Once again in the eye of the storm, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is being profiled, lampooned and eviscerated in the national media.
So in my neverending quest to be helpful to my DC friends, and as the state's (nay the world's!) foremost Reidologist, I have prepared a handy guide of essential elements for a Prince Harry profile:
1. He was a boxer! This lends itself to all kinds of pugilistic metaphors. "The brass-knuckle tactics are nothing new for Mr. Reid, a former boxer," wrote the WSJ's Janet Hook and Patrick O'Connor. Yes! He can't be knocked down. He's a relentless counterpuncher. He's on the ropes but...
2. You must use the word "hardscrabble" to describe his, well, hardscrabble childhood in Searchlight. Mentioning his father's alcoholism and suicide only enhances the story of his ascension from impossible circumstances. (Feel free to use "impossible circumstances.")
3. Take note of his stooped shoulders. Even better contrast his appearance, as Timesman Jeremy Peters did, with his behavior. To wit, Reid, "who at 73 is more wily and scrappy than his stooped posture and shuffling walk suggest...." The Hunchback of Capitol Hill....
4. He has no self-editing mechanism! Peters again: "Mr. Reid’s tendency to speak without inhibition or filter has created no shortage of complications and may have so alienated Republicans that they see no incentive to work with him." He has had no shortage of gaffes, and Republicans happily pilloried him Wednesday for this video. But that was mild and unfair to Reid, who has provided plenty of fodder and will provide more.
5. He is charismatically challenged. As Mark Leibovich detailed so well in "This Town," Reid is an anti-politician. Or as Peters put it, "Mr. Reid, no one’s idea of a polished, pressed and scripted Washington politician, seems to relish playing such an aggressive hand." Which brings me to....
6. He revels in the hurly burly. Reid does not care what people think, so he could -- and has and will -- say anything. The Wall Street Journal writers beautifully labeled it "gleeful antagonism" and described the majority leader thusly: "Last week, a grinning Mr. Reid looked on as Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker debated fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas over the latter's efforts to defund the health-care law." I know that grin well -- sardonic Schaudenfreude.
7. Someone purportedly "close to him" (very few really are) will say Reid does what he does because of his passion and deep values. WSJ: "Those close to him say that when Mr. Reid says things about Republicans like 'they have lost their minds,' he means it. He has stood on his podium on the Senate floor every day this week and vowed to not negotiate with Tea Party 'anarchists' and 'extremists,' despite advice from his advisers that the word 'unreasonable' polls better with voters." He talks the talk because he believes it, even if he shouldn't always say it.
8. He should be compared to some ruthless figure of history. I prefer Machiavelli, but MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin chose someone else: "In recent weeks, Reid has stuck closely to Sun Tzu’s old adage: ”'If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.'" Nobody does it better.
9. You must capture his duality. Reid can be the fierce, unbridled, even unhinged partisan in public while being the consummate inside player out of view. Sarlin: "Reid’s been a deal-maker as often as a dogfighter over the years, alternating roles as the need arises." Dr. Harry and Mr. Reid.
10. Of course, a quote from the state's foremost Reidologist always helps: From MSNBC: “I think he is a really easy guy to underestimate,” Nevada political columnist John Ralston told MSNBC. “The number of people who’ve underestimated Reid and suffered because of it is a long list.” That's good! Call that guy.
I think we should start to rate Reid pieces on how many of these elements are included. Who can score a perfect 10?
UPDATE: By popular demand, I have added this: