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The Character Assault On Henry Saad.

Harry Reid is quickly making a nasty habit of making unclassy (and sometimes malicious) remarks, unbecoming of a party leader. Rank-and-file Democrats ought to be ashamed of how low their party leadership has sunk.


Harry Reid's (weren't we told he would be moderate and mild-mannered) latest smear:

"Henry Saad would have been filibustered anyway. He's one of those nominees. All you need to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree there is a problem there."

He's referring, of course, to President Bush's November 8, 2001 nominee to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Henry Saad, of Michigan.


The Washington Times explains:

Those highly confidential reports are filed on all judicial nominees, and severe sanctions apply to anyone who discloses their contents.

A little background on Saad:

Judge Saad, an Arab-American, was born in Detroit; his confirmation would make him the first Arab-American appointee to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan. The American Bar Association rates him positively (.pdf), and the seat to which Judge Saad has been nominated has been deemed a judicial emergency (.pdf), meaning the vacancy is handicapping America's system of justice.

Henry Saad has gained bipartisan majorities in two state-wide elections in "blue state" Michigan, in 1996 and 2002.

Saad is good enough for the people of Michigan, but not good enough for Michigan's Senators. Their campaign against Saad has been head-shakingly poor.

National Review's Byron York examines the calculated slander campaign against Saad, explaining that the Democrats' objections to Saad originated from the petty obstructionism of Democrat Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan:

Saad, along with three other Bush picks for the Sixth Circuit, has been blocked by Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, not because of any ideological objections but because Levin and Stabenow are angry that two Democratic nominees for the Sixth Circuit were not confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate during the Clinton years. Levin is said to be especially angry because one of those Clinton nominees, Helene White, is the wife of one of Levin's cousins.


Essentially, Levin and Stabenow want the President to re-nominate Helen White and Kathleen McCree, the nominees denied confirmation under President Clinton. That's their excuse, at least.

The Democrats, our country's ever-diminishing minority party, feel they are merely engaging in some kind of morally acceptable tit-for-tat. This is justified revenge, they assert.

The gaping hole in that argument (which gets right to the heart of the filibuster controversy):

Previously, judicial nominees were blocked by the majority party. Today, even when nominees have the votes to pass, they are blocked by the minority party. This is such a self-evident, fundamental difference, it literally makes my head ache to have to explain it.

Stabenow, incidentally, faces reelection in 2006; in her campaign in 2000, she only received 49.47% of the vote.


But the unethical smearing is not exclusively coming from Reid, or even Levin and Stabenow. Enter Pat Leahy.


York explains that on June 3, 2004, Vermont Senator Pat Leahy also floated innuendo regarding Saad's FBI clearance:

Sen. Patrick Leahy, who was angry that then-chairman Orrin Hatch was pushing the Saad nomination through the committee, and who had access to FBI material on Saad in his role as ranking Democrat on the committee, made a public reference to Saad's background check, saying it contained allegations of a "very serious nature." Leahy did not elaborate.

It's enough to make a guy feel the urge to drop an F-bomb on him.

Ed Morrissey is justifiably fuming over Reid's character assassination:

Reid just conducted nothing short of a Joe McCarthy-style character assassination, a tradition that Senate Democrats had come close to recreating on judicial nominations over the past few months anyway. Talking vaguely about information in secret files showing that Saad has some unnamed unfitness for office differs in no way from waving around a sheet of paper and claiming to possess a list of Communist sympathizers in the Army. He has now publicly smeared Saad in a manner that absolutely allows no public defense. No matter what happens, people will always wonder if Saad is hiding something, especially with an Arabic-sounding surname.

Reid may or may not have broken the law by his statement; my guess is he didn't, because I believe him to have lied in his characterization. I believe Harry Reid cowardly chose a way in which to smear Henry Saad that would not allow anyone to defend him. Reid should not just be censured by the Senate as a whole, but stripped of his leadership post and his committee assignments. Let him serve the rest of his term as a member at large, gathering dust on the back benches of the Senate, where he can live with his cowardice and his despicable acts.

