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Friday, July 29, 2011

Harry Reid's claim that a "bipartisan majority" voted against the Boehner bill is an intentional fraud

Harry Reid, United States Senator from Nevada, Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader, lied through his teeth to the American public tonight on national television. (Otherwise, why bother?)

The "revised Boehner bill" passed today by the House was immediately tabled by the Senate — without debate, without opportunity for amendment or improvement — on a vote of 59 to 41.

Reid immediately appeared before the television cameras, and the first words out of his mouth were: "Tonight a bipartisan majority in the Senate rejected Boehner's short-term plan."

So who who were the six members of the GOP in this "bipartisan majority"? Perhaps it was Scott Brown from Massachusetts, or maybe Susan Collins or Olympia Snow from Maine? Listening to the vote totals and then to Reid's smug claim of bipartisan support, I ground my teeth, as did doubtless many thousands of other conservatives, wondering who the RINOs would turn out to be this time.

But nope. Shame on me for putting my tooth enamel at risk based upon Harry Reid's basic honesty or the lack thereof. According to Josiah Ryan and Alexander Bolton of TheHill.com:

Six Republicans [who] joined Democrats to table the Boehner resolution were Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), and David Vitter (La.).

I've added hyperlinks to five of those names that lead to the respective senators' official web pages; I'm confident that by tomorrow I'll have a similar link for Sen. Hatch, but he's a bit slower in explaining his vote in his website.

The plain truth — known to Harry Reid and every U.S. Senator and every reporter and every American who's been following the details of this struggle closely — is that every one of these six GOP senators voted against the Boehner bill because they believed it did not adequately address the nation's long-term spending problem. Not one of these GOP senators was part of a "bipartisan majority" who agreed with Harry Reid and the Dems on anything of substance. Rather, these are the six senators who were to the right of Boehner, the House majority, and every other Republican in the Senate.

But Harry Reid wants the tens of millions of Americans who don't bother to look up who voted how — much less to look up the positions of each of the six GOP senators who voted against the Boehner bill — to believe that a bipartisan majority of the Senate believes the Boehner bill went too far and was too drastic. He claimed as a matter of objective, historical fact that his side had a "bipartisan majority."

That's fraud. That's an indefensible lie, told for the patent and sorry purpose of deceiving people who don't know better, or who want to be deceived (categories that overlap substantially with each other and, alas, with Democratic voters).

And that's Democratic Party politics in the 21st Century, friends and neighbors. If you're a Democrat, that's your party's representative, and you need to own him along with Obama and Pelosi:

Harry Reid. Shameless liar. And really, really bad at it.

If he weren't so ineffectual, he'd be a national tragedy, instead of just a national farce.

(P.S.: That phone call (at 0:35 in the clip) might just have been God calling Sen. Reid. He's maybe left Sen. Reid a voicemail — something including the words "lightning bolt" and "once too often." Certainly that would explain Sen. Schumer's snatching and hurling the phone away after merely glancing at the caller ID.)

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UPDATE (Fri Jul 29 @ 10:40pm): The Salt Lake Tribune confirms my interpretation of Hatch's vote. He's to the right of Boehner, not to Boehner's left and in Reid's camp.

Posted by Beldar at 09:18 PM in Budget/economics, Congress, Politics (2011) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Andrew Weisblatt made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 6:37:55 AM | Permalink

Bill - please look at the video you posted. Reid doesn't attribute reasons for the bi-partisan support of the motion to table. He simply states that it was rejected by a bipartisan majority - which it was. You are adding to what he actually said what you think he means. I encourage every one of your readers to please take the time to review the actual clip and let me know their thoughts. Does Reid lie in this clip about the motivations of the Republicans who voted to table or is he simply saying that the bill was rejected by a bipartisan majority?

