Readers may remember that I called out Harry Reid’s ludicrous comments last week relating to his contention that he was withholding approval of funding for the shutdown of the Guantanamo detention facility and subsequent transfer of the prisoners because he did not want terrorists released to (in his telling of it) roam the streets of the United States:
We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States…
We don’t want them around the United States…
I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.
[Reporter’s question: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.]
Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.
[Reporter’s question: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? …]
I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.
When I commented on this last week, it was my contention that Reid’s words, and handling of the Guantanamo issue were simply an indication of his political pandering, that his response to the issue was motivated by his fear of a small segment of the electorate that might be the swing voters who could prevent or facilitate his return to the Senate after his current term expires. It was my contention that Senator Reid was not standing up like an honorable, courageous leader, working for fairness and justice, working for the best interests of the United States, but was cynically responding in a manner that would (in his mind) prolong his political career.
It seems, at least to this skeptic’s eyes, that Senator Reid, is in fact, still practicing his political pandering, just changing his dance steps to exploit the current audience. It was reported by NickBaumann writing in Mother Jones and Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic that in a segment video taped this past Tuesday for Jon Ralston’s “Face to Face” television interview program in Las Vegas, that Reid has begun to alter his view of the prisoner situation:
Reid, who has been criticized for his contradictory positions on Guantanamo Bay, said some prisoners will be put in maximum security prisons on U.S. soil, emphasizing the safety of those facilities:
“A maximum security prison in the United States, there has never been a single escape.”
JR: “You think eventually the plan is going to be to put them in maximum security prisons here in this country, correct?”
I think some. Keep in mind, Jon, there’s so many different issues. There’s no question that a number of these people who are there are not guilty of anything. The Uighurs, these are a group of Muslim Chinese who are guilty of nothing. They were arrested, put in there. They are there. They are doing nothing. We’re going to have to find someplace to put them. We can’t send them back to China. Should they go into a maximum security prison? Probably not.”
Has Reid had a real change of heart? Not likely, more likely it is politically expedient this week to soften his stance, given that President Obama traveled to Las Vegas this past Tuesday to give Reid a little fund raising help, as reported by Nick Baumann in Mother Jones:
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Nevada on Tuesday to participate in a Las Vegas fundraiser for Sen. Harry Reid, who hopes to raise $25 million to fend off possible GOP challenges to his 2010 reelection campaign. The trip coincides with a sudden—and convenient—change of heart by Reid on the thorny issue of what to do with Guantanamo Bay detainees once the facility is shuttered.
Nothing fundamental has changed in Reid’s outlook, he just changed up his dance steps, to give the impression that he is a team player with the president, but in reality Reid is just dragging his feet, and through his leadership as the Majority Leader, dragging the feet of his Democratic Senate colleagues about facing the reality that the Guantanamo detention facility will be closed, and adjudication and ultimate disposition of the prisoners will occur in a manner transparent to Americans and the entire world. It is time for Reid to stop dancing around, take a stand with the president, and with what is the right thing to do in order to correct some of the mistakes our country made while under the influence of the previous, criminal administration.
(The image of Reid at the top of this post is the same image as used last week, only I felt it appropriate to put a frown on Reid’s face, as he can’t be too happy, having to learn so many dance steps.)