National Review's Lowry: Blow the Whistle on Harry Reid

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 04:22 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should not be allowed to get away with attacking Charles and David Koch during floor speeches, as he has done over the past two weeks, says Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review.

"If a Republican were to call some major Democrat donor un-American it would lead the nightly news and be a huge national brouhaha and whoever said it would be forced to back down immediately. But here Harry Reid calls the Koch brothers un-American and no one really bats an eyelid except for the people on our side," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Friday.

"It's the idea that if you created a successful business that employs tens of thousands of people the way the Kochs have, and you take some of that wealth and you spread it around on philanthropic ventures like aiding hospitals and cultural institutions in New York, and you're a libertarian and you're involved in the political process and tried to support your own side -- if that makes you un-American, I can't even wrap my mind around it," he said.

"If you're going to tally up people's contributions to America, there's a pretty good case that the Kochs have done much more than Harry Reid ever will or can hope to."

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Lowry argued that Reid should be held accountable for his actions, saying, "You got to push back and you got to blow the whistle on Harry Reid, and clearly the Democrats have some sort of focus group or polling that this message at some level works but I can't imagine it's going to make a difference in the midterm elections.

"So it's just such inside baseball. People are going to vote on what they think of Obamacare, what they think of the economy, of the job market. The idea that they're going to vote on the basis of what groups are being funded by whom and running what kind of ad is just ridiculous but it just speaks to the Democratic desperation. They don't really want to talk about any of those other big things, especially Obamacare, so they're attacking the Kochs instead."

He rejected the notion that fighting back might not be a good idea because the Democrats could dig their heels in in and support Reid on the issue.

"You just got to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. I mean he's made a ridiculous slur against private citizens. And that's the other thing, this is a big national elected official punching beneath them, punching at private citizens, and it's a little disturbing, especially when you couple it with all the other things that have been going on to try to muzzle the right side of the state," Lowry said.

"And that's what he IRS scandal is all about, that's what these new rules are that the IRS is trying to implement with nonprofits that are engaged in politics. It's important to blow the whistle and call Harry Reid on this," he added.

Lowry's latest book is "Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again." He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and a variety of other publications.

Asked what he thought about the fact that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was heckled by university students at a town hall meeting on Thursday, Lowry replied, "Apparently it was an event near a college, so you had a ready supply of pajama boys and pajama girls willing to stand up and shout. I'm against all hecklers, right or left. I think it's rude and uncalled for.

"Christie has been hurt more than I thought initially in this Bridge-gate scandal. I still don't think he's doomed or his political career is dead, but he's under water now in polls in New Jersey. People apparently just don't believe his denials. It's really corrosive of his brand and his standing as a potential presidential candidate. "

Lowry said he expects the GOP to be helped in November by Scott Brown, the former Republican Massachusetts senator, announcing his candidacy in New Hampshire.

"It's almost certain that he's going to get in. It's good news for the Republican Party in that is widens the number of plausible senate races they have. It's going to stretch the Democrats even further in terms of resources and money. I don't think you would favor Scott Brown in that race necessarily, but it's going to be another seat the Democrats are going to have to worry about and will have to expend resources defending," he explained.

As for what CPAC signaled for 2016, Lowry said, "My take away from the presidential politics at CPAC is it's as wide open as it has ever been. There is no front runner. There is no clear favorite establishment candidate. The history in Republican primary politics is there's a lot of drama and a lot of tumult, a lot of ups and downs, but then the establishment guy almost always invariably wins. It's not clear who that establishment guy is going to be or how strong he's going to be.

It's going to be a fascinating wide open race. Every day is going to be like Christmas for political opponents like us."

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