(2) Gary Bonner made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 10:25:21 AM | Permalink

It was pretty clear that Reid was cynically using the protest vote as a sign that the Republicans "agreed" with the majority. Only Harry Reid can come off that "greasy" in turning a simple fact into a spinning lie. Reid’s statement must be put into context with the over the edge hyperbole we've witnessed from the Left. Reid's comment implying "broad support" fits right in with the Left’s lies and distortions.

The Democrats probably will send the unvarnished Reid plan back to the House in an attempt to end to the impasse. It is true that the House Republicans can't win the day. First term Representatives may have to become causalities in 2012, in the name of Tea Party purity, by voting for the Senate's offer. The momentum of the counter-revolution is at stake. The line is drawn deeply in the sand and the chasm is too wide for nimble Beltway gymnastics at this point. Whoever pledged they would take nothing less than cut, cap, and balance or any other non-traditional measure and then votes for the Senate plan is sure to face primary opposition. They may walk the plank as a result.

The key now is to make sure that Obama doesn't snare victory from the jaws of defeat. The American people are now wise to this empty suit and Democrat crowing about victory over Republicans may turn into fatal self-inflicted wounds.

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 4:27:21 PM | Permalink

Andrew, the statement would have been technically true — but still intentionally misleading — if he'd said "by a bipartisan majority vote." But that's not what he said.

Even if he had said "there was a bipartisan majority vote" instead of saying that "a bipartisan majority rejected," I know you know the legal concept -- adopted from common sense -- that a statement which omits material facts can thereby become misleading even if what is stated is literally true. That six GOP senators were not agreeing with the Dems on substance, but were instead to the right of the rest of the Republicans, is damned sure a material fact when someone's claiming a "bipartisan majority." At a minimum, Reid -- who just came from the vote -- knew that material fact, and he indisputably omitted it.

Of course the whole reason I went to the trouble to track down that clip and post it here — roughly a quarter-hour effort — was to document my quote and to encourage people to make up their own minds about it. Obviously, I have watched it. I encourage people to do so too.

But I frankly don't understand why you, as a Reid defender or at least apologist, would urge people to do that. Viewing the clip confirms that my quote in text was exactly accurate, doesn't it?

And viewing the whole clip in context makes it even more clear that Reid was attempting to mislead the public into thinking that he was speaking on behalf of a "bipartisan majority" who agree with him (Reid). Who was standing there next to him, Andrew? Which GOP senators were there to show support for Harry Reid? None, of course. This was an appearance of the three top-ranking Senate Democrats, not some ad hoc bipartisan assembly of high- and like-minded patriots from random political parties.

The truth is that this outcome wasn't bipartisan. To the contrary, it was intensely partisan, and even (on the part of the six GOP senators) hyper-partisan. The six GOP senators who voted the same way as the Dems were farther from the Dems on substance than all the rest of the GOP senators. You're too honest to argue otherwise. How can you defend or even excuse Reid for pretending otherwise in his misleading public statements?

You or I or any lawyer worth 10 cents could destroy a used car salesman on the witness stand who "told the truth" in the same Clintonian way that Reid did.

(4) Andrew Weisblatt made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 6:06:19 PM | Permalink

Bill - I don't believe that he omitted anything of substance because I don't believe he was trying to suggest that the republicans who voted to table the bill agreed with Reid's approach. He never says that they do agree with him - only that they disagree with the bill that was passed in the house. He then immediately starts talking about the Republicans conducting a filibuster and refusing to negotiate with him. That's miles away from suggesting that everyone loves his plan and there's any sort of unity behind it. Even the one person who commented above could only say that it was "pretty clear" if you consider "other comments." I think that we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one my Honorable Friend. I just do not see what you see when I listen to this clip.

(5) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 6:31:25 PM | Permalink

Then why did he go out of his way to use the word "bipartisan," Andrew?

He chose that word to deceive people. And he did.

This is part of a pattern. I can show you examples of this from every major Democratic politician every day during the last month. This is part of a broad narrative of deceit being woven by Reid, Obama, and the mainstream media. They want to convince people that "the public" does not support that which a majority of the House of Representatives supports. They want to convince gullible voters that even "reasonable" legislators from the GOP agree with them (the Dems) on these debt matters. And that's not true at all.

