Reid’s clash with Gates reaffirms need for new Senate leadership

Defense Sec. Robert Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates walks with U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith after arriving at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 2011. (Photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison U.S. Air Force)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has struck back at former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates over remarks Gates made in his book Duty.

Gates had told Fox and Friends on Wednesday he was outraged at Reid’s statement about Iraq in 2007. In April of that year, Reid (D-Nev.) announced to the world that the Iraq War “is lost.”

Gates didn’t stop with Reid’s “defeatism” over the war effort.

International Business Times reported:

“He also accuses Reid of petty provincial politics – instead of calling Gates to discuss the surge or major issues, he would pester the Defense chief with requests to have the Pentagon invest in research on irritable bowel syndrome or to complain about Air Force objections to construction of a windmill farm in Nevada. ‘I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,’ Gates writes.”

Reid, apparently stung by the defense secretary’s criticism of the White House and Congress, said Gates was just “trying to make a buck.”

Gates’ book is currently at the top of Amazon’s sales chart; he says he will donate proceeds to charity.

Reid’s book, published in 2008, is nowhere near the top, but the irony is Reid didn’t pull any punches in his writing about President George W. Bush or Republicans in general. The Washington Post noted Reid, in his book, “recounts fights with everyone from classmates to the man who would eventually become his father-in-law, preparing him for a senatorial life of battling the Bush White House and Republican filibusters.”

Reid is one reason Congress gets such dismal ratings in opinion polls.

Reid showed astounding disrespect to the Senate—actually to the whole country—by stumping for President Barack Obama’s reelection on the Senate floor during the 2012 campaigns. Reid even gossiped about Gov. Mitt Romney’s tax returns in the same manner.

By September, 2013, Reid had targeted the tea party movement for scorn when he called supporters “anarchists.”

Reid also applies a double standard. He foisted Obamacare on the American middle class with legislative trickery, but his home state of Nevada got a break from provisions in the bill. That ethical lapse should have been grounds for his firing, but Democrats don’t like to fire people even when there is just cause.

From omnibus spending bills permitting the continued looting of the U.S. Treasury to erratic behavior demonstrated by Reid’s characterization of opposition as “angry old white men” (Reid apparently doesn’t own a mirror), Reid has acted like anything but a leader.

If Democrats can’t bring themselves to replace a man who has sullied the image of the Senate, displayed total callousness for the U.S. military, and enabled spending that will saddle Americans with horrific debt for years to come, the impetus is on the Republican Party to take the Senate in 2014 and install someone who will at least demonstrate respectable behavior and attempt to curtail spending.

As for Gates, he’s ably served presidents from both parties. He said it was “perfectly clear Reid has not read the book.”

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 15, 2014)

Note: Day on the Day will review Gates’ book as soon as our copy arrives.

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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