Who he is: Harry Reid has been a Democratic US Senator from Nevada since 1987, and US Senate Majority Leader since 1997. Harry Reid's career in politics began in the state of Nevada where Reid was a member of the House of Representatives, the city attorney of Henderson, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, a state legislator and lieutenant governor.
Harry Reid has been heavily criticized over the years by both sides of the political aisle. He has been accused of supporting issues self-serving to his own wallet, although he is consistently reelected by Nevada voters, perhaps because of his support of some extremely questionable pork projects benefitting his state. Reid has ensured that gaming and tourism in Nevada stayed strong, voting consistently in favor of gaming interests.
However, even as a Democrat, while Reid has voted "Progressive" on numerous social issues, he has been extremely supportive of America's use of military force in the Middle East, having voted in support of the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as well as consistently in favor of military and intelligence appropriations bills. He has voted against FISA amendments and General David Petraeus's nomination, yet in favor of the Patriot Act and extensions.
Harry Reid would seem, in fact, the quintessential hack politician. Anything that leverages and brings to bear government power, Reid can justify and vote for. Overseas, he is willing to bring America's military power to bear for dubious and even obviously illegitimate purposes. Domestically, Reid has participated in odious legislation that reinforces all of the authoritarian tendencies of the Leviathan super state.
Background: Harry Mason Reid was born on December 2, 1939 in Searchlight, Nevada. As a high school student he was a football player and an amateur boxer. Harry Reid later attended Southern Utah University, and then graduated from Utah State University.
Reid worked for the United States Capitol Police while working toward a Juris Doctor at George Washington University Law School. His first job after law school was to serve as the Henderson, Nevada city attorney. Reid was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1968. In 1970, Reid was picked by Mike O'Callaghan, formerly a teacher in Reid's high school, as his running mate for lieutenant governor of Nevada. The team was victorious in the election and Reid served as lieutenant governor from 1971 to 1974.
Harry Reid then ran for US Senate, narrowly losing by fewer than 600 votes to former governor Paul Laxalt. Reid then ran for mayor of Las Vegas but again lost. From 1977 until 1981 Harry Reid was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, during which time Jack Gordon attempted to bribe Reid with $12,000 to approve new games for the casinos. With Reid's help, the FBI taped the bribery attempt, interrupted it and arrested Gordon, who served six months in prison. In 1981, a bomb attached to the Reid family's vehicle was suspected by Reid as having been placed by Gordon.
Elected in 1983, Harry Reid served two terms in the Nevada House, until 1987. When Senator Paul Laxalt retired from the US Senate, Reid campaigned and won that seat as Nevada's senator, reelected in 1991 and in each election since.
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