Harry Reid: Bad Mormon or Badass?

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.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

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!

10 replies »

  1. I admire him as a Mormon and an egalitarian (see here), but am ambivalent about him as a politician and a liberal (see here). I’d vote for him in a heartbeat, all while wishing there was someone better. Still, he’s done more good for others than I could ever dream of doing, and for that he has my great respect. Happy birthday, Senator!

  2. I like Harry Reid, but I liked him more a decade ago. Senate leadership doesn’t bring out the best in anyone.

  3. Nice piece, Chris. I’ve always liked Harry, because he’s tough, honest, and left of most unthinking Mormons. It was a pleasure when, after the Dick Cheney fiasco at BYU, they tried to make amends by bringing Harry in to speak at a Tuesday forum. Of course, Mitt was recently allowed to come back and speak at a similar event last month. So I figure BYU has to next invite another LDS leftist. Any suggestions?

    • Warner, my vote would be Russell Arben Fox. That is who BYU needs to hear from and he is a real leftist. Ben McAdams would be awesome, too. As a Mormon who also got crushed in the 2012 election, I might be the perfect counter for Mitt. 🙂

  4. I have heard Mormons say that they cannot understand how you can be a Democrat and simultaneously hold an LDS Temple Recommend. They tend to coincide with those LDS who spit vitriolically at the sound of Brother Reid’s name.

    For myself, I cannot understand how one can speak evil of a fellow LDS Temple Recommend holder and simultaneously hold a Temple Recommend. But maybe I sit in the minority?

    Also, let me please second the motion for Russell Arben Fox to speak in a Tuesday BYU Colloquium/Devotional. He’s alumnus; he’s a marvelous public speaker and a clear and nuanced thinker; and he’s in good standing with the Church. They really ought to invite him. If only to knock some students out of their lane.

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