REID'S LATEST BROADSIDE
The talk after Reid’s tax broadside was that it was another of his famous verbal gaffes, the latest symptom of a kind of political Tourette’s syndrome that has caused the senator to call George W. Bush a “loser” and a “liar,” Alan Greenspan a “hack,” Clarence Thomas an “embarrassment,” the war in Iraq “lost,” Capitol tourists smelly, and his aides “fat.” But this is something different for Reid, an extension of a role he assigned himself in 2008 when he endlessly hectored John McCain for missing Senate votes, accusing the Republican presidential nominee of being “too busy on the campaign trail to do his day job.” ... This time, Reid loyalists say he decided to go after Romney without consulting the Obama campaign — although the indications I get from Chicago are that the campaign is pleased with Reid’s attack.
DUCKING THE DONALD
NEW YORK TIMES
On Monday I talked to two prominent Republican strategists in a row who said that Mitt Romney’s choice of keynote speaker, not yet determined, was essential. ... One of the strategists asserted that Romney’s greatest mistake would be to emulate the Democrats in 2004, when the keynoter, a certain Barack Obama, shone brighter than the nominee, John Kerry, perhaps making him look duller in contrast. The strategist did not admit per se that Romney had a luminescence problem. There are some things you really needn’t say. He recommended that Romney take a page from the Republican grand master of stagecraft, Ronald Reagan, and select a keynote speaker of restrained wattage.
HOW NOT TO PASS A BILL
NEW YORK TIMES
Among the many things the House never got around to doing before shutting down for the summer was holding a vote on a bill that would have granted permanent normal trade relations to Russia. ... Yes, compared with its inability to pass a farm bill, this may sound like small potatoes. But it is a near-perfect illustration of the way the House Republican leadership has largely abdicated its responsibility to get useful things done — as opposed to, say, conducting votes to repeal Obamacare a few dozen times. ... after suggesting last week that the Russian trade bill would be deferred until after the election, the House leadership quickly backpedaled. Now Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, says it will be brought to a vote in September, before Congress departs again to run for re-election. I’m not holding my breath.
DREAM, BABY, DREAM!
NEW YORK TIMES
Obama actually believes in a Palestinian state. Romney is loved by Netanyahu’s Likud party because he gives signals he does not. In Jerusalem he attends a breakfast fundraiser with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire American casino mogul and largest donor to the Romney super Pac. Adelson is the man who said Newt Gingrich was right to call the Palestinians an “invented people.” ... In fact, Romney missed the great cultural change in the Middle East of which many Palestinians have been part: the shift from a paralyzing culture of victimhood encouraged by exploitive tyrants to a culture of agency in which Arabs are learning — with difficulty — that they can shape their own lives and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a distraction, often cynically used, from their ability to succeed.