This just about drives me up the wall. Threatening to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again, Minority Leader Harry Reid loses his nerve and apologizes to Senate Republicans for daring to insinuate they’ve been on the make. “The release [since edited down], titled, ‘Republicans cannot be trusted to end the culture of corruption,’ triggered sharp complaints from GOP officials, who said it violated Senate decorum and brought campaign-style mudslinging into the Capitol.” Aw, shucks. Really? As the WP pointed out: “As partisan attacks go, the statement was hardly the most scathing seen on Capitol Hill lately.“
If anything, the problem with this release is that it used a blunderbuss when it should’ve used a stiletto — It’s clear somebody on Reid’s staff just spent a day cutting-and-pasting old DNC talking points. The George Allen noose anecdote or Inhofe-on-Global-Warming, for example — both are reprehensible, but both have nothing to do with Abramoff-style corruption. (While I’m at it, the line “I thought I’d seen the last of corruption when I helped clean up Las Vegas thirty years ago” is an unbelievable groaner. I know you faced down car bombs and all, but really, Vegas is hardly a beacon of purity nowadays.)
That being said, these charges, however off-topic, are true and in the public record, so what’s the problem? And when was the last time you heard Senate Republicans apologize for anything? Catkiller Frist owes us at least two sorrys by this point, and that’s right off the top of my head. For Pete’s sake, Sen. Reid, you’re supposed to be our leader. Start acting like it. At the very least, don’t even bother posting tough-minded press releases if you feel you’re going to have to disavow them within 48 hours. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, then pass the reins to someone else.