WASHINGTON — The brouhaha over earmarked spending by members of Congress is like stomach gas and Peyton Manning: this too shall pass.
Sen. Harry Reid did not put it exactly that way, but made it clear in a story published over the weekend he believes that an anti-earmark crusade being led by Sen. John McCain and other conservatives is little more than a fad, and will fade.
"It's not a matter of substance," Reid told reporter Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post. "All these things come and go. Term limits -- all the Republicans were in favor of term limits. They were all in favor of the line-item veto. Now we're on earmarks. We don't have term limits. We don't have line-item veto. It will go away."
The Post story (which was reprinted in Sunday's Review-Journal) noted that with President Barack Obama the nation's top Democrat, the Senate majority leader has been able to shelve the attack dog persona that marked his job approach during the Bush years, and focus on getting bills passed -- five big ones so far.
The Los Angeles Times also weighed in with a Reid profile, making a point that one of the things Reid has going for him as he gears up for re-election is the inability so far of Republicans to find anyone to run against him.
Sure, Reid has brought home millions of dollars in federal projects, and put in place the machinery that has transformed Nevada from red to blue, Mark Z. Barabak wrote.
"More significantly, Reid has taken a scythe to the opposition, lopping off two of his likely challengers before they could position themselves to run; Rep. Jon Porter and state Sen. Joe Heck both lost re-election bids in 2008, with Reid operatives playing a key role. A third challenger, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, was indicted in December by the state's Democratic attorney general just days after expressing an interest in taking on Reid.
"The senator denies any involvement in the fraud case, but the timing only enhanced his intimidating reputation, giving others pause about entering the race."