The high-stakes political battle between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken a new turn, and it’s as ugly as Jerry Sandusky’s future.
The Urban Dictionary, an fast-evolving online lexicon that promotes itself as “the dictionary you wrote,” has added a new definition of Reid that seems calculated to respond to the Nevada senator’s recent claims about Romney’s alleged federal income tax evasion.
“Harry Reid,” the dictionary now says, is defined as “[a]n unofficial rap sheet of alleged pederasty and sexual abuse of minors by anonymous sources that may not exist.”
The definition emerged, the dictionary notes, “after an explosion of reports surfaced online and on the airwaves, that [Reid] is a serial pederast. The outlets reporting the allegations all protected the anonymity of their sources, and no one knows if the allegations are true, but they’re out there. A spokesperson for Reid declined to deny them.”
It’s unknown who submitted the definition. The Urban Dictionary employs a panel of moderators who approve of reject new definitions, many of which hinge on pop-culture references.
Reid attracted criticism from conservatives after he told The Huffington Post on July 31 that an unnamed Bain Capital investor told him Romney “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”
And speaking August 2 on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Reid doubled down. “The word is out that [Romney] has not paid any taxes for 10 years,” Reid declared. “Let him prove he has paid taxes, because he has not.”
Republicans’ complaints have largely centered on the anonymity of Reid’s source, which makes his allegation impossible to prove. The same phenomenon apparently applies to The Urban Dictionary’s anonymous, unsubstantiated claim — which is obviously false — that Reid himself is a “pederast,” or a man who has sexual relations with young boys.
The Internet meme that put the new Reid definition on the map originated within hours of Reid’s initial statement, when conservatives began to use the Twitter hash-tag “#HarryReidisaPederast.” At one point that evening, the hash-tag was the top trending item on Twitter in the United States.
“Some guy told me #HarryReidIsAPederast,” read one typical tweet. “Not sure if its true, but I should probably just throw it out there and let the people decide.”
“So an unnamed source has told another that #HarryReidIsAPederast,” tweeted another user. “Reid is silent. Where’s the front page story @HuffingtonPost?”
The Twitter account managed by Ace of Spades, a conservative blog, now declares that it is “[a]n account to remember the alleged victims of Harry Reid, and those fresh victims inevitably to come.”
“If Harry Reid isn’t a pederast, why is everyone saying he is?” that account tweeted Aug. 2. “People don’t just make up vicious smears for political advantage.”
A Google search Wednesday evening turned up more than 482,000 results for the combination of “Harry Reid” and “pederast.”
Reid’s liberal allies have largely supported him in his claim that Romney failed to pay taxes for a full decade — including a super PAC affiliated with the powerful AFL-CIO federation of labor unions. (RELATED: Liberals have Dirty Harry’s back on tax charge against Romney)
Reid and other Democrats have argued that Romney should make public his personal income tax returns for more than the two years he has already released. The move is seen as an attempt to paint the former Massachusetts governor as an out-of-touch, wealthy elite.
But Reid’s accusation that he is also a tax evader — a charge that Romney has flatly denied — has put Republicans in a box, since releasing ten years’ worth of tax returns is the only practical way to demonstrate that Reid’s claim is false.
Fact-checkers at the Tampa Bay Times’ “PolitiFact” website quickly declared that Reid’s public accusation is false, giving it a “Pants on Fire” rating on July 31.
Update: Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson has not responded to The Daily Caller’s request, first made August 4, for confirmation or denial about whether the Senate Majority Leader is in fact a pederast. Jentleson offered a one-word comment on the developing story to the Ace of Spades blog on Aug. 3: “Cute.”