Harry Reid: The Tea Party's Newest Fan

     Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was predicted to face an uphill re-election battle this year.  The Nevada Democrat had critics on the left who viewed him as spineless and too conciliatory towards Republicans while the right demonized him for carrying out Obama's plan to bring full fledged socialism to America.  Considering the country's anti-incumbent attitude, it's no surprise that the four-term Mormon Senator faces dismal approval ratings as low as 38 percent.

     Some are saying that Reid's chances for a fifth term are improving however, and ironically, his odds are better thanks to the people who want him out the most - the Tea Party movement.

     Reid's GOP challengers included Tea Party approved Sharron Angle and the more moderate Sue Lowden.  Polls showed Lowden ahead of Reid, but when he was pitted against Angle, he was up 3 points.  In yesterday's Republican primaries, the Tea Party walked away with a victory as Sharron Angle was selected to be the party's nominee.  Among Angle's more radical statements are that she supports eliminating the Department of Education, outlawing alcohol (Something tells me that will never fly in a state that is home to Sin City), as well as a program that includes massages and saunas for prison drug rehabilitation participants.  Sure, the Tea Party likes Angle, but the middle of the road voters, the swing ones who decide elections, aren't as sure.  They might dislike Reid, but come election day, they might dislike him less than they do Angle.

     The Tea Party movement is full of both promise and danger.  The movement is getting people across the country more involved in the political process, including some who never have before.  It's forcing politicians to listen more closely to their constituents and remember that they are elected to serve them.  This is all good for democracy.  The danger comes in situations like the one Nevada voters now face.  Sure, Tea Party supporters got their favorite, more conservative candidate nominated, but she has less of a chance to beat the Democrat.

     The Tea Party's primary beliefs include reducing the federal government, cutting the budget, and lowering taxes.  They obviously believed Angle would do a better job of that than Lowden, but in the end, if Reid wins re-election, the Tea Party has failed.  If they fail, it's a result of focusing on principles without even considering pragmatism; both are essential to getting things done.  American wouldn't have been created if the Founding Fathers disregarded the need for compromise.  Of course, the Union they created was imperfect, but it was a starting point and it was better than nothing.

     In the 2008 Presidential election, John McCain was labeled a maverick, and it was a good thing.  Only two years later, maverick has become a dirty word.  I understand the need to have candidates that don't budge on key issues, but being pragmatic and making compromises are essential for a working democracy.  To Tea Party advocates, Sue Lowden might not have been the perfect candidate, but her election would have been a starting point and it would be better than nothing.

     Harry Reid still faces a tough election, and anything can happen between now and November, but after this week's primary vote, the Senator just might be the Tea Party's newest fan.


Anonymous said...

Well done. The TEA party (in all it's manifestations) would do well to recall the votes cast for Ross Perot (who's fiscal philosophy would fit right in with TEA party rhetoric) that gave Bill Clinton eight years in the White House.

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