Unethical Quote of the Week: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?… You guys have said his wealth is $250 million. Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”

—-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in an interview with The Huffington Post. Reid’s source for the accusation that Romney “did not pay taxes for ten years” is a an individual he refuses to name, and thus one whose allegations cannot be checked or substantiated.

Sen. Harry Reid

In the dirty, slimy world of politics, you can’t get much dirtier or slimier than Senator Reid. Richard Nixon would be proud of him;  Joe McCarthy would applaud, Joseph Goebbels too, and every low-life, gutter-dwelling lie-monger who has used innuendo and rumor to smear candidates, opponents and strategically-chosen victims in between.

Reid is a leader of the Democratic Party, and the Party is accountable for his words. Fair Americans have been justifiably disgusted with the likes of Donald Trump, who has suggested that President Obama’s reluctance to release his scholastic records, and before that his birth certificate, were proof of something nefarious. Guilty until proven innocent—this is the secret ingredient of Big Lie politics, and that is what Reid, who really is beneath contempt here, is practicing. Reid makes Trump look fair and Newt Gingrich look moderate by comparison, and any Democrat, whatever they think of Mitt Romney, that doesn’t have the integrity to condemn this kind of abuse should be have himself fumigated.

If Reid has actual evidence that Mitt Romney is a tax cheat, for ten years or even to the more limited extent of the current Secretary of the Treasury, let him produce it. Mitt Romney choosing not to release his taxes is proof of nothing, except that he chooses not to do it, exactly like President Obama’s choice to wthhold his transcripts. If teh Senator has a real source who claims that Romney is a tax evader, let him come forward, or shut up about him. His current anecdotal and anonymous source  has neither credibility nor reliability, if indeed he exists. I have no trust that he does exist, because a man, like Reid, who would stoop this low would stoop to anything, including lying about imaginary sources.

Here are some similar statements for the Majority Leader:

“Harry Reid is a serial killer! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain.”

“Harry Reid is a secret member of Al Qaeda! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain.”

“Harry Reid performs fellatio on goats! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain.”

All are as fair and justifiable as Reid’s Romney smear. And here is one more:

“Harry Reid is a disgrace to the U.S. Senate! Now, do I know that that’s true?”

I sure do.


Pointer: Slate

Facts: Huffington Post

Graphic: BBC

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.


34 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Week: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    • After I posted this, I discovered that the conservative blogs have settled on the accusation that Harry is a pedophile. Seems pretty cliched to me, after the Sandusky mess and all—I like yours better.

        • I specifically note that the “self-claimed” ethicist slur will get you banned here. Ethicists are people who make their living teaching, writing and talking about ethics, and I do. “Self-claimed’ implies a false claim. Smile when you say that, pardner. I won’t be insulted like that.

  1. It isn’t a big deal to me. I do think that if one side is asked to release information, the other side should release it as well. It is unfair to speculate what there is or isn’t there. What Harry Reid said isn’t much different than what Trump claims was a fact. Mr. Reid should have never said it. It is fair to question why Mr. Romney hasn’t released the same information that Mr. Obama has or hasn’t released. I was waiting for the Democrats to say something about Mr. Romney’s faith. Would Harry Reid then defend Mr. Romney like Mr. McCain defended Huma Abedin?

      • He’s “unethical scum?” I’m not sure that helps an ethical debate any. That’s a lot like just calling him a “dirty liar” – without any proof. FWIW I think both sides are acting like kids, but that what is infuriating to some on the right is that this is such an effective technique. There is a real question here, people (including conservatives like George Will and The National Review) want to know what the big deal is about Romney’s taxes, and about what that says about him.

        • What??? What is your favored term for a high official who makes an accusation of criminal conduct against a political candidate without any evidence whatsoever? “Dirty liar” is also 100% accurate—how is it not? Reid is lying, and the tactic is dirty politics…hence “dirty liar.”

          I’ll stand by unethical scum. He’s a disgrace. He degrades his office and the Senate. “Scum” is metaphorical, and suggests the lowest for of life. I believe Reid is the lowest form of political life, based on that conduct.

          Romney’s tax returns are irrelevant to the issue. Completely. You’re changing the subject.

          • effective != ethical

            This is an effective technique, but it’s mudslinging. If you defend Democrats when they sling mud, then you are justifying mudslinging from Republicans.

            Yes, you can want Democrats to be decisive and go on the offensive, but they should go on the offensive with truths, not crap.

      • If every Senator who acts like Donald Trump were impeached, the Republicans would be wiped out in the Senate.

        Since 2009, the Republicans in the Senate have filibustered more bills in any years than the Democrats did in the entire previous 110 year combined. Somehow frustrating the government from working is fine with you.

        Which of all these fine Republican Senators chastised Rush Limbaugh? None. Not one of them dared to say Limbaugh was wrong to call a Georgetown student a slut. That she should make porn movies for Limbaugh’s entertainment. That she couldn’t have time to study if she was so busy having sex. NOT ONE. Yet, you claim Reid is unethical scum.

        • Again, awful analogy. Rush Limbaugh is a radio personality—no elected official has any obligation to criticize him, and in my view, its inappropriate to do so. Obama didn’t say anything about Bill Maher, a million dollar supporter of his,, calling Sarah Palin a twat, either—and he shouldn’t have. You’re making a comparison between a Gop Senator NOT criticizing protected speech of someone who doesn’t speak for him to a Senator spreading slander about a public figure on the floor of the Senate without any evidence that can be checked or confirmed? How does that figure?

          • Well we know the answer to that, don’t we?

            In the school discipline context, civil rights activists will swear that a disproportionate number of suspensions of black kids—meaning more than their percentage in the system, is proof of racial bias, regardless of the presence of other factors such as lack of a father living with the family, socio-economic status and history of discipline problems. They will immediately be backed by ideologically blinded regulators who will threaten harsh legal action, fines and other measures unless the statistics are brought into “proportion.” This will cause the schools either to not punish blacks who deserve it, punish whites who don’t, not punish anyone, submit to lawsuits, or, most likely of all, put in such burdensome due process measures that no teacher will ever try to discipline anyone, and the schools will get even more dysfunctional than they already are.

  2. Which transcripts did Obama withhold? There have been so many claims about withheld transcripts and sealed records that I just curious which transcripts you were referencing.

    • The birthers got snookered when the Governor of Hawaii stood up and stated that Obama’s birth certificate was valid. So they have now demanded that Obama show his school records to prove something else along the lines that he is still in eligible to be President. It is just an extension of their denial that a black man sits in the Oval Office.

      They have now expanded that to include that Obama has spent millions hiding his records. Oh, and they also include he has falsified his passport.

      • as far as i can tell, those who demanded to see transcripts thought the documents would demonstrate that PBO benefited from affirmative action, which in their minds is unpardonable. it has been reported that he got his JD magna cum laude, so if affirmative action was a factor in his admission to harvard law, i would consider that to be evidence of its great value to society.

  3. i must have missed something. when did reid say romney was a ‘tax cheat’ or ‘tax evader’? when did he make an ‘accusation of criminal conduct’? what did he say that amounted to ‘spreading slander’? such suggestions go beyond innuendo. i have not seen your quote of any statement by reid that can be properly characterized by any of your phrases that i quoted.

    • You are acting like a troll. “Didn’t pay taxes” suggests that there were taxes to pay. When someone says, “He doesn’t pay his taxes.” that suggests tax evasion. If someone like Romney pays NO taxes (Reid didn’t say he paid “few taxes” or “not enough.”), that implies criminal tax evasion, because everyone assumes he would have some taxes to pay, as Reid well knows. I stand by my characterization.

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