Harry Reid’s rough week
This has been a difficult week for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). He raised eyebrows by accusing Republicans of helping Vladimir Putin annex Crimea, an outburst that led to questions about his mental health:
The bill he’s talking about went on to survive its procedural vote. Republican objections have nothing to do with whatever fevered scenarios haunt the Majority Leader’s imagination; as the Washington Post explains, they’re concerned about changes to the International Monetary Fund:
The Senate’s proposed aid package would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials involved in starting the standoff between the two countries. The agreement would authorize $50 million for democracy, governance and civil society assistance and $100 million in security assistance for Ukraine and other countries in the region.
But the deal also includes changes long-sought by the White House that would shift about $63 billion in IMF money from a crisis fund to a general account. Doing so would make good on a 2010 pledge by the Obama administration and ensure greater U.S. influence over the world body.
Several Republican senators are opposed to including changes to the IMF in the aid deal. Several of them wrote a letter last week outlining their opposition, saying the IMF provisions are “antithetical to the driving purpose of the underlying legislation.” They also said they are concerned that U.S. contributions to the IMF would double “yet actually undermine our influence in that body in a manner that provides no actual relief to Ukraine.”
Rest assured, Reid knows exactly what he’s doing. This is his standard tactic for abusing the Senate as a campaign instrument. He knows he can toss around the most wild and vicious charges from the Senate floor without having to worry about getting sued. The American people are free to wonder if having a Majority Leader who treats the “greatest deliberative body in the world” as the diary section of a rabid left-wing blog is a good idea. You’ll have a chance to weigh in on that soon, folks.
The most common targets for Reid’s tirades are Charles and David Koch, a pair of law-abiding libertarian billionaires who don’t give a lot of money to Harry Reid and his caucus. The Democrats have evolved a last-ditch strategy to stave off a midterm-election apocalypse by relentlessly demonizing the Kochs. (In case you were wondering, yes, Reid has also implicated them as accomplices to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.) Unfortunately for Reid, a new poll found that the Koch Brothers have significantly lower unfavorable ratings than he does.
On Tuesday, Reid was obliged to reimburse his campaign for $17,000 spent on holiday gifts for supporters and staff members. The gifts just happen to have been made by… Harry Reid’s granddaughter. The Federal Election Commission asked for more details about these “holiday gifts” and who received them; even after repaying the money, Reid might still have some explaining to do. The Las Vegas Sun wondered how the bill managed to hit seventeen grand, given the sort of jewelry his granddaughter usually makes, or used to make:
According to an interview on a fan page dedicated to her jewelry, Ryan Elisabeth Reid says she is originally from Las Vegas and began to make jewelry at age 5. Her specialization is a line of pocket-watch lockets that she calls “As Time Goes By.”
“Each watch locket is a pocket watch with the guts taken out. I then fill the watches with a new collage inspired by a woman in history (who inspires me) and each necklace comes with a tag about the woman and a quote by her,” Ryan Elisabeth Reid wrote for the site.
She also has a “more eclectic” line of hats and new jewelry called “The Light City,” inspired by time spent in Paris.
Ryan Elisabeth Reid’s jewelry site, www.ryanelisabeth.com, is defunct, and there does not appear to be any information available about how she priced her items. But a look at her line of jewelry suggests she worked most in basic metals, mixed media and found objects, not precious or semi-precious metal or stones.
Well, at least Democrats can still take advantage of Harry Reid’s legendary charm for public-relations purposes. Here he is today, explaining that it wasn’t the rank incompetence of Barack Obama and his team that caused the ObamaCare launch to become a billion-dollar online disaster, requiring repeated delays of its deadlines; it’s because “people are not educated in how to use the Internet.”
That’s right, kids: it was your stupid fault that Healthcare.gov dissolved into a pile of broken web code and 404 error screens. If you hadn’t clicked on ObamaCare’s buttons in such a foolish and ignorant way, everything would have worked great. It takes a lot of skill to successfully purchase products through a website. That’s why Amazon.com, eBay, Walmart.com, and Orbitz are down all the time.
For added irony, he’s belittling the elderly and their supposedly inadequate web-surfing skills, but it’s the young customers who are most grievously missing from the puny ranks of ObamaCare customers. There are a lot of reasons young people are avoiding this mess, but insufficient knowledge of the Internet is not one of them.
The Senate’s going to be a different place without Harry Reid as the majority leader. Who knows? Some solid pro-growth job-creating legislation might even pass, once Reid’s not able to quietly bury it, while the media obediently relays Democrat complaints about Republican “obstructionism.”
Update: Next week might not be looking so good for Reid, either. RealClearPolitics reports that more questions are being asked about the remarkable generosity of certain Nevada institutions toward his granddaughter:
His granddaughter has also received financial support for her fledgling New York theater company from two Nevada-based foundations that typically prohibit donations to organizations outside of their service areas. The foundations belong to gaming and energy companies that have also donated to the lawmaker.
Ryan Elisabeth, in her early 20s and a recent college graduate, describes herself as a “performing arts professional.” In addition to her jewelry company — which is not mentioned on her LinkedIn profile — she also works as an assistant at the Tim Bavington Studio in Las Vegas and as artistic director at Sprat Theatre Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Donations to the latter organization, which she founded, may raise some eyebrows.
According to the Brooklyn Arts Council, Sprat “is supported by funds from Clinton Global Initiative, Caesars Foundation, NV Energy Foundation, and individual donors.” (The Sprat website also lists these contributors, along with others.)
The article goes on to note that the Ceasars Foundation and NV Energy Foundation both require grant recipients to possess 501(c)(3) status, but it’s unclear whether the Sprat Theatre Company has completed the incorporation process yet. NV Energy also requires grantees to operate within its service area, which certainly does not include Brooklyn, N.Y. Both the Ceasars Foundation and NV Energy have made hefty donations to Harry Reid’s campaigns and allied political action committees, decidedly heavier in the case of the former.
Update: More revelations about the campaign money he funneled to his granddaughter’s jewelry business in 2012 bring the total up to $31,000, according to the Washington Times.
Meanwhile, Reid took the Senate floor to declare himself mentally unfit for office, claiming he doesn’t remember widely broadcast comments from only a month ago, in which he declared all ObamaCare horror stories are lies. It’s time to take Harry Reid at his word and remove him from office, pending psychiatric evaluation.