An Aging Harry Reid Blinded by Injury Fights to Remain Relevant

AP Photo-/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Washington, DC

While Politico dances around the subject, the portrait they paint of an aging and seriously injured Democrat Sen Minority Leader Harry Reid is inescapable.

Blind in one eye and battered, Reid is now “burning up the phone lines” over long hours in an effort to hold onto power.

It’s hard to imagine New York Democrats Chuck Schumer, long thought to have his eye on the top spot among Senate Democrats, isn’t keeping his two good eyes on things, looking for an opening.

Harry Reid doesn’t particularly like long phone calls. He is known to abruptly hang up after a quick conversation with an aide, a senator, or a lobbyist.

But in the aftermath of a grisly New Year’s Day exercise accident, which gave him four broken ribs and may leave him permanently blind in one eye, the 75-year-old Nevada Democrat has been burning up the phones with up to 50 calls per day, trying to make clear that he’s still in charge. He may be keeping largely out of the public eye, but his conversations with other senators, President Barack Obama and prominent Democratic players have shown he’s not yielding any of his power during his convalescence.

Reid can claim to be not yielding power all he wants; the fact is, Democrats lost the Senate on his watch and then came an unfortunate and increasingly serious-looking accident. Reid isn’t even willing to rule out a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the piece of equipment he blames for his injury.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) on Thursday made his first public media appearance since an exercise mishap left him with a severely injured eye and four broken ribs.

Reid had been working out with resistance bands in his new home earlier this month when one snapped, injuring his right eye and flinging him into a file cabinet, he said.

The Nevada Democrat said he expected to be back to full speed soon, and that he planned to run for re-election. But while he was certain about his electoral plans, he hedged on a question about whether he’d take the manufacturer of the exercise gear to court.

For years, Reid’s power and authority were assumed, and he didn’t have to put forth much effort to prove it. That he is now doing so is all the proof one needs to know that his power and he aren’t what they once were.

Picture after picture of Reid post-injury have shown him  to look both his age and somewhat frail. Add that to his unpopularity at home, and it’s not even certain he can hold onto his Senate seat going forward, let alone the top Democrat leadership slot in the Senate.

Between his low approval numbers and the existence of at least one, if not more popular potential Republican challengers, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has emerged as the most vulnerable Democrat in the upcoming election cycle according to Larry Sabato.