There are a lot of reasons to be angry at Harry Reid a lot of the time. But sometimes... sometimes he reminds you of exactly why he's the Democratic Majority Leader.
Let's be clear here; The absence of filibuster reform is not why gun safety legislation is going to fail today. The only thing that could have stopped this would be no filibuster, and it's not Harry Reid's fault that there aren't close to 51 votes for that.
But it's not even a little easy for a Senator with a "B" rating from the NRA to stand up and reverse course on both the Assault Weapons Ban and extended magazine clips, two policies which would save countless lives.
Let's be clear: Harry Reid is an endangered Senator in a swing state with a large rural population. He has had two very close shaves in his last three re-election fights. That NRA B-Rating is a big part of what's kept him alive. And, crucially, these laws will not pass today. There is NO chance that either the AWB or extended magazines will pass - hell, they can't even pass Manchin-Toomey. He voted against the AWB last time too, so it wouldn't have been a surprise. There was no need for him to flip and back them, going through political hell for something that won't even pass.
But he's doing it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. It looks Newtown really, genuinely changed his mind on this - and he's doing the right thing with style.
Some choice quotes:
In a civil society, where we have to balance individual rights with public safety, there should be limits on the kind of destructive weapons people are allowed to own.
The United States military is not out to get us. Federal law enforcement and local police departments are not out to get us.
These conspiracy theories are dangerous and they should be put to rest.
I will vote for the ban because maintaining law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theorists who believe in black helicopters and false flags. And I will vote for the ban because saving the lives of young police officers and innocent civilians is more important than preventing imagined tyranny.
As Senator Manchin said, “I don’t know anybody who needs 30 rounds to go hunting.” So why shouldn’t we limit the number of bullets in a clip? Don’t people deserve at least as much protection as birds?Look, as progressives, we constantly give Harry Reid hell when he's wrong, which is a lot of the time. So let's make damn sure we let him know when he's right. He's going to hear from a lot of very, very angry constituents over this, screaming at him and threatening him for doing the right thing. Let's make sure he hears from citizens and progressives too.
We won't say it often, so we should say it when it's deserved; Thanks Harry Reid.
Let him know you have his back at http://www.reid.senate.gov/... - and that goes double for Nevadans out there!
Full speech below the fold.