Reid's Past Hatred of Obstructionism Gone with Prospect of Romney Presidency

Senator Harry Reid is outraged by Republican obstructionism in the Senate. He has also pledged himself to Democratic obstruction in the Senate should Mitt Romney win the White House. Will the real Harry Reid please stand up?

Two months ago, in a Democratic National Convention speech brimming with moral outrage, Senator Reid warned America about the obstructionism of Republicans led by Mitch McConnell. Here's how that came across:

President Obama has also faced down another group of naysayers. In addition to the crowd of “couldn’ts” and “shouldn’ts,” the Republican Party has become the party of the “wouldn’ts” and the “won’ts.” They pledged on day one they wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And they haven’t.

In the depth of the Great Recession, as millions of Americans were struggling to find work, the Republican leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell, said Republicans’ number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. They wouldn’t cooperate to create jobs. They wouldn’t try to turn around the economy. They wouldn’t do anything but stand in President Obama’s way.

What Reid referred to as "day one" was actually late 2010, days before the Tea Party won a record number of seats in the 2010 elections. What McConnell said, in an interview on the eve of the election, was that taking the House and winning seats in the Senate was just the first step. The ultimate step wouldn't come until 2012 when Republicans had a chance to vote Obama out of office, making him a one-term President. McConnell went on to say that if Obama would "meet us halfway," Senate Republicans would "do business with him."

But McConnell's statement was stripped of all context by national Democrats desperate to cast congressional Republicans as a villain in the 2012 election. As the election drew closer, even the President himself claimed (falsely) that Mitch McConnell had uttered this line in 2008, making it seem as McConnell had pledged obstruction on "day one" of Obama's term in office.

In any case, Harry Reid has now done McConnell one better. He is not willing to wait for day one, much less the midterm elections of 2014. On Friday, Harry Reid issued a statement explicitly proclaiming his commitment to stonewall Mitt Romney in the Senate should he be elected:

Mitt Romney’s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his ‘severely conservative’ agenda is laughable. In fact, Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate... Senate Democrats are committed to defending the middle class, and we will do everything in our power to defend them against Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda.”

Unlike Mitch McConnell's statement in 2010, there is not a whiff of conciliation in Reid statement. He isn't saying he'll work with Romney where he can find agreement. He's saying, flat out, don't expect us to work with him.

So which of these men is the real Harry Reid? Is it the morally outraged Senator who wants pragmatism to trump politics, or is it the petulant Senate leader preemptively calling a halt to all compromise? Here's a hint. The real Harry Reid is the one who claimed a secret source had told him Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years. A review of Romney's taxes by Price Waterhouse Cooper showed that claim to be 100 percent false.


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