The top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, will not run for reelection. He made the announcement in a YouTube video:
In the video, Reid says:
These bruises I have on my face, on my eye, are an inconvenience, but trust me they’re nothing compared to some of the bruises I got when I was fighting in the ring. When I was a boy, I dreamed of being an athlete. I listened to those games on the radio, baseball games, and I envisioned me as a man out in center field at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in Boston. But the joy I’ve gotten with the work that I’ve done for the people of the state of Nevad has been just as fulfilling as if I had played center field at Yankee Stadium.
The job of minority leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the majority leader. It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that’s what I am focused on.
But this accident has caused us for the first time to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than us. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election.
My friend, Senator McConnell, don’t be too elated. I am going to be here for twenty-two months, and you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.
We have to make sure that the Democrats take control of the Senate again. And I feel it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources on me when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that’s what I intend to do.
The decision that I’ve made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, it has nothing to do with my being minority leader and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be re-elected because the path to re-election is much easier than probably has been any time that I’ve run for re-election.
I get a little upset sometimes when I hear politicians say that they’re gonna go and spend time with their family after they decide that they’re not gonna be in politics anymore. He’s a wonderful husband and a wonderful father. And so that’s been more important than the other things that he’s done with his life.
SENATOR HARRY REID
Someone with my background, my upbringing, to have the experiences I’ve had is really a miracle and I want the people of the state of Nevada to know that I am so grateful. And I have done my best. I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve really tried my hardest to represent the people of the state of Nevada.
Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.
Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.
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Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense: