What Politicians Do

The reactions of Atrios and Thers to Harry Reid's statements about "the Left" and Senate "moderates" perplex me. Harry Reid is the Majority Leader of the Senate, the leader of the Democratic Caucus. Whatever he really thinks about Bayh and Co., in public he has to support his caucus members. It reminds me of when now-President Obama attacked "the Left" for criticizing Democratic Senators who voted for John Roberts. I wrote a comment then:

Senator Obama

Criticism of the ones we love, constructive criticism, should always be welcome. I thank you for your reasoned argument but I respectfully disagree.

Certainly, amongst your colleagues, it is my view that you should not criticize each other. I have always applauded Sen. Ben Nelson's approach on this while strongly criticizing Sen. Lieberman's precisely for that reason.

But since it was my view, and the view of many others, that Sens. Leahy and Feingold made a terrible mistake [by voting to confirm John Roberts], I think it is not only right, but incumbent, upon us who feel this way to say so and loudly.

The stakes are monumental. We should not stand silent and let our friends make mistakes without voicing our views. That is what some of us have done.

I commend your impulse to defend your colleagues. It is what YOU should do. But I believe those of us who disagreed with their actions did what WE were supposed to do too.

Harry Reid is doing precisely the same thing. It is what politicians do. It means next to nothing to what "the Left" should say and do about these "Senate moderates." What was more striking was the fact that Reid called out John Roberts for his deceptive presentation at his Senate confirmation hearings. I think that was noteworthy and good. Thers disagreed:

And this one tells us an awful lot about Reid's amazingly brilliantly amazing ability to figure out who's a moderate and who's only faking it:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that John Roberts misled the Senate during his confirmation hearings by pretending to be a moderate — and that the United States is now "stuck" with him as chief justice.

"Roberts didn’t tell us the truth. At least Alito told us who he was," Reid said, referring to Samuel Alito, the second Supreme Court justice nominated by President George W. Bush. "But we’re stuck with those two young men, and we’ll try to change by having some moderates in the federal courts system as time goes on — I think that will happen."

[. . .]

Keep this man away from 3-Cart Monte tables. Though, of course, it's no skin off his nose that he keeps getting pantsed by "moderates." After all, he is a Senator, the Sernator Majority Leader, and by default a Very Serious Person Worthy of Respect.

Thers apparently does not remember that Reid voted against Roberts' confirmation. Thers misses the point in my opinion. I can not read Reid's mind., but I took his comments about Roberts as an attempt to redefine the term "moderate" when it comes to Supreme Court Justices. He is fighting against any idea that Roberts defines moderation (and let's not pretend that the Media would not try and sell that idea.) It strikes me as a pretty shrewd tactic by Reid.

In short, I found the reactions to Reid's comments from Atrios and Thers perplexing and wrongheaded. Pols are pols and do what they do. Reid is a pol. What part of what Reid said is so ridiculous that they felt compelled to rain ridicule down upon him? Seems like a knee jerk reaction to me and quite off base.

Of course "the Left" should entirely ignore Reid's admonitions. But they should ignore most pols' admonitions. and this is nothing new. And for the record, of course Ann Althouse's shocked to discover there is politics going on at the Supreme Court act is absurd. But this is always how she behaves.

Speaking for me only

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    Ugh, that Obama diary (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 09:26:43 AM EST
    still gives me a knot in my stomach.

    Reid, of course, tends not to mince words about the Court. Remember when he called Thomas an embarrassment? (Though in the same breath praised Scalia. . .)