Senate minority leader Harry Reid is retiring after the 2016 elections, the Nevada Democrat announced Friday. In a video message, the 75-year-old Reid claimed the decision had nothing to do with being in the minority, or with difficult reelection prospects, or with his recent accident in his home. But the injuries he sustained in that accident, he said, caused him to reevaluate and determine he would not run again for a sixth term in the Senate. So ends the tenure of one of Washington’s most petty, mercurial, and frustratingly (for Republicans) successful figures.
The fundamental story of Reid, particularly in his eight-year reign as majority leader, is one of a myopic authoritarian who scored short-term political and tactical gains while doing damage to the institution of the Senate and his own party. Oh, and he was kind of a jerk about it all.