Diary

Brilliant

My, but Harry Reid can be exasperating:

The Senate is poised to pass a revised Wall Street bailout bill tonight, but amendments to the controversial measure may raise the anger of some House Democrats and imperil its chances of approval in the House for the second time this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pressed for passage, with the alarming news that one of the country’s premier insurance companies was about to go bankrupt if the crisis was not quickly resolved.

“We don’t have a lot of leeway on time,” Reid told reporters in the Capitol. “One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company — a major insurance company — one with a name that everyone knows that’s on the verge of going bankrupt. That’s what this is all about.”

He did not identify the insurance company, and later in the day Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the senator was speaking broadly and not referring to anything specific.

“Senator Reid is not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy,” Manley wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. “Rather, his comments were meant to refer to the conditions in the financial sector generally. He regrets any confusion his comments may have caused.”

It’s not as if people aren’t sufficiently on edge concerning the economic situation. The Senate Majority Leader decided to go ahead and make things worse with his ill-timed comment, one that quickly had to be pulled back by an embarrassed staff. David Broder has noted that Reid has a Bidenesque propensity for gaffes which serves to regularly embarrass anyone on Reid’s side. Worse than the embarrassment, of course, is the danger to the country of having a Senate Majority Leader whose intemperate remarks can make a dicey situation positively explosive.

I realize that it is asking a lot for the Senate to change leadership, but considering the current perilous state of affairs, can someone other than Harry Reid be found to speak for the Senate Democratic Caucus? It would be a lot easier to get things done and done right if the Senate’s majority leadership responsibilities were actually being fulfilled by someone who had the skills to be up to the task.