Sell ’em out, Harry

It’s a slow–brewing anger, frustration born of impotence maturing into rage. You, as Americans, did your job. You’ve done your job for years, anti-war, anti-corporate, anti-theocracy, pro-responsible-spending, pro-civil rights, pro-competence, pro-little guy. You supported Barack Obama; hell, against all odds, you got a liberal black man elected to this country’s highest office.

But under this so-called “liberal” administration, you’ve watched Harry Reid turn and run from any conservative nutjob who threatened to filibuster any “liberal” legislation. He has killed through compromise many legitimate reforms to our laws or modified them so they in fact punish the people they were supposed to help. One example of that was the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which was supposed to protect consumers from predatory actions from credit companies and banks. Harry Reid gave the credit companies until February 2010 to increase rates and decrease credit limits, which they have done. Oh, they promised not to, says Reid. So disillusioned voters get to choose between “Harry Reid is naïve” or “Harry Reid is disingenuous.”

And now, you’ve watched legitimate health-care reform go from “Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all,” as so succinctly recounted the issue.

There is no tenure system for senators, and as Tom Daschle showed in the 2004 South Dakota Senate race, a leadership role in national matters can be as much a target as a resumé bullet point. Reid’s role in the castration of health-care reform, and his refusal to use the Senate’s own rules regarding filibuster to ensure a better health-care system for all Americans has raised a question in a lot of homes around this country: Would robust health-care reform have happened for this country had Harry Reid not been the senior senator from Nevada and majority leader?

Health-care reform was a lynchpin reason many voted for President Obama. We were sick and tired of Republican leadership giving away our lives and health to the insurance companies. Too many of our friends were without health insurance because of its cost. Too many seniors—and Nevada is a Mecca of seniors—have made a choice between medicine and food because the GOP was too addicted to drug money and refused to open up the American market to less expensive medicine.

Tom Daschle lost that 2004 election by 4,508 votes. In 1998, Harry Reid only won the Senate race against John Ensign by 428 votes. True, he got 61 percent of the vote in 2004—against Richard Ziser. Sen. Reid needs to contemplate this while the House and Senate health-reform bills are reconciled. If he’s lost hometown supporters—and this issue is a dealbreaker for many Nevadans—his home state constituents may go from having the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate to having the least senior member of a minority party carrying more senior members’ water.