Harry Reid hangs up his gloves

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By Erick Erickson,

from FoxNews,

Harry Reid is going to retire. What a humbling ending for his career. Injured in a treadmill accident, tossed from his majority leader role, Reid will go back to Nevada. The former boxer is hanging up his gloves when his term ends.

For those of us who are partisans and dislike Harry Reid, there was a moment that lingers in the back of my mind. When Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., retired from the Senate to go to the Heritage Foundation, there were kinder words in the news stories from Harry Reid about DeMint and from DeMint about Harry Reid than about Republicans leaders in the Senate.

In fact, I hear repeatedly from Republicans in Congress that Harry Reid is, at a personal level, a nice and warm person. That, of course, is part of the problem. Reid’s personal charm has let him run circles around Republicans. The former boxer has, even in the minority, been overly effective at obstructing Republican efforts. He has done so with a level of ruthlessness the Republican base begs its own leaders to use.

Faced with Republican obstruction over Obama judiciary nominees, Harry Reid blew up the filibuster. Faced with Republican obstruction against ObamaCare, Harry Reid used the reconciliation process — a budgeting process — to pass ObamaCare. On the campaign trail, Harry Reid made stuff up, using his vantage point as Majority Leader to get media credibility. Who remembers his nonsense about Mitt Romney’s taxes?

Reid plays to win. Where Republicans tend to be tacticians maneuvering on a field, Reid has always been a field marshall looking at the maps, seeing what is ahead, and using tactics to shape an overarching and further reaching strategy.

The GOP could learn a lot from him. The Republicans try to get through a week without blowing themselves up. Reid tries to shape an entire year to make sure the GOP is blown up a month before election day.

The problem for Reid, and everyone else, and one I do not think Reid even really cares about, is the long term consequences.

Reid put politics ahead of sound policy. He was willing to turn a blind eye to the overreach of his own party and president, effectively turning the Senate into the president’s yes man. He broke the rules when it suited him. He ignored other rules. He further eroded the integrity of the institution just to get his way.

Harry Reid may be a great strategist. He may run the Senate now from the minority better than Republicans do from the majority. He may do all those things, but in part because of Harry Reid’s actions, we are more and more a nation of men and no longer a nation of laws. That is a legacy no senator should want.

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