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Harry Reid: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis

Andrew Sullivan excoriates Harry Reid:

I was arguing last night with someone about Harry Reid. Sharron Angle is a nutcase, obviously. But if I were a Nevadan and had the vote (nearly there), I really don't think I could vote for Harry Reid.
He is everything I hate about Democrats: incapable of making an argument, a face so weak it changes depending on the way the wind is blowing, a voice so sad you think he's a funeral director, a man whose appareance on television has never evinced any reaction from me but "where's the remote?" I just couldn't pull the lever for the guy. Sorry. So I won't be surprised if the nutjob wins. And a tiny part of me will feel a pulse of intense pleasure to see him go down.

Kevin Drum counters:

Harry Reid is an inside player, not a Sarah Palinesque bomb thrower. He's no good on TV. But guess what? Against monumental odds, he played the inside game pretty decently this term, shepherding a stimulus bill, a healthcare reform bill, and a financial reform bill through the Senate. And to do it, he needed to figure out how to deal with prima donnas like Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Scott Brown, and Olympia Snowe without losing his sanity. These are some of the most infuriating, self-regarding people on the planet. Could you do it? I know I couldn't. Hell, I probably would have taken a swing at Lieberman on the Senate floor around September of last year.

Some how I agree with both of them. (Except for Sullivan's bit about not voting for him against Angle.) I've had one chance to interact with Reid, in an off-the-record setting, and I was monumentally unimpressed. And even in public he habitually says wildly stupid things, like referring to Chris Coons as his "pet."

Yet somehow, as Drum points out, he managed to herd 60 cats in the Senate when many of us long ago would have gouged our eyes out in frustration. How does he do it? Is sheer incomprehension of the cowardice and crassness surrounding him part of his secret? I don't know.