Harry Reid is Giving Me An Ice Cream Headache (Redux).

Worst Senate Majority Leader Ever is apparently also the Worst Debater Ever:

Why Harry Reid agreed to have a debate with Sharron Angle is a bit of a mystery to me. If your campaign is based on portraying your opponent as loony, then why give that opponent a chance to look reasonable? Lyndon Johnson never debated Barry Goldwater. Then again, I’m no political strategist. And neither, I’ve come to see, is Harry Reid. So let’s focus on what matters now: that a debate was held in Nevada last night between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican challenger Sharron Angle. And its upshot was—sorry, folks—that Angle improved her chances. 

I’m not suggesting that Sharron Angle, having been granted the opportunity to look reasonable, looked reasonable. On the contrary, she was very much herself—smiling maniacally in her crimson suit and hurling out bizarre fictions. But she looked reasonable enough. Lies about policy don’t really hurt you in a debate, especially when they’re voiced with conviction. What hurts you is looking evasive and squishy. Sharron Angle provided the lies. Harry Reid provided the squish.

Be sure to read the rest, assuming your desk can handle making a repeatative up-close-and-personal acquaintance with your forehead.  Seriously, if ones get one’s ass handed to them by Sharron freakin’ Angle and her tinfoil-swaddled Tea Party boilerplate, it’s time to reconsider one’s career as a public official.

Last graph nails it:

Anyway, the biggest problem wasn’t that Harry Reid is a bad debater, though that he clearly is. The trouble was that Reid faced an opponent of far stronger beliefs and far fewer scruples. In an appraisal of the rambling style of George Bush the Elder, Michael Kinsley once speculated on the relationship between convictions and manner of speaking. “A man anchored in true beliefs of some sort not only would be more articulate in expressing those beliefs,” wrote Kinsley. “He would make a better liar, too.” This was why “Ronald Reagan, a man of a few, clear, rock-hard beliefs, was a brilliant liar.” Harry Reid basically offered the truth, but with little conviction or coherence. Sharron Angle offered conviction and coherence, but with very little truth. You might prefer the former type of salesperson, but which one makes the sale?

Bottom line: voters will line up behind someone who can at least fake a coherent, consistant message, bulwarked by strong convictions. So why can’t Democrats harness the strength of supposedly genuine conviction into electoral gain? Because, dear readers, over the years the Democratic leadership has continually misappropriated cowardly pragmatism (ie, scurry from the dreaded ‘liberal’ tag as if it were the new ‘n*gger’).


Whatever one says about Obama’s tenure two years in, at least in 2008 his campaign team crafted a clear, coherent message, stuck to it, and wasn’t afraid to have their candidate believe in something resembling liberalism (even though some might argue that stance proved to be Reaganesque in the Kinsley sense of the term, ie, bullshit). C’mon, kids — isn’t it about time you gave the American people some credit and stood up for your beliefs, even if the body politic’s support for GOP-friendly policies that work against their interest belies bestowment of the benefit of the doubt?

Update: Perspective: Lance Mannion can has it (h/t Kevin Hayden via Facebook):

At one point, NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted, “Angle didn’t really explain very well how eliminating Dept. of Education would work.”

But Angle doesn’t have to explain.  She doesn’t have to explain anything.  All she has to do is show her potential voters she’s as incoherently angry at everything and everybody they hate as they are.  This is the year of Republican Revenge and all they want is to bring the temple crashing down around their ears in order to enjoy the sight of their enemies being crushed in the rubble.  That anger is what’s bringing them out to vote.

Reid, on the other hand, like too many Democrats, apparently thinks that all that’s needed to bring out his voters is their sense of civic responsibility, which is why he puts so much effort into reminding people of their second least favorite high school social studies teacher, the one who couldn’t bring himself to get mad at students for not paying attention because he bored himself too.

Of course, it is our civic responsibility, not just those of us living in Nevada, but all of us in every state to get out there and vote against those who want to pull down the temple for the sheer satisfying mean spite of it.

The object is not to save Harry Reid or even Russ Feingold, who deserves to be saved.  The object is to save ourselves and everybody, including Republicans, from the likes of Sharron Angle.


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