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Congress' Leaders Showed Exactly How Broken They Are In Just 10 Minutes

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WASHINGTON -- Legendary coach Tommy Lasorda liked to kick dirt on umpires every now and then, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) noted Wednesday in a Senate floor speech. So did Lou Piniella, said Reid, who was sorry he didn't have pro dirt-kickers to root for when he was a kid growing up in the Silver State.

His point in bringing up two of baseball's renowned turf-scuffers wasn't nostalgia, as he made clear when he got around to it. The long, folksy windup was merely a vehicle for an unflattering comparison to the House Republican leadership, which Reid sees as kicking dirt with their threat to sue President Barack Obama over his executive actions.

Like the base bawlers, Reid said, the GOP's tirades are just for show, a way to distract from other problems and perhaps give their team a lift.

"It was a gimmick many times, a distraction meant to sidetrack one side and rally the other," Reid said. "In the House of Representatives, the Republican leadership in the House are trying a similar tactic by threatening to bring suit against the president of the United States. They're searching desperately for something -– anything -– to keep the radicals within their own caucus over there, to keep 'em happy. That's hard to do as we've seen. They want to do this to divert the American people's attention from their very own inaction."

The majority leader made a persuasive case, citing conservative criticism of the lawsuit idea and pointing out some of the proposals -- such as immigration reform -- that the Senate has passed only to see them die in the House.

But even as Reid was speaking, those same Republican leaders took to the microphones in their weekly press conference. Their main points: Obama is out of control, Congress is broken because of Reid's inaction, and Reid should listen to them.

"America's priorities are our priorities," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"Clearly there's a roadblock in Washington, D.C., and that roadblock is Harry Reid," said Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), the vice chair of the House Republican Conference.

The Republicans' remarks were much punchier than Reid's -- they finished faster than he wrapped up his soliloquy -- and they were about as persuasive. They cited all the bills the House has passed: 294, according to House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). And where Reid quoted conservatives such as Sarah Palin criticizing the GOP, the Republicans cited Democrats griping about Reid.

Perhaps such comments are about as rare as spilled beer at the ballgames Reid wishes he could go to more often, but in about 10 minutes, speaking simultaneously, they managed to boil down what the real problem is: Each side claims that the other is entirely wrong, while they are entirely right.

Watch it above, shortened to about two minutes. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the Republican Conference chair, provides the punchline that probably everyone will agree with.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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