Columnist sees weakened Reid in Senate


Boston Globe columnist Peter Canellos opines that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may be losing his grip on the Senate, and speculates that Sen. Edward Kennedy's illness may be the reason.

Reid's ability to keep his diverse caucus of Senate Democrats relatively unified has always been remarkable. But there have been signs of slippage lately, Canellos notes, such as a revolt in the caucus against the terms of Reid's recruitment of Sen. Arlen Specter. And Reid has lost a key ally due to the fact that Kennedy is sidelined by illness.

"None of these missteps have been especially egregious, and they have been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's contention that CIA briefers misled her about the Bush administration's interrogation policies," Canellos writes in the column published Tuesday.

"But that hasn't stopped liberal commentators and bloggers from voicing their dissatisfaction with Reid. While the leader remains personally popular with his Democratic colleagues, some Senate watchers believe that his ability to control the chamber has been weakened. "

The fact that Reid is running for re-election in Nevada puts him in a tough spot, as he must simultaneously show voters back home he is independent and show his colleagues in Washington he's a leader, Canellos writes.