Roger L. Simon

Separated at Birth: Harry Reid and Hugo Chavez

Two national leaders — Harry Reid and Hugo Chavez — are attempting to ram bills through the legislatures of their respective countries before newly elected representatives arrive next year. These bills are expressly contrary to the wills of their peoples and squarely in the fascist tradition.

Ah… he used the f-bomb (fascism) next to Harry Reid… Unfair, unfair, you say. How can you lump him with Chavez? Well… from the Associated Press:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday asked congress to grant him special powers to enact laws by decree for one year, just before a new legislature takes office with a larger contingent of opposition lawmakers.

The measure would give the president the ability to bypass the National Assembly for the fourth time since he was first elected almost 12 years ago.

And from the Washington Times:

Forget about going quietly into the night.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a broad agenda for an end-of-session sprint that otherwise could be a whole year’s worth of activity — including an arms-reduction treaty with Russia, a major immigration reform bill and legislation overturning the ban on openly gay military service members.

That’s not to mention the nearly 2,000-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill that contains hundreds of pork-barrel projects and new rules governing things such as airport baggage and the fate of detainees at the military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We’re not through. Congress ends on Jan. 4,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

You don’t have to be Orwell to see the similarities here. Goodbye, democracy. Hello, autocracy. In Reid’s case, it’s like giving the middle finger to the American people. What was the point in having that election November 2?


Of course, it’s the giant ($1.1 trillion!) spending bill (that no one — once again — has read) that is the most significant anti-democratic action here. The election couldn’t have made clearer our citizenry’s rejection of this kind of behavior. If the tea party movement had one unassailable prima facie core belief it was opposition to the repellent, wasteful use of tax payers’ money, such as earmarks. Yet, this Congress continues on as if there is money to pay for this insanity that our already nearly bankrupt nation cannot possibly afford. (Do they have children and grandchildren of their own? Hard to believe.)

Those Republican legislators who are backing this bill are on the wrong side of history (very sorry to see Richard Shelby on that list). Those retiring, like Bennett of Utah, are leaving behind a legacy they will never live down. It’s amazing they are that cavalier about how they will be regarded in the future. Do they owe that much to individual contributors or do they just have contempt for the American people?

I’ll let history decide. For now, they’re all brothers and sisters to Chavez, or at least distant cousins, as far as I’m concerned.

UPDATE: If you want to give yourself high blood pressure, check out this amazing list of number of earmarks (from Democrats and Republicans) in the new Omnibus Bill developed by Jamie Dupree. Kudos to him.

Let’s not lose that list for the next election.