Beholden to Billionaires

Harry Reid is a hypocrite when it comes to campaign finance.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., answers questions following a weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Billionaire donors for me, but not for thee.

By + More

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid uses his official position to beat up on people. In private he may be a very nice man. In public he’s a thug and a bully who takes advantage of the way the U.S. Constitution immunizes him for any damage he may do to the reputations of others to attack everyone from those he’s called “shadowy billionaires” to ordinary, run-of-the-mill Americans who now find themselves stuck with health insurance plans they don’t like and with out-of-pocket expenses they cannot afford.

It may not be fair to hold Reid accountable for what he has been saying if, as he alleges, he can’t remember doing much of it. If that’s really the case he should consider stepping down from his post as Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate or, at the very least, taking a trip to the Mayo Clinic or whatever similar facility his insurance will pay for so that he may undergo a complete physical check that includes a thorough brain scan. It’s important to make sure there isn’t actually something serious going on inside his head.

[Read blogger Peter Roff on Harry Reid's attack on cancer patient Julie Boonstra.]

To add to the confusion – ours, not Reid’s – there are some billionaires out there whom he likes very much, as long as they are willing to spend their money to help him hang on to his present position. Some people call this “smart politics,” while others simply see it for what it is: hypocrisy.

In order to hang on to his leadership post, where Reid blocks anything he doesn’t like or anything that's controversial (read: that will help create jobs) from getting to President Barack Obama’s desk, he needs the Democrats to win more Senate races in 2014 than they are going to lose.

It’s a tall order. The most vulnerable senators – like Arkansas’ Mark Pryor, Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, Colorado’s Mark Udall and Alaska’s Mark Begich – are all Democrats. Electoral analysts who are supposed to know what they are talking about, such as Charlie Cook and Nate Silver, are already suggesting the GOP will pick up enough seats to win a majority and with room to spare.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Democratic Party.]

This means Reid needs to find deep-pocketed friends of his own, such as Tom and Jim Steyer, billionaires who stand to lose if the Keystone XL pipeline ever actually gets built.

Some folks who’ve had enough of Reid’s shenanigans are starting to weigh in, such as American Commitment President Phil Kerpen. His group is sponsoring an Internet-only ad buy – which is the way smart people are starting to do things – attacking the alliance between the Steyers and Reid.

The ad uses footage of Reid saying nasty things about conservatives Charles and David Koch, two men whom the Nevada Democrat has alleged more than once have the entire Republican establishment in their hip pocket, but in a way that cleverly hints that such things could just as easily and more appropriately be said about the Democrats and the Steyers who, American Commitment said in a release, have pledged “$100 million to liberals if they will promote his lockstep anti-American energy agenda.”

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

“It's easy to tell the billionaires backing Harry Reid and other liberals are the bad guys – because they're the ones trying to impose massive new energy taxes on you, kill the Keystone pipeline, and enrich themselves by directing your tax dollars to their ‘green energy’ schemes,” Kerpen said.

It’s good that Kerpen is pushing back. Other groups on the right should follow suit.

Reid’s intentions in attacking conservative job creators and taxpayers while making common cause with liberal billionaires who are working to help keep him in power are obvious. He regards the super rich, at least those whom he does not see as evil, as useful idiots, willing to do his bidding to keep the progressive agenda moving forward. Money in politics, as should be clear by now, is not the problem for people like him. It’s only the money that is being spent on issues and campaigns that will prevent America from permanently becoming a European-style liberal, welfare state. As far the left-liberal bank is concerned however, the Steyers, George Soros, Peter Lewis, Warren Buffett and others are probably not, in Reid’s mind anyway, spending enough.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Someday the American electorate will figure out the Democrats are engaged in bogus class warfare. Their rhetoric makes them sound like they hate the rich but really they love them – as long as they are writing checks to the right people and the right groups. Reid’s party is no less beholden to special financial interests, big corporations and Wall Street than the Republicans are. In fact, anyone who wants to take a look through the campaign finance reports going back 20 years or so will discover they may be more dependent on them for campaign cash than the GOP. That’s a story that has rarely been told – nor will it be as long as Reid and company are successful in persuading the American media and the voting public to pay no attention to the men and women behind the curtain who are really pulling the strings.