John Fund: Curtains for Reid? He May Not Even be Minority Leader After TuesdayPosted: November 2, 2014
Whether history will be cruel or kind to the political career of Harry Reid remains to be seen, but in the short term, one thing is for sure, the blame for Democrats’ upcoming election defeat will be served generously to Harry, in multiple helpings. Judgement day is almost here. Until as recently as a week ago, I was too superstitious and too cautious to predict that the Tuesday’s election will firmly close the book on the Reid era. Now that Tuesday is almost here, I’m throwing caution to the dogs. It’s half-past Reid-O’clock. Time to chill the champagne, unwrap the cigars, put sparkly icing on the cowboy cupcakes, and light the candles. Harry’s days as senate majority leader are in the final twilight. The show’s almost over. I get emotional just thinking about it, don’t you?
It looks as if Harry Reid is at high risk of losing any Senate leadership role after Tuesday’s election.
Reid said Saturday that it’s all up to Iowa to determine whether he keeps his job. He told Democratic donors that if Republican Joni Ernst wins her victory, it “would mean . . . that Mitch McConnell would be leader of the United States Senate.”
“Reid indicated to the newspaper that ‘other Democrats would only get their chance to lead the caucus if they pried the title from his cold, dead hands’.”
Given that Sunday’s Des Moines Register poll shows Ernst with a seven-point lead over Democrat Bruce Braley, Reid can be forgiven some nervousness.
“But this year, at a news conference held in September, Reid declined to clarify whether he would stay on as minority leader if his party lost the majority.”
But Reid may also not even remain minority leader after Tuesday, though Democrats around him exude inside-the-Beltway loyalty to him in public. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 ranking Democrat and a man known for his ambition, told Meet the Press last month that Reid had a lock on the majority leader’s job. But he didn’t extend his optimism to cover what would happen if Democrats suffer a Senate bloodbath on Tuesday and must suddenly anticipate a tough path to regaining Senate control even in 2016, when the electoral map will favor Senate Democrats once again.
Reid himself, normally a picture of blustery self-confidence, has toned down his insistence that he will stay regardless of the electoral outcome. Last year, Roll Call reported that Reid had told them he’d like to stay in leadership till 2022, when he would be 82. Reid indicated to the newspaper that…(read more)
— John Fund is national-affairs correspondent for National Review.