Thursday, August 22, 2019

Harry Reid tries out new role: truth-teller, warning Dems over open borders and Medicare for all - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Why did he tell the truth this time?

Congressional Democrats, even their leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, have been bullied into silence by the radicals who have grabbed media attention and who appear to have the ability to mobilize their followers to defeat recalcitrant Dems in primaries, the way that Joe Crowley’s long House career was abruptly terminated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So deep is the fear that virtually the entire presidential field has offered lip service to socialized medicine for all – including anyone who can cross our southern border, while keeping that border wide open.

As serious policy, it is madness, as anyone who can think two chess moves ahead realizes.

Offering free health care to border violators can only attract the world’s sick people, and bankrupt our treasury. Politically, it would drive away voters. But none dare call it insanity for fear of retaliation.

Enter Harry Reid, the former Senate leader of the Democrats, who mysteriously retired from politics shortly after suffering serious bodily injuries – broken bones around his eye and ribs -- that he claimed were the result of exercise equipment. Reid sued the maker of the exercise band that he claimed slipped from his grip and caused his injuries, but a Las Vegas jury rejected the claim of liability,

In a farewell video he explained that after having a time-out to recover from his injuries and undergo multiple surgeries, he realized that there were important things outside the life of politics. He also denied that losing the Senate majority and suffering his injuries had anything to do with his decision. (He didn’t bother denying the speculation that rather than exercise equipment, his injuries were a lesson delivered by goons, old-fashioned Nevada-style.)

YouTube screen grab

When Cameron Jones of Vice called him up, however, Reid retreated a bit from his retirement from politics and offered criticism of the two big policy initiatives that seem likely to doom his party, in a half hour conversation:
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isn’t happy that some of his party’s presidential candidates are pushing for Medicare for All and decriminalizing border crossings, two hot-button issues in the Democratic primary.
In a half-hour phone conversation with VICE News, Reid was blunt when asked if he thought supporting Medicare for All would be problematic in the 2020 general election.
“I think that we should focus on improving Obamacare. We can do that — without bringing something that would be much harder to sell,” he said when asked his thoughts on the debate over whether Democrats should pursue Medicare for All or a more modest Obamacare expansion. “Improving Obamacare: People understand that. They would appreciate that. It locks in many important things.”
The onetime Democratic powerhouse and Nevada kingmaker had similar thoughts about another issue dividing the 2020 Democratic presidential field: whether to decriminalize the act of crossing into the U.S. without authorization.
“There are so many more important things to do. Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list. It should be way, way down at the bottom of the list,” Reid said, responding with a curt “of course it is” when asked if supporting that position would be politically problematic in the general election.
I think Reid is telling the truth here, luxuriating in his invulnerability to political retaliation, and unafraid of any goons or exercise bands injuring him. Maybe he hopes to redeem his reputation as an unprincipled liar during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, who took to the floor of the Senate, where he was immune to libel lawsuits, to falsely claim that he had information from an investor in Bain, that that Romney had not paid income taxes in ten years. Romney denied it, but the accusation remained out there and helped defeat him. After the victory, Reid shamelessly called the attack “one of the best things I’ve done” and noted, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

So, there is no reason to attribute honesty to anything Harry Reid says. That leaves the question: why did he tell the truth this time?

I don’t know the answer, but my best guess is that the hatred for Republicans that animated his lies about Romney still impel him to try to guide the cowering Democrats toward a more realistic set of policies, to avoid handing an easy victory to Trump and the GOP.

Thomas Lifson


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