February 24th, 2017

Beyond the Beltway
By Michael Green

The Eye of History

There’s an old saying about how those in the eye of the hurricane or twister or cyclone don’t really know they are–that’s where it’s calm. The same is generally true of historical eras. Think of the people who fought the Civil War. They certainly knew it was a historic time. But was it an end or a beginning? It was hard to say then–in fact, it’s hard to say now.

But today is the end of an era. For the first time since the morning of this day in 1983, Harry Reid isn’t a member of the United States Congress. No Nevadan has served longer; he leaves the Senate tied for five full terms with John Percival Jones, a Comstock millionaire who served from 1873 to 1903. Reid’s two terms in the House make him the record-holder.

Whatever you think of Reid–he’s been a mildly controversial figure over the years–no one can question that he made history. Actually, when you’re talking about members of Congress, they all do at some point. But Reid rose higher than any other Nevadan ever has–Senate majority leader. He has advised presidents, passed their agendas, helped undo their agendas–and pushed them to run or not to run.

So, some Democrats may be crying and some Republicans may be celebrating, but the loss of Reid’s power could be very meaningful for Nevada (and the country–but that’s another matter). And it is now Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and Nevadans have elected the first Latina U.S. senator. You don’t need to go beyond the eye of the twister to see that today is a historic day.