American journalism, particularly online, doesn’t pull its punches. Here are comments from three fine pieces (1,2,3) on the now retiring Harry Reid from Nevada, a Democratic Party powerbroker, outgoing Senate Minority Leader and all round chancer. They sound strangely familiar:
He has been as near to a personification of everything that is wrong with (American) public life as we ever hope to see…
…a self-interested, dishonest, sanctimonious, unscrupulous charlatan who began his career with an act of cheap theater
…The cheap histrionics, the gross hypocrisy, the outright lies
…In order to.. advance his movements’ goals, Reid has been willing to diminish the influence, power, and effectiveness of his own institution; in order to thwart his opponents, he has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to play dirty … and, in order to satisfy his own need to feel powerful, he has perfected the scorched earth approach
…The truth of the matter is that Harry Reid is a stone-cold killer who has damaged Washington considerably, who has elevated his own political preferences above the institution he was elected to protect, and who has made worse the partisan rancor that our self-described enlightened class claims to abhor. The greatest service he can do America is to go away.
And inevitably, Harry’s retirement reasons are perhaps not the ones he’s claimed.
Sound familiar? It certainly does to me.
A couple of extracts (from the review):
..a box-ticking exercise, a litany of scores being vituperatively settled. So many, so regular and so varied are the
lunges at those who have had the temerity to disagree with him that the pattern becomes almost hypnotic. Denigration and spite provide the book’s rhythm: it has a backbeat of malice.
…The cumulative effect on the reader is to create a growing sense of unease. This man, with his seething hatreds, grand grudges and thirst for vengeance, was first minister for seven years. The position is an eminent one, and should require any holder to govern on behalf of the entire nation — all of it, and all who live in it — regardless of political persuasion or party affiliation. It is no place for those encrusted in bitterness. Yet Mr Salmond comes across as just such a small, bitter man.
Do we really get the politicians we deserve? Scotland has been desperately unfortunate that a gurning charlatan like Salmond hit the stage at a propitious time, for him. He has already massively damaged Scottish society with his self-absorbed bigoted and divisive agenda, and shows no sign of stopping, if the voters give him the chance.