The Sad Story of Senator Slander

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There are moments—albeit fleeting—during which I find myself feeling almost badly for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. After all, Reid has risen near the pinnacle of Democratic Party politics.

He is, given President Barack Obama’s disastrous reign and House Minority Leader Pelosi’s 2010 implosion, likely the most powerful Democrat in Washington. And yet, we only hear from or about him when he does something uncommonly stupid. Most Americans probably think he’s that crabby old guy who carries Nancy Pelosi’s purse around. It’s no stretch to imagine him sitting in a rocking chair on the steps of the Capitol shouting at passersby to get off his lawn.

However, my sympathies for the Sage of the Silver State are short lived. I don’t despise Reid because of his supercilious simpering. Nor do I abhor him because he whines incessantly about the supposed evils of his political enemies—all the while maintaining a privileged existence based on corruption appalling even by the depressingly low standards of Washington, D.C.

Reid has been linked to disgraced fundraiser Jack Abramoff, participated in nepotism-related scandals which are frowned upon everywhere west of the Kennedy compound, and even pushed for a taxpayer-funded “green” high-speed rail system which would directly financially benefit his cronies and him while providing a “vital” rail link between Las Vegas and that heart of West Coast travel and tourism: Victorville, Calif.

I expect nothing better from Reid. I expect nothing better from virtually every one of the jacklegs and circus barkers who infest the halls of national power. But I would rather appreciate it if Reid stuck to the liberal trifecta: greed, graft and hypocrisy. Instead, Reid has once again stuck his glowering mug into the main event; attacking the tone of the national discourse like a cinematic axe-murderer at a camp for wayward teenagers in small clothing.

Last Tuesday, Reid—no stranger to scandals himself—took an unsubstantiated shot at presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney: “He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years!” Clearly, this represents a continuation of the Obama campaign strategy of demanding a gander at Romney’s tax returns. However, Reid failed to pull the proverbial handbrake in time; stepping past peeking at tax returns and rolling right into falsely accusing Romney of a felony.

Despite touching off a firestorm of deserved criticism from parties as disparate as John Stewart and yours truly, Reid doubled down on his errant tack, repeating the baseless charges on the Senate floor; thereby taking somewhat more run-of-the-mill slander and reading it into the Congressional Record. Reid has defended his defamation by claiming that “The burden should be on (Romney). He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.” As the new gag which will likely define Reid’s career goes: the burden should be on Harry Reid. He’s the one I’ve alleged rode shotgun for the Manson Family.

I have no idea what Mitt Romney’s tax returns look like. I feel confident that they look nothing like mine. He’s an enormously wealthy man with an established record of wise business decisions. Given Reid’s own extraordinary wealth, I suspect his own tax returns also feature some rather impressive arithmetic. And we know that Obama’s tax returns have grown in size in the last few years—he’s now worth an estimated $12 million; despite never holding down a private sector job.

An impressively self-important, hyper-liberal white guy slandered an impressively self-important, somewhat-liberal white guy on behalf of an impressively self-important, hyper-liberal somewhat-white guy. Two of the three are living examples of how shallow the political pool has become of late. The third is a moderate Republican; which makes him just another mealy-mouthed, fence-sitting electoral opportunist. Unfortunately, in the current environment, that also makes him a veritable Winston Churchill when compared to the former pair.

It’s indeed a sad saga which concludes with Americans considering which candidate is the least stomach-churningly awful. I suppose Reid deserves some credit for making the choice easier for a great many people; albeit not in the direction he probably hoped. I’m still not sold on Romney. But I am certain that I want nothing to do with Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the rest of the twisted cabal which has turned the Democratic Party into a rogue’s gallery right out of a b-grade mafia film. Actually, I heard Harry Reid really was in the mafia. The burden is on him to disprove it.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.