In fact, the House -- because its entire membership is subject to reelection each year -- more closely represents the most current thinking of most American voters. But your party has to avoid acknowledging that, and to hope desperately that they can fool enough people, or some miracle will occur, to keep them in office after 2012.

The honest thing to say would be, "Every single Republican in the Senate disagrees with me and my party, and a majority of the House disagree with me and my party, but we're going to do what we want to do despite that because we still have a majority of the Senate, and this was in fact a party-line vote."

The honest thing to say would be: "If only five people in the country changed their opinions -- Obama and any four Senate Democrats -- then this crisis would be over, the debt ceiling would be raised, and we'd have cut hundreds of billions in real spending immediately and started toward the reform of entitlements."

But expecting honesty from Reid is a waste of time.

If you think that's okay -- for politicians to deliberately deceive people -- then yes, we're going to have to agree to disagree.

(6) Ted V made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 6:41:25 PM | Permalink

Reminds me of the GOP Congressmen who said that cut cap and balance was bipartisan because a whopping five Dems voted for it. What's good for the goose...

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 6:46:07 PM | Permalink

Ted: Thanks for the comment, but your observation is completely inapt. The Dems who voted for Cut, Cap & Balance did so because they did agree with the substance of that vote — or, at least, they wanted to be on record as having agreed with it (for they knew it wouldn't pass the Senate) for purposes of mollifying conservatives who would oppose their reelection.

(8) Andrew Weisblatt made the following comment | Jul 30, 2011 10:30:17 PM | Permalink

I don't think it's okay for politicians to lie. I also don't think that the house of representatives are elected each year. I believe they serve two year terms. Even if they were elected every year and even if every single Republican represents every single member in his or her district, there are still millions and millions of Americans who do not agree with them or their approach to solving the debt issues our country faces. If the country was completely unified behind the republicans - who are clearly not even unified amoung thrmselves - there are still 193 Democrats in the house. Not all of the people that are represented by those Democrats (and the majority in the Senate and the Millions and millions of people who elected your President and mine) are stupid and ill informed. I'm sure several of them are as smart as you are and as well informed. Just because people don't necessarily agree with your view does not mean that they are ignorant or fooled. Sometimes they simply disagree. There are people with access to much better information than you have Bill who do not know "what America thinks." If you think you do, I think you're fooling yourself.

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 31, 2011 1:50:14 AM | Permalink

Andrew, I meant to say "every election," not "every year," so I cheerfully accept that correction and I'm sorry if you didn't realize that's what I meant. (I think you actually did realize that's what I meant, and you're just giving in to the temptation to razz me for an error, which is fine.)

I don't claim to speak for the American people or to know the intentions of every American. I understand that there is broad disagreement, some of it in good faith, among many Americans. I do, however, notice election results, and the result of the election in 2008 was clear, and the results of the election in 2010 was equally clear — and in an opposite direction.

On this occasion, it's the Democrats who are taking advantage of the fact that the constitution is deliberately structured to divide power between the Executive and the Congress, and within Congress, between the House and the Senate, and that the President only has to stand for re-election after four years, and that Senators only have to stand for re-election after six. I'm not complaining about those structural features: If you've read other of my posts, which I flatter myself to think that you have, you know I've repeatedly said that conservatives (or frankly, anyone who reveres the Constitution) ought to celebrate that structure. Right now, it's the Republicans who are eager for the next election, and Dems who are hiding behind those structural protections, but I don't even have a problem with that.

None of this excuses Harry Reid trying to deceive people into thinking that he's part of, and indeed leading and speaking for, a "bipartisan majority." He's speaking, without total credibility, for exactly 53 Senate Democrats who on this particular vote obeyed party discipline. And he's lying whenever he claims, as he did yesterday, to speak for more than those 53 Democrats.

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