Did somebody slip Harry Reid a cup of courage? Or did he see some new polling data? Honestly I could care less either way because at least he is now on the right side of the GITMO issue.
Reid taped a segment of Ralston's program, Face to Face:Reid, who has been criticized for his contradictory positions on Guantanamo Bay, said some prisoners will be put in maximum security prisons on U.S. soil, emphasizing the safety of those facilities:
"A maximum security prison in the United States, there has never been a single escape."
JR: "You think eventually the plan is going to be to put them in maximum security prisons here in this country, correct?"
"I think some. Keep in mind, Jon, there's so many different issues. There's no question that a number of these people who are there are not guilty of anything. The Uighurs, these are a group of Muslim Chinese who are guilty of nothing. They were arrested, put in there. They are there. They are doing nothing. We're going to have to find someplace to put them. We can't send them back to China. Should they go into a maximum security prison? Probably not."
The problem of course is that this is almost a complete 180 degree turn from what Harry Reid had to say just a week ago. And now according to a Rasmussen Poll* released to day public opinion has wildly shifted against closing GITMO and or housing detainees in American supermax jails. Words are powerful things, especially words that end up getting twisted by the other side into talking points for political gain. But even worse when you instead just repeat talking points the other side has already put out.
The longer Harry Reid is installed as Majority Leader, the more likely Democrats will pull defeat from the jaws of victory IMHO. I know he is supposedly shaking in his boots because of some yet to be established reelection challenge he will be facing from Republicans. But if he can't pull his head out of his ass long enough to realize how much he will hurt the effort to close GITMO by parroting Republican talking points, then he needs to be replaced immediately. As it stands its going to be hard to get this story back in the box and public opinion back on our side when it comes to closing GITMO and I have absolutely no confidence that Harry Reid is the person who can make that happen. You combine that with his aversion to taking the GOP on when it gives even the slightest hint of a filibuster and you have the recipe for EPIC FAIL
I think what is most appalling about Harry Reid's flip flop on GITMO is that there was reporting earlier today that he opposed President Obama last week on the issue just so he wouldn't be seen as a "liberal" back in Nevada. Now I am not the type of person who thinks we need litmus tests for Democrats. I am a pragmatic person and I understand that Barney Frank probably couldn't win a Senate race in Nebraska and that Dennis Kucinich probably couldn't win state wide in North Carolina. So there has to be some diversity there if we want to dominate elections nationwide.
HOWEVER I do believe that at its core the Democratic Party should hold to liberal and progressive policies. It has to mean something to be a member of a political party and even more so to be an elected official of a party. Otherwise why have a party in the first place? So basically the Majority Leader of a party that should be proud of its liberal and progressive fundamentals is instead running from the characterization. How does that make sense? When was the last time a Republican ran from the charge of being too conservative? Hell they will turn around and tell you that instead they aren't conservative enough. But here is Harry Reid offering up the weak sauce just so he doesn't look liberal.
What a joke.
But I have to say that its not just Reid. We have to take note that Reid had a easier time getting over Democratic votes to go against funding the closing of GITMO than he did to get votes for the stimulus bill and than he probably will to get votes for universal healthcare. But Harry Reid is still the ringleader.
I don't envy Harry Reid's position but I am not concerned with sob stories either. I am concerned with getting shit done and right now Harry Reid is doing more hurting than helping on that front if you ask me. So maybe its time to call for him to step down and allow some new blood to take over. I am partial to Dick Durbin because he seems like a straight shooter who is just tough enough to intimidate Republicans and who has been around just long enough to garner the respect of the Democratic Caucus. But I am open to suggestions. Who else should be up for Harry Reid's position and why? Whom do you think could push through progressive policies in the Senate? And who do you think would be strong enough to stand up to President Obama when we really need them to and not just for political posturing?
*Normally I would never ever in a gazillion years link to a Rasmussen Poll because they are wingnutted out on a regular basis with polling questions that would make FoxNews blush. However this time the questions seemed legit so I felt that there was a least some measure of legitimacy attached to their numbers.