Reid my lips: The senator is vulnerable

Reid my lips: Know new taxes, eventually, if Harry has his way.

Ditto for knowing bureaucratic health care hell, cap and trade costs galore, pork for all—but how much money for Nevada?—and federal deficit spending piling on debt for our heirs.

But Sen. Harry Reid must face the voters next year, so the Senate majority leader is right where conservatives want him. Say what? Read on.

Fastidious Harry is in conservatives’ crosshairs … if Republicans field a good candidate, raise moola and work their tails off.

Rep. Dean Heller, Nevada’s lone GOP House member, won’t take the senator on despite Reid’s lackluster showing in Nevada polls. Talk is turning to Sue Lowden, state Republican Party chair. Maybe she makes sense, but who knows yet?

A Las Vegas Republican with a stint in the state Senate behind her, she has skills of a modern politician (TV/PR savvy, etc.). It will be a while before we learn whether she has a clear field among Republicans.

But it is clear, for various reasons, that Harry is no shoo-in. For instance, Reid plays the congressional game of bring home the bacon while his appropriations record for Nevada actually isn’t all that stellar.

The senator—who this year won the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) organization’s PIG-O-SAURUS Award in a hyper-critical report—is vulnerable both for his spending ways and for ineffectiveness regarding appropriations for his home state.

Reid’s hands are on millions for Nevada in early 2009 pork (earmarked money) legislation totaling $19.6 billion nationally. As leader, in fact, his hands are on all that money. He gets credit/blame for billions in the stimulus pig-out, as well.

Reid may brag about bringing federal money to Nevada, yet any smart GOP Senate candidate can and will point out that some of it is questionable (and all of it is deficit) spending. Ditto for stimulus money, billions in bacon that has yet to save ours.

Still, $19 billion in earmarks is puny pork compared with the overall budget. In that deficit-ridden blueprint, Reid’s long-term record for Nevada isn’t up to snuff.

The Tax Foundation reports that for the latest year it tracked federal spending per tax dollar, Nevada got stiffed, as usual. In 2005, Nevada got 65 cents back for each buck sent to the treasury. The state ranked 49th and beat only New Jersey.

So Reid brought home small slabs of bacon while enabling other states to hog bigger slices of the budget pie.

As leader, Reid’s head is above the crowd, and his future hinges in part on President Obama’s popularity and the Democrats’ perceived success at ending the recession.

In 1950, Sen. Scott Lucas was majority leader and a Democrat from Illinois. That associated him with the unpopular President Harry Truman, and Lucas lost to a Republican named Everett Dirksen. Tom Daschle served as both Senate majority and minority leader. The Democrat from South Dakota lost in 2004 to the GOP’s John Thune.

Democrat Howard Cannon didn’t make Senate majority leader but was an upper chamber power from Las Vegas and a World War II hero, whose Senate career ended 27 years ago. Mayer Jacob “Chic” Hecht, who cut his political teeth in Nevada’s legislature, upset Cannon in 1982.

Don’t get me wrong. Beating Reid won’t be easy. The GOP must field a flawless candidate and hammer Reid. The guy is vulnerable, but no patsy, and his growing campaign war chest already is at $7.3 million.

Reid my lips: Fastidious Harry won’t make your day by shooting himself in the foot or sticking that foot in his mouth.