In another move that brings question to the ability of Democrats to retain their super-majority in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized for racially insensitive remarks directed at then-Senator Obama in 2008. The comments are to be revealed in an up-coming book to be released on Monday, titled Game Change, about the 2008 Presidential election. Sen. Reid is quoted as describing the future President as
Sen. Reid has apologized to the President and the public for the remarks saying,
“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments. I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.
Moreover, throughout my career, from efforts to integrate the Las Vegas strip and the gaming industry to opposing radical judges and promoting diversity in the Senate, I have worked hard to advance issues.”
No matter how badly Reid may feel about these remarks, it is doubtful he will improve his image in his home State or nationally with the apology. Currently he trails several potential opponents for his Senate seat, at least one by a double digit margin – Republican Sue Lowden. This is in conjunction with a recent poll showing that Reid maintains a 33% approval rating in Nevada.
Taken in context with the actions of Congress throughout 2009, the failures of the Obama Administration, and the departures of prominent Democrats that will not seek re-election the outlook seems bleak. Senators Dodd and Dorgan place 2 seats into obvious contention, polls indicate that multiple Democrats up for re-election are trailing or statistically in dead-heats. Yet Congress continues to march forward with an unpopular Health Care Reform that is 2000+ pages long, filled with amendments and earmark deals that are publicly seen as bribes, and being conducted in secrecy to the counter of campaign promises by President Obama to have the debate playout on C-SPAN.
So far, under the guidance of Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama, the $787 billion Obama Stimulus was passed and failed to combat unemployment. The Health Care Reform has gone through seemingly dozens of revisions, created confusion among pundits and the public as to what it will do and cost, and created a frenzy of protests that were avoided by elected officials en masse. The Cap & Trade Bill has quietly moved forward though it too has huge numbers of detractors citing claims that it also cannot acheive it’s publicly stated goals and has costs that effectively will fuerther tax a public that is weighed down by job losses and State tax hikes. And then there is the increased budget deficit, which will grow larger than all previous deficits of Administrations combined.
This pressure seems to indicate that Congress has disconnected from the majority of Americans. Recent polls show that the nation is still comprised of those most clearly self-identified as Conservative and Moderate.
Given all of this, it is unclear why Democrats would want to further isolate themselves from their electorate with proposals of a Universal Voter Registration that opponents claim could spark voter fraud and provide illegal aliens with a Right to vote. It is unclear why the Congress continues to press to pass a $175 billion Jobs for Main Street Act – widely seen as Obama Stimulus 2 and an implicit admission of failure.
With all these factors lining up against Democrats, the leadership is struggling to press forward as quickly as possible to acheive as much as possible before having to face their constituents. But the question of what constituents will stand by the Democrats looms as these unpopular laws are passed and actions like those of Reid alienate even the most ardent of supporters.