Did Harry Reid Throw D.C. Voting Rights Under the Bus for Naught?
It appears that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's courting of a National Rifle Association endorsement in his tough re-election battle back in Nevada has come up empty. And as part of that delicate dance, Reid royally screwed over the District in its voting rights battle on Capitol Hill.
As The Wall Street Journal reported late last week, the NRA did not end up endorsing Reid after openly floating the idea of supporting the Senate's top Democrat. (The nation's largest gun rights organization did not endorse the Reid's GOP challenger, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.)
Those who were watching the battle over legislation that would have given the District full and equal voting rights in the U.S. House know Reid's role in allowing a "poison-pill amendment" on the voting rights legislation, a D.C. gun-rights provision that many D.C. officials, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, could not in the end stomach.
As Byron C. Tau wrote in Washington City Paper in June:
Rather than tightly controlling the bill’s path through the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid had allowed a last-minute gun amendment to be added by his Republican Nevada colleague John Ensign. The addition had broad support among Republicans, not to mention centrist Democrats who fear the gun lobby. Reid’s explicit support gave cover for other Democratic senators to join him.
At the time that the Ensign amendment was introduced, Greg Kauffman pondered in The Nation: "Did Senator Reid really think Nevadans—which ranked first in foreclosure percentage in 2007—give a damn about gun regulations in the District?"
Well, maybe not most Nevadans. But it seems Reid cared what the NRA thought.
Photo by Brian Finifter/Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License