Senate leader calls House speaker a dictator - Macleans.ca

Senate leader calls House speaker a dictator

Reid’s no stranger to the D-word

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As he stood to speak this morning, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have done well to remember this incident.

Reid expressed regret almost immediately for those January 2011 remarks about former Chinese president Hu Jintao. “I am going to go back to Washington tomorrow and meet with the President of China. He is a dictator,” Reid said at the time. “He can do a lot of things through the form of government they have. Maybe I shouldn’t have said dictator.” Emphasis mine.

If Reid had recalled that gaffe, he might not have said what he said this morning. But in the event, he said what he said.

Nevada’s senior senator lashed out at House Speaker John Boehner, the head Republican spokesman during the so-called “fiscal cliff” crisis currently confusing Washington D.C.’s leading lights. Reid castigated Boehner for not having called the House back into session to hammer out a deal—or at least make an attempt at doing so.

Only Boehner stood in the way of the House reconvening and getting to work, Reid said. Because its congressmen aren’t able to get back to work, Reid could only conclude the chamber is “being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker.” Emphasis mine.

Reid’s remarks caught CNN’s Dana Bash by surprise. “I’m a little bit surprised how personal Harry Reid just got,” she said, following his remarks. And remember, she’s talking about a city where things often get quite personal.

Of course, Reid’s not the only one in the Senate who’s thrown around the D-word from time to time. His current adversary in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, once said just about exactly the same thing.

“The way he’s been operating is he doesn’t let the minority have any amendments. He’s already kind of turned the Senate Majority Leader’s office into an office for a dictator and now he wants to get rid of, what we call, the motion to proceed,” McConnell said last July.

All these dictators and no one to lead.

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