Reid re-election campaign really started this week

Those who are certain Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will lose in November apparently are short on perspective, or possess an overabundance of wishful thinking.

Sure, Reid is behind in the polls right now. No question about that. But a lot can happen in nine months. A lot.

Keep in mind the recent change of heart among the people of Massachusetts. That state’s special Senate election turned upside down in barely two weeks’ time.

Consider two big news events from this week. First, the president’s budget proposes to zero out funding for the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain and withdraw the licensing application. If you think this is unrelated to Reid’s re-election campaign, I have some rainforest in Pahrump I’d like to give you a great deal on.

Reid has been fighting Yucca Mountain for many years. He’s been successful is keeping the waste at bay but not at killing the project. To finally kill it outright this year will be a huge plus for his re-election.

The second event may or may not have been intentional but it helps Reid either way. President Obama made a remark Tuesday to the effect that people saving money for college shouldn’t "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas." This rational observation by the president triggered an avalanche of bluster from Nevada politicians, who apparently believe blowing money in Las Vegas should take precedence over saving for college.

In any case, it gave Reid an opportunity to criticize the president, with whom he has been so closely associated — not always in a positive light — over the past year. Reid’s retort: "The president needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money."

Of course, sticking to the political script, Obama quickly apologized to Reid and insisted that he intended no harm. "There is no better place to have fun than Vegas, one of our country’s great destinations," Obama said.

We can fully expect more clever ways for Reid to look good to Nevada voters in the coming months. Campaign advertising will be plentiful but it’s only part of the package. Another boost to Reid will come March 27, when Sarah Palin kicks off her "Tea Party Express" whatever-it-is in Searchlight, Reid’s hometown.

This event undoubtedly wil be a huge economic boon to the small mining town, thanks almost entirely to Reid’s association with it. Asked to comment on the Palin event, Reid cleverly quipped: "Make sure you stop by the Nugget for a 10-cent cup of coffee with free refills — and make sure to say ‘Hi’ to Verlie."

(If I were the Nugget, I’d charge at least a dollar per cup on March 27, but that’s just me.)

Reid has a ton of work to do if he wants to earn another term. But as this week’s events suggest, counting him out now would not be a sign of wisdom or experience.

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