Rise! The time has come! The government is no more! Or, well, at least that’s sort of what Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the Senate floor Thursday morning while talking about an energy bill.
“We’re diverted totally from what this bill is about,” he said. “Why? Because the anarchists have taken over. They’ve taken over the House, and now they’ve taken the Senate.”
While there are certainly Americans who wouldn’t mind seeing the current Congress descend into chaos and flames, that isn’t really quite what’s happening today. “The anarchists” Reid is referring to are just the remnants of the congressional tea party. And it’s not the first time he’s thrown around the term.
In an interview with NPR earlier this summer, Reid elaborated a bit more on his comparison.
Who is the tea party? Well, understand, when I was in school I studied government, among other things. And prior to World War I and after World War I we had the anarchists. Now, they were violent. Some say that’s what started World War One, the anarchy movement. But they were violent. They did damage to property and they did physical damage to people. The modern anarchists, don’t do that. That’s the tea party. But they have the same philosophy as the early anarchists. They do not believe in government. Any time anything bad happens to government, that’s a victory for them.
So should we expect that the tea party could lead to, well, another world war? Obviously not, and it’s hard to imagine that Reid really believes that either, especially given his hedging to NPR.
But, just a refresher for Reid and whoever else. Let’s consult a dictionary.
1. a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power.
2. a person who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order
So, sure, it’s unlikely that many tea partiers would disagree with the first part of Merriam-Webster’s definition. But it’s that second part that is just a bit too prickly for it to make any logical sense for Harry Reid to touch.
Update: Here’s video of today’s comments from C-SPAN: