According to Talking Points Memo:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he won't campaign against his arch rival, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is up for reelection in 2014.
"Oh, no. No, I -- that -- I'm a traditionalist here, and that isn't anything I've ever done and will not do," he told Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt" in an interview set to air Friday night.
At first I was a bit surprised, even disappointed. First, there's no love lost between Reid and McConnell. And secondly, Kentucky Democratic senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is really in a winnable dogfight that the would knock the sitting Senate Minority leader not only off his chair, but out of the senate all together. This contest sets up to be the most watched in recent history at the Senate level.
As Ludergan Grimes is hardly a household name, even in her own state where she serves as Kentucky's Secretary of State, you would think that she could benefit from the current Senate Majority Leader's support. So when he declared he's not going to actively take part or campaign on her behalf, I was wondering what's going on. Ginning up interest for the Democratic candidate, by a powerful Democratic leader, to knock off the most powerful opposing senator seems like an important endeavor. But Harry publicly says, "no."
Then I got to thinking about why Reid would sit this one out, tradition be damned. Leader Reid says it's customary for leaders of opposing parties not to take a direct shot at their cross-party counterparts. Tradition. Well, so was the filibuster rule in the Senate and Harry had no problems sidestepping tradition there. So why would this be any different?
For a long time I've heard that the generally laconic Harry Reid didn't become Senate Leader without having some political savvy. And then it occurred to me, he is using it right now.
Reid is being cagey like a fox. He's not avoiding this showdown. He's actually, by drawing attention to his not taking sides, helping Alison Lundergan Grimes. What he's doing is very smart. He's appearing to back his comrade McConnell by not only ignoring the urge to say politically damaging things about the Minority Leader, he's making it sound like they're friends. They agree on a lot of things. They can work together. Talk about backhanded praise. There isn't a conservative Republican or Tea Party member in Kentucky who wants to accept compromise and a willingness for their representative to work WITH the Democrats.
Therefore, a vote for Mitch is to vote for the democratic way of thinking and of compromise. Or at least that's the vapors Harry Reid is putting out to Kentucky.
Republicans would rather stay home, than vote for a Mitch McConnell republican the way he's being painted. Democrats will turn out to support a change -- to Alison Ludergan Grimes.
You go Harry, you sneaky fox. Keep saying nice things about your ability to work with Mitch McConnell. Alison Ludergan Grimes, the more Harry "stays out of your campaign," the easier your path to the Senate Chamber is going to become.