Today is Harry Reid’s 75th birthday.
Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, and soon to be Minority Leader, in the United States Senate. You know that.
Now that I live in Nevada (since July 2013), Reid is now my Senator. This is the first time I have lived in a state with a Democrat Senator since I live in New York in 2002. Of course, I left the Democratic Party and joined the Green Party when I moved to here to Las Vegas.
Harry Reid is the type of corporate Democrat that led me to leave the party (though I mostly left because of personal reasons). However, there is still a special place in my heart for Harry Reid.
Reid is the most public Mormon Democrat. In fact, he is the most powerful Mormon in American politics…ever. While he might not have the name recognition of Mitt Romney, his political and legislative legacy will long outlive that of Romney.
Yesterday, one of my colleagues, herself not a Mormon, told me that her Mormon hair-dresser hates Harry Reid. She has even told my colleague that she considers Harry Reid to be a “bad Mormon.” My colleague is a Democrat and tries not to engage these comments. After all, you should never discuss politics of religion with the person holding scissor to your head.
This hair-dresser is not alone. When I taught at BYU-Idaho, it was also fun watching Republican students from Nevada almost explode in fury at the mention of Harry Reid.
In many ways, I love Harry Reid because we have common enemies. Reid is the Democrat that Mormon conservatives love to hate. The people who Harry Reid most irritates are the people who I love to see irritated.
Now whether Reid is a good Mormon or not is really a ridiculous question and one that is definitely not for strangers to answer. We are all bad Mormons.
Oh, and by the way, telling other people that you think Harry Reid is a bad Mormon does not make Harry Reid look bad. Instead, it makes Mormons look creepy. Do we really need to add to the this perception?
I do not think that Harry Reid is particularly popular amongst liberals, either. Harry Reid is that backroom deal maker. His television appearances are not particularly inspiring. However, I think Reid is the type of Senator that our Constitution intended. He is a legislator rather than a celebrity. I appreciate the fact that unlike Senator Warren or Senator Sanders (people I am more ideologically aligned with), Harry Reid does not regularly show up in my Facebook feed as part of some meme.
We need more legislators and fewer memes.
Of course, Harry Reid is a “badass.” We do need more of those.
Senator Reid, whether you’re a bad Mormon or a badass, happy birthday!