Harry Reid

Harry Reid is Just Another Politician

Ever since my brain’s synapses could connect all the way across my skull, I have known that politicians are just in the game for the power. My wife (Happy Birthday, honey!) told me that some politicians probably do run for office with the idealist view of wanting to “make a difference,” but in the end, they have to succumb to all the bullshit in order to have the slightest chance of getting anything done. I suppose that might be true, so I guess I should revise my opinion slightly: the vast majority of politicians currently in office are there for the power. The idealists that still hold their positions simply haven’t had their terms run out yet because once their terms end, those people get hell out of Dodge.

As much as I knew Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid was just like all the rest, I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I mean, he is (though not for long), the Senate Majority Leader, a position that there is no reason to hold except for the power. But for a number of years, he has tried to fight for online poker in Washington, so he was good in my book. He didn’t fight effectively, but still, he seemed to both be correctly taking the most logical and just side while at the same time supporting one of his state’s key economic drivers.

As it turns out, he really is just like all the rest. Harry Reid is a politician through and through, willing to take whatever side most benefits his career. Screw that guy. He looks like he would give the neighborhood kids a penny for trick or treat.

According to an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Senator said that not only does he expect Congress to look at anti-online gambling legislation next year, but that he will support it. He did say that he would try to get an exemption for online poker, but listen to this and tell me if you think he would really be all gung-ho about fighting for poker:

I think the proliferation of gambling on the Internet is not good for our country. I think it is an invitation to crime. I think it is hard to control for crime when you’ve got brick-and-mortar places, let alone something up in the sky someplace, and it is very bad for children.

If there is a chance to (legalize) poker, I will do that, but I am not for the Wire Act.

I’m sorry, but I just cannot trust a man to make laws about internet technology when he refers to the world wide interwebs as “something up in the sky someplace.” I don’t think he really thinks that the cloud is really in the clouds, but there are people on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology who deny the existence of global warming, so maybe Reid is just a fogey like the rest of them.

He told the Review-Journal that he was ready to work for a poker carveout if Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) had been added to the must-pass omnibus spending bill prior to Congress’ recess, but he should be fighting against RAWA, not letting it in and hoping someone would do him a solid. He doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about having poker’s back. If there’s a chance, he’ll try to get that exemption, but he’s not going to be bothered too much by it.

So why the about face? Money and career, that’s why. In the days leading up to the omnibus spending bill deadline, rumors flew that Harry Reid and Sheldon Adelson, political enemies but personal friends, had made an agreement that nearly got RAWA into the bill. In exchange for letting anti-online gambling legislation (a poker exemption was not a guarantee) get attached to must-pass bill, Adelson would support Reid in Reid’s bid for re-election in 2016.

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson

Well not exactly support, but rather not support his opponent, which many believe will be Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. Adelson has poured millions and millions of dollars into Republican political campaigns, but might be willing to hold off on a check or two if someone scratches his back just right.

Now, Reid has denied these rumors, telling the Review-Journal, “Sheldon Adelson and I have been friends for a long time but on politics he and I don’t agree, so we don’t do politics. I’m glad he joined my position (on Internet gambling), but no, there was nothing.”

A couple things on that:

1)    Harry Reid is a politician and a powerful one. He is about to lose some of that power when the Republicans take control of the house. He doesn’t want his career to end entirely in 2016. Is a Reid-Adelson RAWA deal totally unbelievable? Of course it isn’t. In fact, I say it is very believable and likely true. That’s just me – I don’t know for a fact it’s true – but it makes total sense. Harry Reid is a politician; I put nothing past politicians.
2)    “I’m glad he joined my position?” What the fuck is this shit? Sheldon Adelson, the man who has said he would do “whatever it takes” to shut down internet gambling has now joined YOUR side? So were all these gyrations you went through over the last few years trying to help get online poker legalized just another political move? This is all just such…I don’t even know.

2015 sounds like it should be great fun for poker fans in the United States.

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