Friday, December 23, 2011

Harry Reid Payroll Tax Win Is Second Victory Over Tea Party

You can forgive Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) if he's feeling like a Tea Party slayer. He not only led a stinging rebuke to the conservative wing of the Republican Party by pushing the House to accept the short-term payroll tax cut Friday, but he earned the chance to do so by defeating Tea Party darling Sharron Angle little more than a year ago to keep his job.

Angle rode her Tea Party support to a Nevada primary victory over more mainstream Republicans, only to lose to Reid by six points, even though his own ratings were not good.

Jon Summers, who helped Reid orchestrate that win, said it's because whatever anyone thinks about the ex-boxer, he understands people and politics in a way that true believers of the Tea Party do not.

"Harry Reid gets regular people," said Summers. "They're mostly middle of the road. And if you ask people who are already having a hard time scraping by whether it's rational to raise their [payroll] taxes $1,000, they would look at you with bewilderment."

Voters' reaction was at the heart of why Reid and his team on the Democratic side were able to trump the House GOP, even after the Tea Party-aligned members rebelled: No one wanted to explain that Republicans had rejected a Senate bill that preserved a tax cut for ordinary Americans.

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