Just to elaborate on one point, it is clear what the Democrats' game is with Henry Saad. Imagine you know nothing about Henry Saad, but you, like most Americans, take a cursory glance at the news each day. You will hear there is a "problem" with the "FBI file" of an "Arab American."

That Harry Reid even knows what is in Henry Saad's FBI file, a report Saad himself has no access to, and is using whatever is in it (or not in it) to bolster his case against President Bush's judicial nominees, is absolutely disgusting. It is intellectually dishonest at best, racist (and illegal) demagoguery at worst.

So what is Reid's defense?

That the information in Saad's FBI clearance is well-known around town. Democrats cite articles such as this one, in which information in Saad's confidential file was discussed in the media back in June of 2004 (ironically, the article is hosted at "civilrights.org"):

Levin and Stabenow testified Thursday during the private meeting. They said before the meeting that they would discuss information from Saad's FBI background check that raised doubts about his ability to serve, but they wouldn't elaborate.

Senator Reid, that doesn't make your recent comment okay. It just bolsters the case that your party is slimy, increasingly desperate, increasingly bankrupt of ideas, and thus they must increasingly rely on ad hominem character assassination.

Kevin Aylward of Wizbang, also rightfully angry, also notes that Reid's defense ("Henry Saad's background is well-known") is bunk.

Senator Reid is clearly incapable of going more than a week without yet another major lapse in judgment, something rank-and-file Democrats might want to consider.

Does Harry Reid speak for Democrats? Or does Howard Dean? Either way, you have a vitriol-filled, left-wing obstructionist representing your party.

The Justice Department isn't happy with Reid's comments (via Captain's Quarters):

The Justice Department is edging into the Senate controversy over judicial nominees, writing key lawmakers after Democratic Leader Harry Reid publicly referred to an FBI file on one of President Bush's controversial appointees.

"The letter expressed concern about recent remarks on the floor of the Senate which alluded to an FBI background investigation file provided by the Department of Justice to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a confidential basis in connection with a judicial nomination," a department official said Friday night.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 May 2005 04:38 PM


Business as usual for our Democrat Socialist friends in Washington. Oppose, oppose, oppose is what they have agreed to do. AND OPOSE is just what they are doing!...It is the anti-american way of government. It is Socialism at it's best. Henry Reid is still a BIG LOSER! He continues so often these days to show what a BIG LOSER he is...SO speaking of our Socialist friends, ...How is Howard Dean doing on the Bernie Sanders issue? Joseph Biden is another worthless idiot! I am getting carried away here! Shall I go on? No I think they all speak for themselves. They certainly don't speak for the majority of Americans! Self Centered Partisan Socialist Idiots

Posted by: Cindy T. at May 13, 2005 05:43 PM

Senator Reids comments are just making the Republicans and all the other parties look pretty good these days...Keep it up Harry! You loser! Keep talking...

Posted by: Linda at May 13, 2005 06:17 PM

Patrick Leahy needs to talk to John Kerry about getting a fake tan! He is as white as a ghost. Yikes he looks like he could use a blood transfusion!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 13, 2005 06:43 PM

Hari Kari.

Posted by: Bill at May 14, 2005 07:22 AM

Empty barrels make the most noise is a great saying! Harry is another Scary loser in the world of liberal politcs!...

Posted by: Taffy at May 14, 2005 07:59 PM

Harry Reid should do push ups everytime he puts foot in mouth.

Posted by: Ishka at May 14, 2005 08:26 PM

You conveniently left off the last sentence in that quote from the Detroit Free Press article:

"Hatch said after the meeting that no new charges were levied against Saad. 'The allegations were pro and con, but mostly pro,' Hatch said."

This is old news, and was spoken of a year ago publicly by none other than Senator Hatch. It's a fake scandal drummed up by the right wing machine in a desperate attempt to smear Reid because Frist doesn't have the votes. Sorry, but you got nuthin' here.

Posted by: Bee at May 14, 2005 08:30 PM

First I'd heard about it, Bee.

Posted by: Am I A Pundit Now? at May 15, 2005 12:52 PM

The right wing machine doesn't need to smear Harry Reid. He is doing a great job smearing himself...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 15, 2005 08:22 PM