In today’s Washington Post, Lois Romano offers a flattering profile of Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed:
Majority Leader Harry Reid tapped him last year to speak out on Iraq when Senate Democrats were getting clobbered by the White House. Hillary Clinton loves him, and Republican Chuck Hagel counts him among his best friends in the Senate. And the military guys respect the fact that Jack Reed– for a lawmaker pretty much considered a liberal Democrat — is one of them.
The senator from Rhode Island is far from a household name, and he’s not the kind of politician who instinctively turns toward the flashbulbs. You won’t find him on the cocktail circuit, and in fact, at 57 years old, he’s a bit of a homebody, having become a first-time father (Emily!) six months ago.
But in the past few years, the West Point graduate has traveled to Iraq 10 times and has emerged as one of the more respected voices in opposition to the Iraq war policy. This week he’s front and center to shape a debate on his own amendment, which calls for a troop redeployment by April 2008.
“We have more troops there; they are being more aggressive,” Reed said in an interview. “But it has not yet translated into the political momentum you need. . . . And the major premise for the surge, as the president announced, is that it would give the space needed for the Iraqi government to make tough decisions. They haven’t done it.”
Reed’s opinions come from a current, firsthand vantage point. He landed in Washington at 6 a.m. Monday, after flying all night from Iraq — commercially — arriving just in time to help shape the start of the long Senate debate on Iraq.
“He’s one of the most effective voices in the Senate on defense and national security,” said Hagel. “He’s got great credibility and relationships with all the senior military officials, veterans groups and soldiers. He studies the issues. . . . They trust him.” [full text]