The Harry Reid story

The skill of Sen. Reid leading Senate Democrats from 45 seats before 2006 to 60 seats after 2008 was one of the great political achievements of our times.

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The strategies of Sen. Reid as one of the prime architects of the great change elections of 2006 and 2008 created a historic footprint that helped make possible the election of President Barack Obama.

Harry Reid’s belief in the goodness of the American people, whom he argued would elect our first black president, was a good, right and noble vision of America today.

Did Reid blunder in his recently reported comments? Clearly. Apology required, offered, accepted. Those who refuse to accept Reid’s apology are shedding crocodile tears. They’re partisans who spend their careers excusing injustices and wrongs that Harry Reid has spent his career fighting against.

When some said America was not ready for a black president, Reid knew better and urged Obama to run.

While he was leading Senate Democrats from 45 to 60 seats between 2006 and 2008, Reid was working behind the scenes to make the great dream come true. Others with less faith than Reid in the good will of the nation said the great dream would only bring a great debacle. They were wrong. Reid was right.

Is Harry Reid an angel? No. Do I wish he was as eloquent as JFK? Sure. Should he choose his words more carefully? Obviously. But in a town of vanity players and self-promoters who claim credit for what others have done, Harry Reid gets big things done. Usually the right things.

There is a larger issue in the Harry Reid story. I first took note of Reid when he was attacked for harshly criticizing former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was the toast of the town on Wall Street and in Washington, while his policies promoted great unfairness and economic disasters we are still paying for today. Greenspan was wrong. Reid was right.

The great fault line in American politics is not race, gender, nationality, origin or religion. It is economic injustice that is imposed by the few, who profit from this injustice that imposes suffering on the many.

Harry Reid has always known that it is wrong when so many are jobless, while others so egregiously profit from greed, and when so many are foreclosed upon while others so egregiously profit by speculating with the instruments of mortgage abuses, rip-offs and frauds.

Men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, workers in every walk of life and those who hunger for work when so many are jobless should all be united across the barriers of race, gender, religion, origin and nationality.

This is the story of 2006 and 2008. This is the story of Obama and Pelosi and Reid. This is the fight that Democrats should wage relentlessly. This is the battle that Harry Reid, with all his rhetorical imperfections, has fought for a career, a lifetime and a generation.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.