Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 1, 2012

Sen. Harry Reid is a crafty man

Before we start, if you are looking for my Voting Suggestions, you can find them here. Get that ballot turned in pronto!

Most progressive Democrats go hot and cold on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Some think he is a limp-wristed, weak-tea, Republican enabler who allows moody conserva-democrats to walk all over him (see: Sen. Baucus during the Health Reform negotiations, or Sen. Lieberman during the Iraq War). However, I believe Harry Reid, the former boxer from Nevada who’s car was once blown up by the mob to intimidate him, is not lacking in courage, but is, rather, a “Game of Thrones”-style subtle player of old school politics.

Sen. Harry Reid, crafty man

Reid is the master of slowly and subtly provoking opponents into over-extending themselves and making mistakes. In an exchange last year, he provoked his fellow Nevada senator, Republican John Ensign, into defending prostitution because Ensign had recently been involved in a scandal and was caught paying to cover up the affair. Now he’s doing a similar gambit on Mitt Romney.

Reid came out recently saying a Bain investor told him Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for over a decade. Here’s the story on Huffington Post. Reid refuses to name his source, just claims that someone told him. Why is this brilliant? Mitt Romney refuses to release any of his tax returns beyond a mildly incomplete version of his 2010 filings.  So his options are to ignore Reid, deny the accusation with no details, or release his returns.

Romney has already  made the calculation that the cost of not releasing his tax returns is better than releasing them, which tells me there is something in them that is reeeeaalllly incriminating. Denying the accusation only draws more attention to his unreleased returns, so I think he will stick to option #1. Which means Reid will have to turn up the volume.

I bet that in the next couple of weeks, other Democrats will come out with wild, and probably false, speculation about Romney’s financials. The more extreme the better. It keeps the focus squarely on Romney’s Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island nest eggs.

I’m not saying this sort of old school politicking is good for America, but I am saying it  makes fantastic political theater. Also, considering that conservatives have been demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate (then demanding his long form birth certificate, then the certified long form birth certificate. What’s next, his 3rd grade transcript?) I do think Romney’s financial holdings are fair game, and his tax return will give us the details we need to discuss them.

Unless you are Harry Reid. Then you can discuss them whether you have the details or not.



  1. I’m a fan of this strategy in an election year, especially when the opposing side is releasing so much utterly bogus advertising. Good for the goosed. The take I was seeing online yesterday was that Harry Reid isn’t one to make outlandish claims and isn’t an attention whore, so it lends credibility to his statement. Add to that the fact that he is also a Mormon and the statement seems even more realisitc. I also read that there is something of a Hatfields and McCoys fued going on in the Mormon community between the people who support Willard and the people who support Huntsman. I’ve read, but have no proof that the majority of the people who belong to the inner circle at Bain are Mormons. It is entirely credible that there might be a disgruntled Bain employee willing to spill the beans, but how that person knew how much or how little tax Willard paid is open for speculation. Either way, I hope Harry does turn up the volume. Him challenging Willard to show his taxes *is* good for America.

  2. Several commentators have noted that the guy wants to be president without releasing these documents but he couldn’t get Senate approval for a Cabinet position without doing so. Wait till that one sinks in….

  3. I’m thinking this is Harry raising that there volume:,0,6281057.story

  4. Read on a blog comment: On a Daily Kos post (This is what Reid did) – underneath a screenshot of Faux snooze, it says that “He got Fox News to put in huge letters across the bottom of the screen that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years. Well played, Reid, well played.” I love this stuff.

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