Harry Reid, attack dog

The bespectacled Majority Leader has said some truly vicious things about Mitt Romney, including the unsubstantiated charged that he has not paid any taxes.

But is this really out of character for him? One would think that congressional leaders should be above this kind of grubby, gutter-like politics -- it certainly used to be the case. Even Nancy Pelosi, as partisan a leader as they come, has largely refrained from the kinds of spurious charges that Reid has leveled at Romney.

But as you can imagine, the Democratic bomb throwers are loving it.

The Hill:

I do think that Harry is a fearless leader," said former Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.). "I think Nancy is totally focused now on raising the money and working her base to make her party competitive in the face of super-PACs. Unfortunately people think of her as a polarizing figure and she's probably not doing anything to aid or abet this [perception]."

It's a reprise of Reid's tactics in the 2008 election, when he called Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the GOP nominee, "erratic" and declared he did not have the temperament to be president.

Reid famously announced that year he could not stand McCain, a long-time colleague. It was a shocking statement in the clubby Senate.

Democrats say they are grateful to have a leader who is playing tough with Republicans while admitting it may color Reid's reputation in the future.

Republicans are fuming over Reid's rhetoric, which has been unusually harsh for a congressional leader. They say it is a breach of Senate decorum.

Independent political experts say Reid has pushed the envelope but note that Republicans deserve blame as well for escalating partisan tensions.      

Reid this week claimed Romney did not pay federal taxes for ten years. He said he was informed by a Bain investor who called his office.    

Reid went further to slam Romney for only releasing one year of tax returns, drawing a contrast with Romney's father, George, who released 12 years of returns while running for president in 1968.

"His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son," Reid told The Huffington Post.

The statement drew an angry rebuke from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who said, "the majority leader has more important things to do than use the Senate as a forum for his baseless accusations.

"Frankly, it's beneath the dignity of his office," he added.

Actually, Reid doesn't have anything better to do. He hasn't produced a budget for 3 years, nor has he acted on a variety of bills that might get the stalled economy off the schnide.

So perhaps the reason Reid has turned into a Democratic attack dog is because he's bored. I imagine if Romney is elected president, Reid will be as busy as he ever has been.

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