Are you sure there isn’t some way to talk Harry into running for re-election?
Nevada will be a barren, mirthless desert without Harry Reid’s unpredictable and always outrageous pronouncements, provocations, proposals and pontifications. He should come with a warning label: Past performance is no predictor of future results.
Harry provides a perpetual game of rhetorical twister. You never know where his hand, foot or mouth will end up — though likely all in the same place. His comedic forte is misdirection. You never know what he will say next.
Why, just this past week he took to the floor of the Senate to lambaste his former allies at the National Rifle Association.
“Now, the NRA and its leadership are committed to a radical agenda that allows criminals and mentally ill Americans to access guns to commit these terrible acts,” Reid said.
Reid never lets the facts get in the way of a good rant, such as the fact a plan — endorsed by the NRA — was offered in August to improve the national database of mental health records, because people with mental health problems have purchased guns due to poor record keeping. That proposal languishes.
In 2012, the same Harry Reid spoke at the opening of a firing range in northern Clark County claiming he was the one who secured the land for the park and $60 million in funding. He talked about carrying a gun as a Capitol police officer and while a member of the state gaming commission. He also rambled nostalgically about shooting a rabbit with a .22 when he was a child in Searchlight and how his grandmother cooked it — this one always cracks me up, as it did his audience at the time. He said it was an old, mangy, all-sinew-and-bone jackrabbit. Yeah, right, grandma told him she cooked it.
Reid’s comic sidekick that day was Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, who praised Reid. “I’ll tell you he’s a true champion of the Second Amendment back in Washington,” he said.
Perhaps that was true at one time. Reid actually voted in 2005 for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which limited the ability of trial lawyers to sue gun makers and dealers for the “harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or ammunition products that function as designed and intended.”
Reid comes down squarely on both sides of the product liability issue, especially if his self-interest is involved.
Just 10 years earlier Reid stood on the floor of the Senate and argued for 20 minutes against a bill that would have reformed product liability law and capped lawsuit damages that drive up the cost of all manner of goods.
“In the area of products liability, I pause to think what would happen if manufacturers, especially big business, did not have to worry about their products being safe,” Reid passionately argued. The bill passed but Clinton vetoed it.
Reid and his leadership PAC have raked in $4 million from trial lawyers during the past six years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That might explain the passion … or was it a premonition?
This past week Reid and his wife filed a product liability lawsuit against the maker of an elastic exercise band he was using in his Henderson home on New Year’s Day when he slipped and crashed into a cabinet.
“While in use, the TheraBand broke or slipped out of Mr. Reid’s hand, causing him to spin around and strike his face on a cabinet,” the suit says.
Wait a minute. This is a product liability case and Reid can’t say whether it broke or slipped? Isn’t that a key element of the case? Is the band in two pieces or not?
Reid, 75, at first told reporters the band broke but later changed his story, saying the band slipped. Now he wants it both ways. That’s funny.
Reid’s suit says he and his wife sustained more than $50,000 in damages — including broken ribs and face bones, disfigurement, bruising, a concussion, loss of vision in his right eye and a loss of consortium.
Reid, who has an estimated net worth of $10 million, argues the maker of the band did not include warnings about potential accidents — particularly for the elderly.
Maybe there should be background checks before one can buy an elastic exercise band to make sure the buyer is mentally and physically capable of using such a dangerous product as it was “designed and intended.”
Harry is such a card.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.