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Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in Politics | 7 comments

Giving Reid and McConnell the Benefit of the Doubt

I may regret this, but here it goes.

Consistent with my “stop the hate” post earlier today, I am going to give the Senate Majority Leader and his counterpart the benefit of the doubt on this one.

As has already been reported, progressive Dems complained about the Baucus-Grassley bill, after which it appears Reid consulted with Baucus and Grassley, as well as Minority Leader McConnell. Underwhelmed by the Republican response, Reid decided to go for a more streamlined bill.

Here’s one theory about how the conversation with McConnell might have gone …

Reid: I just met with the progressive wing of our party and I’m getting major heat about this bill from them. But we’ll try to get it through anyway. How much Republican support can we count on?

McConnell: We’ll look at it, but no promises.

That would be a perfectly reasonable response from McConnell, especially if Grassley failed to consult with him beforehand. At the same time, if this is representative of the actual conversation, then it’s hard to begrudge Reid his decision.

On the other hand, their confab might have gone something like this …

Reid: I just met with the progressive wing of our party and I’m getting major heat about this bill from them. I’m not sure we’ll be able to get this through in its current form. How fixated are you on the current version?

McConnell: We’ll have to look at it more closely, but I trust Grassley and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get something like the current version approved.

In that case, it would appear Reid lost his nerve and caved to the progressive Democrats.

Granted, we may never know which of those or some other scenario transpired. And I suspect there are many who will be quick to jump to the latter conclusion, i.e., that Reid lost his nerve. But again, for my part, until we know more — if we ever know more — I’ll give both him and McConnell the benefit of the doubt. Not because I have any vested interest in doing so, but because I’m on a new kick of innocent until provent incompetent.

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