. Mr. Reid then continued.)

“An unpopular President leads to an unpopular Congress. We all get affected. The VA Hospital is the best in the world, and we in government have done a good job with that.”

(Yes, Senator Reid blames President Bush for his own low poll numbers. I am a polite guy, but enough is enough. I hope the Senator never gets a hemorrhoid, because I can only imagine who he would blame. Now I know where the phrase “pimple on the @ss of progress” emanates from.)

The questioner then offered a thunderous final response.

“Enough with medical care! We need jobs!”

The questions continued.

Q: “Senator, you are personally pro-life, which is not like most democrats. If Roe vs Wade is overturned, would you try to ban it in Nevada?”

Reid: I go out of my way to cross the aisle. I co-sponsored clinic violence legislation. I worked on this with Olympia Snowe of Maine. There are too many unwanted pregnancies. We need to reduce the number of them. We only focus on Roberts and Alito. There are scores of right wing judges that are rolling back women’s rights, employees’ rights, and environmental regulations. If Roe vs Wade is overturned, state legislatures would act.”

(Senator Reid mentioned working across the aisle, which implies tolerance. Actually, the intolerance of the democratic party on abortion is what keeps him quiet. If he tried to address the democratic convention on the issue, he would be denied.)

Q: “What motivated you, given your unsupportive parents? What kept you going?

Reid: “I was left alone. Dad did not go to my ball games. However, mom did. She was always embarrassing me, cheering me on. Mom said I was handsome, and she gave me confidence. I was never afraid. My parents were supportive, but they were never around. They were always there. I pretty much left home at age 13 or 14.”

(I had trouble interpreting what seemed to be very contradictory statements.)

Q: “Can we wait until the convention to settle the democratic race?”

Reid: “No, it will be settled one week from today (on June 4th). The primary has been good for the country. We had 6 great candidates, 7 if you count Kucinich. He added something. In the end, we will hold hands, and recognize the enemy as John McCain.”

(My jaw dropped at that very last comment. He was speaking in a joking manner, not with the same angry look he has when he discusses President Bush. I do not think he hates John McCain. However, it was a slip of the tongue. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt based on my appraisal of the situation at that moment. In the future he should use the word “opponent,”  especially since a major republican criticism of democrats is that they either do not know the difference, or simply despise republicans so much that they deliberately see us as enemies.)

After the event, I noticed that while many people had dirty looks for me, not everybody did. One kind elderly man came up and patted me on the shoulder. Another person thanked me for my question, even though they were on the left.

To the credit of Senator Reid and Mr. Reiner, they both stayed for a lengthy amount of time. The Senator was autographing his book, but he was very generous with the crowd. Mr. Reiner had much to say, to be covered soon enough. I had enough time to speak to the Senator, his wife, and the woman sponsoring the event on his behalf.

I wanted an interview by email with the Senator. I looked him in the eye and told him that while my blog was a republican blog, he would absolutely be treated fairly and with respect. He made it clear that based on my question of him, he knew that would be the case. I also let his assistant know that I could not promise that the commenters would be as fair, but she said that she understood how people went wild on blogs. I told her I would delete anything that was hateful or profane.

His wife was incredibly pleasant. She is simply very nice. She hinted that she does not share her husband’s views on abortion, but that since she is not a politician, she will not undermine her husband. I respect and agree with that. She is a private citizen.

I told Senator Reid that I would be happy to let my republican friends know what a nice person his wife is.

He shook my hand, and it came across as a sincere handshake. He also gave his word that he would do an interview with me. I told him that he could feel free to give my blog a thorough vetting so that he would see that I do not take cheap shots.

He took me at my word.

I still wish he did not have such animus towards President Bush, a man I deeply respect.

However, since integrity is so important to Senator Reid, I want everybody to know that he gave me his word he would do an interview with me by email. I gave him my word he would be treated respectfully and fairly.

I will absolutely keep my word, and I expect him to keep his.

I learned a lot about Harry Reid. Some of it was very negative, but some of it was positive.

I fiercely disagree with the man, and will continue to fight him on policy, but I do not hate his guts. To do that would require knowing him, and he seems so closed, that I suspect that few people outside his wife ever do get to know him.

I hope he one day achieves peace inside, and allows himself to have as much graciousness towards those he disagrees with as his wife and he did towards me.


