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Harry Reid, astute political strategist, insider game master, dies at 82

Harry Mason Reid was born in 1939 in Searchlight, Nevada, a gold-digging ghost town 50 miles from Las Vegas by the empty desert. The family lived in a stucco shack with no running water; Reid Swimming lessons at one of the brothels are the town’s main amenity. His father, a miner, was a contemplative, drunken man who would later take his own life with a shotgun to the head. Reid, nicknamed “Pinky,” hitchhiked 45 miles each way to the nearest high school, in the Henderson suburb of Las Vegas.
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Reid died at the age of 82 at his home in Las Vegas. The cause was not immediately disclosed. He had previously battled pancreatic cancer, but last summer reported that the disease was in remission.

It was the war in Reid that got him out of a difficult situation. In high school, he met the man who would become his mentor, Mike O’Callaghan, an amputee. Korean War The veteran taught Reid to box and will go on to serve two terms as governor. It was also in high school that Reid met and flirted with Landra Gould, a Jewish girl whose parents were so suspicious of his motives that he once punched her father in the face to take her out on a date. The pair fled to Utah, where Reid, with the help of O’Callaghan, received a scholarship to a junior college.

There was no religion in Reid’s upbringing — the closest thing to faith, he wrote in his 2008 memoir, was an FDR quote pinned to the wall: “We can. We will. We must.” But in Utah, impressed by the generosity of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Harry and Landra Reid converted to Mormonism together. Reid moved to Washington to attend law school at George Washington University, working nightly as a Capitol cop to pay the bills.

Senator Harry Reid leans on a stack of documents related to campaign finance reform
Dennis Cook — AP Senator Harry Reid leans on a stack of documents related to campaign finance reform during a press conference on Capitol Hill on December 3, 1996.

As a young Las Vegas lawyer, Reid prides himself on taking on cases about the bad guys in society, such as prostitutes and cocktail waitresses. He served on the state gambling commission during the early days when Las Vegas was considered a mecca for gambling (and organized crime.) At one point, Reid strapped the FBI on to a regulator. casino practice is about to become; After the agents stormed into the room, Reid put the man in position and yelled, “You bastard, you tried to bribe me!” On other FBI wiretapping sites, a bandit brags that he has “Cleanface” —Reid — in his pocket. Reid was investigated, but never involved in mob activity. Near the end of her tenure on the committee, Landra found a bomb hooked up to the engine of the family station wagon.

As a politician, Reid is, by his own admission, undaunted. After serving in the state legislature and as a lieutenant-colonel governor, he lost a lengthy Senate race, then successfully ran for the United States House of Representatives and Senate. His voice was low and high-pitched, and he was prone to malformations. He doesn’t like shaking hands and kissing babies. It takes intense concentration to get from Searchlight to the Senate, and perhaps for that reason, he despises what he considers a waste of time – from Christmas cards to state dinners. Regular phone calls will start with no small talk and end as soon as he believes the conversation is over – he even hangs up President Barack Obama. Reid’s employees were close and fiercely loyal, but he prided himself on not being controlled by them. His press secretaries often lived in a state of high anxiety, waiting for his latest news.

Reid began his career as a conservative Democrat from a predominantly rural state. He is anti-abortion, pro-gun and hawkish about legal and illegal immigration. Reid was the first Democrat to support the first Gulf War, under President George HW Bushand vote in favor 2003 Iraq War. But his politics evolved with his native nation. Nevada in the 1990s experienced breakneck growth, as gambling and tourism fueled the rapid growth of an increasingly diverse population and a housing boom. Towards the end of his career, Reid was an environmentalist, a pro-gay marriage ally of Planned Parenthood who championed (unsuccessfully) immigration reform and gun safety. He considers voting for the Iraq War his greatest regret.

Reid is self-aware that his greatest strength is not his eloquence but his inner play. He has a photographic memory and a natural talent for favor trading. These traits helped him as he rose to the top of the Democratic Senate to become the party’s whip, aka counter-vote: He kept a handwritten list in his pocket. The jacket lists each Democratic senator and what they want. Even on the other side of the aisle, he knows the pressure points: In 2001, he convinced Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, then a Republican, switched parties and closed doors with Democrats by recommending Jeffords to chair the environment committee, which Reid later held. Jeffords’ transition moved the Senate to Democrats, the only time in history a party had transferred control of the chamber.

Harry Reid Easement Signing
Tom Williams — CQ-Roll Call / Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Harry Reid heads to a contract signing ceremony on Capitol Hill to help protect Nevada’s Basin and Range National Monument, which houses the modern art sculpture “Citadel.” street” by artist Michael Heizer on December 15, 2016.

Reid becoming the majority leader was somewhat coincidental. He became the minority leader after South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle was unexpectedly defeated in the 2004 election and led the following majority Democratic wave election of 2006. (When he watched the profits come out, Reid, who was normally not aloof, was so excited that he kissed the television.) From the very beginning, Reid saw promise in Obama, then a junior colleague, and encouraged him to run for president in 2008. After Obama was elected, Reid led his key legislative achievements through the Senate, including the 2009 economic stimulus bill, budget reform. Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Act.

Reid’s condition was probably the hardest hit in the country by The crash of 2008. Boom practically went bankrupt overnight. The sudden evaporation of the housing market has turned Las Vegas into a graveyard of half-built casinos and housing developments. When casino company MGM was in danger of bankruptcy, Reid personally threatened his creditors and forced them to withdraw, he later admitted. During his 2010 re-election campaign, he built a formidable political machine to defeat Tea Party sweetheart Sharron Angle – despite his personal unpopularity and national GOP wave. Reid plays hardball, killing his son when he runs for governor against his father’s wishes; he locked down the funding base of the state and powerful labor organizations and devoted unprecedented attention to mobilizing the burgeoning Hispanic community. The Reid machine is still at work in the Silver State, a bastion of the GOP that once in 2018 elected Democrats to every office statewide and made up a majority in the state legislature. In 2020, the state voted for President Joe Biden, from 50.1% to 47.7%.

Reid’s tenure was not exactly a happy one in the US Senate. His relationship with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, so toxic that McConnell in later years would only negotiate with Biden, then vice president. Reid blamed McConnell for abusing the procedure to stop Obama’s appointments and agenda non-stop. (Mcconnell allies say it was Reid who started the spiral of hindrance during the George W. Bush years.) In November 2013, Reid implemented the so-called “nuclear option”, changing Senate rules to remove the 60-vote threshold for most nominations. Some observers say that change paved the way for McConnell, in 2017, to go further and break the threshold for the Supreme Court, allowing President Donald Trump’s three nominees to sit. with a narrow margin. Reid’s authoritarian style and the stalemate he presided over angered many Democrats.

Reid’s health began to decline in 2015, when an accident involving an exercise band left him blind in one eye. He announced his retirement and anointed a successor. Driven by the Reid machine, the Democratic Party Catherine Cortez Masto will become the only biased Democrat to win in 2016 and the nation’s first Latina senator. He followed the political situation of the following years with a mixture of division and disgust, told New York Times that he finds President Donald Trump “immoral” and consider him the worst president ever. In May 2018 he was diagnosed with one of the deadliest cancers, pancreatic, a diagnosis he received realistically, as if it only validated the possibility of lifelong death. his. In subsequent interviews, he described his legacy as having done what had to be done, no matter the cost.

“I am not the leader of the Senate because I am tall, black and handsome, [or] explicitly,” he told Nevada journalist Jon Ralston in January 2018. “I did things that no one else would do. ”

https://time.com/5505058/harry-reid-dies/ Harry Reid, astute political strategist, insider game master, dies at 82

Aila Slisco

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