Sunday, January 31, 2010

NV-Sen: The Premature and Ill Advised Dancing on Harry Reid's Grave

I know, I know, Harry Reid is supposed to be a "walking dead man" politically. All the DC pundits say so. The Republican talking heads say so. The R-J polls say so.

So why isn't it really so? Why was Harry Reid still able to raise a healthy $1.9 million last quarter?

Let's listen to Jon Ralston on this one.

[E]ven as Reid’s hopes are resting on a post-State of the Union recovery by both the national and state economies and of the president’s standing, the Republican cannibalism cannot be overlooked. It surely is a delicious sight for Team Reid.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki’s decision to reconsider the race has prompted nasty sneering by his GOP opponents behind the scenes and further indicates just how damaging this Republican primary could be. If the GOP had a clean horse to ride until November, Reid probably should be wondering what kind of improvement projects he can do around his Searchlight abode.

But once these Republicans are done with each other — you are witnessing a near-daily to and fro between Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian — the national GOP can pour all the millions it wants into the state. But Reid and national Democrats not only will match that, the Republicans in D.C. Central will be selling a product that some in the base may want to recall and independents may not be so willing to buy once June arrives.

Some Republicans try to argue the “primaries are good” shibboleth, which I didn’t believe even when I was a cub political reporter. You see, Reid doesn’t know which candidate to eviscerate until June, so that is to our advantage — or so the argument goes.

Please. Who would a badly damaged incumbent rather run against — someone bloodied by a primary or someone not wounded? If you don’t believe me, GOP Rep. Dean Heller made the same case on “Face to Face” last week, urging his colleagues to play nice. It will not happen.

He's right yet again. The Republicans are a hot mess. Their messaging is off. Their fundraising is dismal. Their "leadership" is in disarray.

No wonder why Dean Heller has refused to jump into the race. And no wonder why even Barbara Vucanovich has warned her fellow Republicans about Mr. Reid.

Now don't get me wrong, I know Democrats have a tough road ahead this year. Health care reform still needs to be done. Economic recovery is just beginning, and we can't afford for this to be another Bush-era "jobless recovery".

However, there is a way forward. Democrats can bring the base back home, and possibly even rebuild the tattered relationship with those fickle minded independents, by being bolder, more progressive, AND more practical. Pass complete, comprehensive health care reform with a public option that actually helps more people afford decent health care. Pass a climate bill that delivers on green-collar jobs. Pass additional economic recovery with the remaining and repaid TARP funds. (Hint: That's a better way to spend these funds than any more stupid and incredibly unpopular Wall Street bailouts.)

It's OK. I'm not expecting any consultant fees. ;-)

But anyway, combine a renewed and revived progressive and Democratic base with regaining the trust of independents and a continually disheveled Republican Party. What do we have? A 2010 election that looks much better for Harry Reid, Dina Titus, and Democrats down the ballot.

Oh, and remember that person we elected President? He may finally be getting his stride back. Joan Walsh explains.

I wasn't optimistic about Obama's plans to attend the House GOP gathering. I thought it might be more of his wrongheaded bipartisanship. I didn't raise a ruckus; it was his Friday to spend the way he wanted to. I just didn't expect much.

But like a lot of people in both parties -- especially the House GOP aides who set it up and let the TV cameras roll -- I was honstly blown away by Obama's performance. Like a lot of Democrats, I was very happy to see him engage and question and answer -- and at times kick some ill-informed and obstreperous GOP ass. I tried not to ask where this fighting man had been for these last months; he was clearly that president we voted for and I thought better late than never. [...]

[...] I [...] didn't expect someone who fulfilled all of our progressive political dreams when we voted for him in 2008. But we did expect him to tangle with -- and defeat -- his antagonists, politically, rhetorically, intellectually, sometimes morally, far more often than he has this year. So today was a relief and a revelation for a lot of us.

I am looking forward to seeing a whole lot more of this president in the coming months. Everyone who wants bipartisanship should be calling for monthly sessions like this. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Republicans aren't. GOP Rep. Mike Pence told Hardball's Chris Matthews, shortly after his draining session with the president, that he's not anxious for a rerun.

As Ralston himself has said, Reid's political fortunes are strongly tied to Obama's. And if President Obama can make a big comeback, Reid can turn around his poll numbers and pull enough of a winning campaign to really win this.

This is why I'm catching my breath right now, It may look scary now, but let's get to work... And let's get Reid and Obama to get back to work on Capitol Hill. :-)

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