12 Responses to “Meeting Harry Reid”

  1. May I ask, you seem so blunt and callous when describing your own sexual adventures, yet when Harry Reid brings up his hometown (a famous bordello town) you find it insensitive and rude???


  2. micky2 says:

    “Ketchup bottle treatment” is not blunt and callous.

    And Eric is not a U.S. Congressman preachs one set of morals and behavior but condones the same behavior on his part.

  3. micky2 says:

    Forgot a very important word.

    And Eric is not a U.S. Congressman preachs “AGAINST” one set of morals and behavior but condones the same behavior on his part.

  4. Gayle says:

    Very interesting, Eric.

    I’m not even sure Reid’s wife really “knows” him. People do somehow manage to live together for years without really knowing one another. Sad, but it’s true. My parents were like that.

    Yes, he’s contradictory. He says his parents “we’re never around but they were always there.” How does that make sense? He also puts it out there that he frequented prostitutes. He does so because he is a far-left liberal and they do not seem to know the meaning of the word “shame.” I also believe that he does consider McCain “the enemy.”

    I don’t hate Reid either, but I intensely dislike him. He embodies everything I fight against. This post did nothing to change my mind.

  5. J.Rock says:

    Looks like Dirty Sen. Harry (but he’s no Clint Eastwood) got started in the perfect place to prepare him for a career in “public service.” Didn’t President Reagan call politics the “second oldest profession?”

    Perhaps in your upcoming interview, you could inquire about the true nature of Sen. Reid’s partisan hatreds. I suspect that Democrats and Republicans demonize each other, playing on the ideological fears their voters carry, as a way to stir up emotions to the point that we don’t question the real reason why legislators are in office: to satisfy their narcisstic desires while raiding the public coffers to fund people / companies that contribute money to their campaigns.

    Specifically, I would ask the Senator about the $1 million he secured to study mormon crickets in Nevada. Or, the $17 million+ to fund a ravine for wealthy casino owners behind two hotels on the Vegas strip.

    He truly picked up some great parlor tricks from his younger days… distract the public with slanderous, unproductive rhetoric about unpopular opponents while using sleight-of-hand to fund various pork projects.

    But that’s politics. This is why I gave up on the Republican Party a long time ago as well… there are plenty of Harry Reid’s masquerading as something else on that side of the aisle, too.

    At any rate, good job walking into the belly of the beast. It’s always an experience to be around those that delude themselves into thinking they are “socially conscious.”

  6. I’d like to know how a senator from Nevada could not be crooked! I remember when they took Torricelli down in Jersey. Of course he was crooked! But he was a good representative and (brief) senator. Look at ol’ Ted Kennedy today. Keep kickin’ ol’ man!

    What do we expect from Nevada? Some representative utopia? Without the resorts and casinos, and not in that order, Nevada would be a few mining spots on an otherwise empty map. Resorts and casinos are not exemplary corporatocracies for most of the rest of the world’s industrial adventures. Most transactions are more tangible than gambling. The more you gamble, the more you lose – the less you gamble, the more you stay the same = try not to gamble.

    Get it guys???


  7. micky2 says:

    Thats hard to do when libs are as dicey as they are.

  8. Then don’t have Nevadas, Micky.


  9. papundits says:

    Great piece, as always.
    Keep up the good work!

  10. micky2 says:

    Libs are nation wide boo.
    Libs go to vegas, gamble cuz they think they’re entitled to win, lose all their money and go on entitlement programs

  11. greg says:

    The differences I see between Tip O’Neill/Ronald Reagan and Harry Reid/George Bush are (1) that the relationship between O’Neill and Reagan was formed at the beginning of RR’s first term (Reid wasn’t even Majority Leader when Bush was first elected), when the issues and expectations were different, contrast that with the relationship between RR and the Congress towards the end of his second term, (2) O’Neill and Reagan were much different personalities than Reid and Bush, (3) the intervention of September 11 coming in the first few months of the first term, and (4) the general weariness of having to deal with the Bush Administration. I can’t help but think the vast majority of Americans — both Democrat and Republican — just want to see it over.

  12. […] anyway. Senator Reid was promoting his autobiography. There were two stools on the stage, with Se voters?? support for candidates keeps growing Las Vegas SunMon, Jun 2, 2008 12:32 p.m. Barack […]

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