- Posted October 3, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
'Why Would We Want to Do That?'
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Anyone being objective knows that the Republican Party has had a problem with messaging for the past few years. It is not necessarily the message which the GOP is trying to present, but rather it is that the party's candidates, spokespersons and elected officials seem to be ignorant of how to communicate that message in a winning way.
This has been evident in the past couple of national elections. But even in local elections within Congressional Districts and Senate races, Republicans have had a habit of saying the wrong thing, the wrong way. It has cost the party greatly.
Today the shoe is on the other foot.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat and Senior Senator from Nevada, stepped in it. Actually he didn't just step in it, but ground his boots into it and swirled it around for good measure.
It all happened when CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash questioned Reid earlier in the afternoon before the unexpected meeting between President Barack Obama and leadership of both parties in Congress at the White House. Dash was asking questions about how Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives were going about a strategy of getting the government back to working by passing piecemeal legislation to fund individual agencies and functions. Dash wanted to know if Reid would allow a Senate vote and vote himself for such legislation.
It became testy when Dash became specific and asked Reid if the Senate would follow the lead of the House and vote to fund the NIH (National Institute of Health). At issue in particular was opening the doors to allow children with cancer to receive treatment and participate in test trials.
Reid lost it and the messaging war when he angrily answered a follow-up by Dash when she asked him if he would vote for the NIH funding if it meant one child might be helped.
"Why, why, why would we want to do that?"
Yes, I know the Senator didn't mean it to come across the way it did. Yes, I know that Reid cares about the lives of American children. Yes, I know Reid had more to say than that. But it is those nine words which will haunt the Majority Leader.
Reid is one of the three most powerful persons in the US of A along with President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
For Reid to lose his temper, as the exchange and video clearly shows (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/02/reid-gets-fiery-over-question-about-shutdowns-effect-on-clinical-trials-for-kids/?hpt=po_t1), ranks right up there with those OOPs! moments and dumb speak that one usually associates with GOP candidates when talking about women's issues and rape.
Reid, as the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate and able to decide what legislation comes up for a vote by his fellow Senators or languish in the in-box, came across as living up to the moniker which I have given him over the last three years - Obstructor-in-Chief.
Reid sets the tone and is, next to the President and Vice President Joe Biden, the voice of the Democratic Party.
This was not his finest hour and one which may cost him and his fellow Democrats dearly as this standoff over a continuing resolution to fully fund the government wears on. Reid's outburst and tone, indicating a lack of sympathy and an unwillingness to save the life of a child with cancer, will be used by Republicans to deny Reid the higher ground as the budget war continues.
From the Cornfield, we expect more from our senior elected officials. A man in the position Reid is in should know better than to engage his mouth before his brain is in gear.