April 11, 2006


Reid's image takes a hit: Popularity falls as Democratic leader (MOLLY BALL, 4/11/06, Las Vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL)

Becoming U.S. Senate minority leader has hurt Sen. Harry Reid's popularity back home, according to a Review-Journal poll.

Since he was re-elected in 2004 and took the party post, the percentage of Nevadans who view Reid favorably has dropped by 10 percentage points, while the number who view him unfavorably has increased 14 percentage points.

Analysts say it's obvious Reid's new status, which requires him to spout the Democratic party line aggressively and also take the brunt of Republican attacks, has turned off home state voters who saw him as independent. Some are surprised at the magnitude of the shift.

A better opponent could have beat him in '04.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2006 3:46 PM

Reid is such an unappealing weasel-like character. How on earth did he get elected senator nevermind get elected to the leadership.

Posted by: erp at April 11, 2006 3:54 PM

There is no democratic party line. So of course anyone who has to spout it will look very cheesy.

Posted by: exclab at April 11, 2006 4:34 PM

Other than socialized medicine, abortion on demand, gay marriage, higher taxes, and retreat from the WoT.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 4:39 PM

I just don't think thats true. I think the dems could be bent to anything at this point. There is no position they wouldn't take to be considered in play. Their policy position is so weak at the moment I would be very afraid if they got any power this november. Of course the present republican array of talent leaves no reason for confidence either.

The political well in the US is looking pretty dry at the moment.

Posted by: exclab at April 11, 2006 6:12 PM

You've got that quite backwards. If they returned to Clintonism they could Gingrich the President. It's only because they're trapped in their 70s ideology that they're so helpless.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 6:47 PM

the democrats' manifest disregard for the country's best interests don't help them much, either.

Posted by: toe at April 11, 2006 7:04 PM

toe: "Disregard" would be an improvement over the disdain & contempt that they actually show...

Posted by: b at April 11, 2006 7:18 PM

b: "disdain & contempt" would be an improvement over the agitprop & subversion that they actually show...

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 7:39 PM


No, the Democratic Party has strong limits on what it could bent in to. Anything Bush is for is forbidden territory, regardless of the merits. As OJ has documented here over and over, all Bush has to do to get the Democratic Party to take an unpopular position is to take the popular side of it.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 11, 2006 10:43 PM

Harry Reid is a paper boy. The leading Democratic movers are Kennedy and Schumer, neither of whom could be Leader, because they are too polarizing for the rest of the country. There's a reason the last four Democratic Senate leaders have been Byrd, Mitchell, Daschle, and now Reid (instead of Kennedy, Feinstein, Boxer, or Schumer). WV, ME, SD, and now NV aren't seen as havens of nuttiness. But MA, CA, and NY are.

But if the Dems retake the Senate within the next 6 or 8 years, watch Schumer go for the brass ring.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 11, 2006 11:18 PM

By "the brass ring" you mean being Senate Majority Leader?

Posted by: David Cohen at April 11, 2006 11:26 PM

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Democrats won't make a Jewish New Yorker the face of their party.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 11:31 PM

People like Feinstein and St.Hillary! are smart enough to realize that being in the leadership is a negative. It attracts those on the other side who want to make an example of you. Just ask Daschle, Wright, Gingrich, Livingston, DeLay, Rostenkowski or Foley. Do you think that Kennedy, Feingold, Dodd, Leahy or even "Sheets" would still be there if any of them was leader?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 12, 2006 12:16 AM

David - yes. Schumer has a bigger ego than Kerry or Kennedy or almost anyone else in the Senate, and he is pretty smart as well (Harvard and Harvard Law, with honor, I believe). But OJ is right - they can't have him be the face of the party, which is why Byrd was replaced back in '82 or '84, because he looked too old (I can't remember exactly when), even in comparison to Reagan.

Chris Dodd always wanted to be Majority (or Minority) Leader, but he has too many past incidents of partying with Teddy and too many communistic leanings to get it. Durbin is persona non grata after calling US troops gulag enforcers and Khmer Rouge killers, so Reid it is. Who else do they have? Barack! hasn't been there long enough, and Max Baucus voted with the GOP on Medicare reform. Maybe Bill Nelson (if they decide to dump Reid). Or Salazar. Jeff Bingaman is an airhead. Landrieu is fading. Mikulski is too short and too abrasive. Biden is a windbag, even by Senate standards. Leahy is even more obnoxious than Durbin, plus he was kicked off the Intelligence Committee. What's a party to do?

Things aren't much better for the GOP. Kyl and/or Sessions and/or Cornyn seem to be the only guys who know what to do.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 12, 2006 12:45 AM


After Trent Lott gets another stint at GOP leader in the Senate, I fully expect John Thune will have been groomed enough to take the reins. I still maintain Thune and Obama should have been given keys to the party leader offices after the last election. Would've made the Senate a little more telegenic, and would have made it do more in the process.

Posted by: Brad S at April 12, 2006 10:27 AM

They should just draw a name out of a hat every two years, and that's the Majority Leader. It'd probably enhance "collegiality" among Senators and you'd certainly outperform the current method in the long run, as far as getting things done.

Posted by: b at April 12, 2006 2:16 PM

Except that the last three Majority Leaders have passed an incredible amount of major legislation as the GOP undoes the New Deal/Great Society after 70 years.

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 2:20 PM