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Kid Vengeance

Before Joe Lieberman attends his planned meeting with Harry Reid later this week, he might want to re-read Elsa Walsh's 2005 New Yorker profile of the then-Senate Minority Leader, in particular this anecdote:

“I believe in vengeance,” he once told a reporter. In May, he began a commencement address at George Washington University Law School by saying that the last time he had set foot on the campus was January, 1964—the year he graduated from the school.... When he [was down on his luck and] approached a dean for help, he recalled, the dean said, “ ‘Why don’t you just quit law school?’ I don’t remember exactly what I thought he would say, but that was not it,” he said. “Since that day, I’ve harbored ill will toward this school.”

and this one:

When I asked what got him interested in politics, he had a one-word reply: “Rudeness.” He explained that not long after he returned to Henderson to practice law, a client, a doctor, had asked him to accompany him to an administrative hearing at a hospital. “As we walked in, the chairman of the board of trustees said, ‘We don’t need lawyers here. We do what we want to do,’ ” Reid recalled. “It was just so rude. I wasn’t there to say anything. I was there just to watch. As a result of how rude he was, I decided to run for the hospital board.” He was elected in 1966, and not long afterward, he said, “we got him”—the administrator—“fired.”

and this one:

Reid had been lieutenant governor for four years when Senator Alan Bible announced his retirement. “I was a shoo-in,” Reid says. [Pollster Pat] Cadell assured him that he couldn’t lose. “I showed him,” Reid says. “I lost by six hundred and twenty-four votes,” to Paul Laxalt. When friends told him that such reverses always turn out for the best, he said, “I wanted to kick them in the shins.”

and, especially, this one:

In July of 1978, a man named Jack Gordon, who was later married to LaToya Jackson, offered Reid [who was then the chairman of the Nevada gaming commission] twelve thousand dollars to approve two new, carnival-like gaming devices for casino use. Reid reported the attempted bribe to the F.B.I. and arranged a meeting with Gordon in his office. By agreement, F.B.I. agents burst in to arrest Gordon at the point where Reid asked, “Is this the money?” Although he was taking part in a sting, Reid was unable to control his temper; the videotape shows him getting up from his chair and saying, “You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me!” and attempting to choke Gordon, before startled agents pulled him off.

To be a fly on the wall...

--Christopher Orr