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Harry Reid and the Great Double Standard

January 12, 2010

By now, every sentient being is aware of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks in his upcoming book about President Obama’s electoral chances being enhanced by his light-skinned appearance and lack of “negro dialect”, except when he wanted one, of course.

Reid’s remarks aren’t anything too unusual for a Democrat.  In fact, I’d say it’s par for the course for a political party that has stood for racial discrimination for over 150 years, even if they’ve managed to deftly change the target of their discriminatory beliefs in the past thirty or so years.  What’s incredible about Reid’s remarks is the stark contrast in the treatment he receives in contradistinction to noted Republicans who make far more innocuous statements that are instantly put up for public mockery and scorn by a complicit left-wing media. 

Republicans, to be sure, shouldn’t be calling for Reid’s resignation over the remarks, for the simple reason that it would further contrast the Republican method of dealing with controversy–which ought to be head-shaking disbelief–with standard DNC operation procedure, which is to hastily call for the immediate resignation of their political opponents with a fascistic zeal more appropriate to Stalin’s USSR than the United States Senate. 

What Republicans ought to be doing is simply highlighting, for the sake of simple documentation, how Reid is treated versus, say, how Trent Lott was treated at the time.

There is a bit of a difference between the off-the-cuff remarks given to toast a venerable 100 year-old statesman offered by Lott, and the premeditated sort of creepy racist bilge that spews forth from the twisted mind of the man who, not two months prior, equated the legislative struggle to subordinate 1/6 of the American economy to bureaucrats, to the civil rights struggle.  Again, not to put too fine a point on it, but I might point out that Reid’s party was mostly on the wrong side of that one, too.  Reid’s ruminations of the relative aesthetic appeal of the president’s skin tone are committed to print.  Lott selected a poor choice of wording for an extemporaneously delivered toast, and his words were twisted to mean that if Thurmond had been elected president, the country would have been better off based upon Thurmond’s stance as an avowed segregationist at the time. 

Now I’m no historian, but I believe that Thurmond’s platform consisted of various beliefs on various policy questions.  Segregation, as ignoble as the belief is and was, was simply one of those positions.  Was it out of the realm of possibility to imagine that Lott could have meant that Thurmond’s economic or national security positions would have made the country better off?  Why, of course not!  Nevermind the soul-searching quest for justification that is being waged on behalf of Prince Harry; there was a Republican to demagogue!

In contradistinction, Reid–again, in PRINT–implied that the president’s skin color and lack of “negro dialect” (whatever the hell that is) meant that he was more amenable to the Democratic Party.  There’s a bit of a difference there.

Republicans would do well to point out (as has been done exquisitely by the always sharp Patterico) that this is simply one more example of how Democrats get handled with kid gloves no matter the circumstances, while Republicans are hunted with a passion usually reserved for Osama bin-Laden.  Not calling for Reid’s resignation would have proven definitively that we are above petty squabbling, no matter how brazen a race-hustler the Democrat in question seems to be.

Beside–better that Reid suffer humiliating defeat in his reelection campaign anyway.  Let’s give ourselves a chance at truly deserved Schadenfreude!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 5:51 am

    I saw John [torture] Yoo on the Daily Show tonight explaining how when the president orders it, it’s not really torture. Very similar thought process as to the one you used explaining how Harry Reid’s comment about dialect was more racist than segragationalist Strom Thurmond’s platform, and Trent Lott’s lauding of the man.

    • michaeldiles permalink*
      January 12, 2010 5:56 am

      I note you don’t address my core argument, which is one of bias and hypocrisy. Also, you fail to explain how Lott’s statement is more racist. For the record, Lott’s statement was embarrassing and unacceptable. Reid’s was premeditated, and–if you had read the whole post you would have discovered this–committed to print. Obviously, there’s a bit of a qualitative difference there. I appreciate your comment, though.

  2. January 12, 2010 5:59 am

    It seems to me that Reid is taking his share of lumps so I din’t really see a double standard there. Check out my latest post and you will see a lifelong Democrat (me) extremely critical of Reid. I actually find it more offensive when a Democrat acts out since I expect more from them.

    • michaeldiles permalink*
      January 12, 2010 6:04 am

      I will give you that much–Reid is taking some heat. I urge you to follow the link to Patterico and read his compare and contrast piece on the L.A. Times’ coverage of the Reid kerfuffle versus the Lott incident at the time to see a pretty clear demonstration of what I’m talking about in terms of double standard. I don’t think Reid ought to resign, for the record. Reid was elected by the voters of Nevada and, barring some high crime or misdemeanor, ought to finish his term. However, especially in light of previous statements Reid has made that I also find to be racially tinged, I think there’s a clear basis to say the man has a problem. Lott didn’t have that sort of track record. I appreciate the comment and actually enjoyed reading your post. Thanks again.

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