Skip to comments.Reid faces task of mending fences with GOP after campaign attacks
Posted on 11/24/2012 5:57:42 AM PST by Libloather
Reid faces task of mending fences with GOP after campaign attacks
By Alexander Bolton - 11/24/12 06:00 AM ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) infuriated Republicans during the campaign with his harsh partisan attacks and now faces the delicate task of mending his relationship with the GOP.
Some Republicans say Reid poisoned his relationship with their party by waging controversial attacks against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. They were most angered by Reids charge that Romney had not paid taxes in ten years, attributing the information to an anonymous source.
"I do think he lost more credibility with Republicans because of his aggressive comments during the campaign, said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist and former leadership aide who served in the Senate and House.
The make-up of the Senate is almost the same and I think Sen. Reid is likely to produce the same type of gridlock he did before because of his unusually partisan stance," Bonjean added.
Reid said Romney, a fellow Mormon, sullied their shared faith after the GOP nominee told a group of donors that 47 percent of Americans suffered from a sense of victimhood and mooched off the government. Reid declared in the closing days of the campaign that Senate Democrats would not work with Romney to pass his severely conservative agenda.
But sources who know the Democratic leader, a former amateur boxer, say its a classic case of Reid being Reid. He punches hard during the campaign but is willing to pivot to constructive bipartisan relationships after Election Day, just as fighter is willing to embrace his opponent after the final bell.
Sen. Reid knows as well as anyone theres a time for politics and a time for governing, said Rodell Mollineau, a former senior aide to Reid. The time for politics has passed. First and foremost, Sen. Reid cares about governing. So now that the election is over, he would want to find a consensus to move things forward.
Reid immediately extended a peace offering to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) after Democrats picked up Senate seats.
I look at the challenges that we have ahead of us and I reach out to my Republican colleagues in the Senate and the House. Lets come together. We know what the issues are, lets solve them, he told a boisterous audience and stand of television cameras packing the ballroom of the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel on Election Night.
The following day, Reid reiterated his offer and made an overture to his home-state colleague, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), another target of his campaign barbs. During Hellers race against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Reid accused his colleague of a failure in leadership for not rounding up GOP votes for an online poker bill.
Heller said during the campaign he often felt like he was running against Berkley and Reid, who mobilized his state network against the Republican.
The day after the election, however, Reid warmly praised Heller as a longtime friend.
Dean Heller and I have been friends for 25 years, Reid said, recalling Hellers role as Nevada secretary of state when Reid almost lost his seat in 1998 in a race decided by a recount. He was so helpful. I have affection for Dean Heller. I like him a lot. Well be able to work together.
Reid also formed a non-aggression pact with former Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who almost defeated him in 1998, after Ensign won election to the Senate. Their staffs used to hold joint holiday receptions in the Mansfield Room.
Reid said he had a pleasant conversation with Boehner after Election Day.
I have a fine relationship with him. My staff works well with his staff, he said.
The relationship was much less cordial before the election, especially in 2011, when Reid criticized Boehner for threatening to let the debt ceiling expire and letting the House take a weekend off as their negotiations neared a climax.
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who served 18 years with Reid in the Senate, predicted Reids partisan rhetoric would not damage negotiations with Republicans on avoiding the "fiscal cliff."
"Not at all," Gregg said. "We have what I call a once-every-four-year period where the music stops and everyone has their portfolio of power. Governing comes first and politics comes second. The window lasts for about eight months. All the payers involved played aggressively in political roles. They have to change hats and govern. Harry Reid is very capable of doing that."
Reids colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has been at the forefront of efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement on tax reform, also said he is not concerned.
Sen. Reid has a long history of negotiating these agreements. Elections are in effect renewals. Gov. Romney didnt win the election so hes not at the table, Wyden said.
One GOP strategist said the pressure to get a deficit-reduction deal is too high to let bitter feelings left over from the campaign get in the way. Memories of Reids harsh attacks could complicate progress on other issues.
When theres less pressure to get a deal done, some of the stuff he pulled on the campaign trail against Romney could come back to haunt him, said Republican strategist Ford OConnell. Somewhere down the line Republicans may pick a time to get even with Harry Reid because he went off the reservation on some of that stuff. In politics, what goes around comes around.
A senior Democratic aide, however, said it would be foolish for Republicans to contemplate retaliation.
Reid has outflanked and outsmarted Republicans again and again - they simply can't figure out how to beat him. But at the end of the day, he is and has always been a dealmaker, the aide said. Republicans would be wise to stop playing Lucy with the football, give up on trying to beat him, and instead seek to work with him to get the best deal possible.
Mitt Romneys fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his severely conservative agenda is laughable, Reid said in a statement. In fact, Mitt Romneys Tea Party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate.
No way Reid will try to “mend fences” with republicans. Nasty little weasel. He can’t live forever.
I don't know whether making a political statement "sullies" a faith, but I do know that Reid clearly violated the ninth commandment "thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" with his tax charges against Romney. In fact, he's made a career of it.
Is this from The Onion?
I don’t want the republicans to work with this slimeball or any socialist democrat. Call them out every day for exactly what they are.
One too many shots to the head, Harry?
I hope Romney sets aside a few million to lay a little retribution on Reid’s head . Some of those high tech billboards with his pic and scrolling through his lies, distrotions and outright crimes, posted in prominent places in Washington DC and Nevada would be a start. He can start with Reid’s comments about Obama:”He [Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ “ Halperin and Heilemann say.
There’s no need for Reid to act in a conciliatory manner, he knows the GOP is a bunch of sissy’s and will cave to Barry’s directives.
Why should Reid try to mend fences.
He has the majority, he has the Senate by the balls. The Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell is soft and pliable, and is no danger to anything Reid wants to do/
As for Boehner he is even softer than McConnell, and certainly he and Reid have a good relationship, because Boehner isn’t going to fight for anything. Boehner may whine and cry a bit , but when it comes down to the Nitty Gritty, he will fold like a cheap suit.
Reid is partisan because they let him get aay with it, if once in a while they pulled his chain he would straighten up fast, but they don’t, they just whine and back off.
If we had one Republican who would speak up and continue speaking up Republicans would gain strength. The Republican strength died when Gingrich left. No one has taken his place.
Reid can’t get a simple budget in 4 years so little should be expected of him.
“Hey GOP.... If you had a pair, You would tell Reid to go f@#k himself....”
Hey US Senators, why doesn’t a man amongst you go and bitch slap lil’ Harry til he pouts. I’ll pay. What do you say John?
There is/was Sarah Palin; but Democan and Republicrats together did a number on her. Talk about “War on Women”.
If the Republicans were smart, they would nominate Mitt Romney for Speaker of the House. He has the knowledge, the facts and the issues on his side. He could beat Reid one-on-one quite convincingly. We know from the debates how he holds up against Obama. This would be a smart move.
Why would Reid care about working with Republicans? He knows he has the press on his side--to hell with Republicans, who needs them?
I believe Allen West could have been a great leader but voter fraud made sure they didn’t happen.