Some unsolicited advice for Harry Reid
November 16, 2004
Being elevated to the status of the country’s most powerful Democrat puts a big target on Harry Reid’s back.
But we doubt a race for re-election for the Nevada senator, fresh from drubbing an inconsequential opponent in the Nov. 2 election, will be high on Reid’s priority list. Instead, we hope those priorities remain firmly grounded in the principles that have won him office as a Democrat in a Republican state.
Here’s some unsolicited advice:
n Hold the center.
The presidential election proved the Democratic Party needs a dose of reality to satisfy the needs and desires of the American electorate.
The “liberal, liberal, liberal” label fit Sen. John Kerry all too well. The extreme wing of the party on both coasts has been loud and influential – and left the majority of the country, including a lot of Democrats, aching for some common-sense solutions.
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Reid, who campaigned as “independent like Nevada,” doesn’t carry nearly the liberal baggage of Kerry. He can’t let himself be cornered into defending policies rejected by most moderates.
n Pick your battles carefully.
Are 10 federal judgeships worth the effort? By Reid’s count, the Senate has confirmed 203 of President George W. Bush’s nominations and blocked only 10.
But he’s already being lobbied by special interests to keep up the fight. Knowing Reid, he’s probably already thinking of ways to wheel and deal for some legislation important to the Democrats.
n Embrace the best of Bush’s ideas, oppose the worst.
A bigger government role in health care isn’t the solution. Actually, a bigger government role in just about anything isn’t often the solution.
Where Bush has pressed private-sector responsibility – expanding medical-savings accounts, for example, and finding a way to invest Social Security funds – people have been willing to follow.
They also think tax cuts, something Reid voted against, are a good direction. But they fear the ballooning budget deficit and see that Bush seems unconcerned. Bring the bureaucracy under control – and under budget.
Most of all, we ask Reid to keep an eye on the big picture. That doesn’t mean Washington politics; it doesn’t mean the Hollywood elite.
It means the people trying to make a living in Nevada.