Reid Eats Own Foot; Gets Caught Saying What He Believes

January 11, 2010

For those of you who didn’t know it, there’s a double standard between the ways that Republicans are treated when they say or do stupid things, and the way Democrats are treated. Shocking, I know.

The easy comparison that’s being made all over the blogosphere today is the way Trent Lott was treated when he said that Strom Thurmond would have made a good President, and the way Harry Reid is being treated when he said that a “light-skinned” black man with “no Negro dialect” would make a good President.

Trent Lott’s mistake in trying to say something nice about a man on his 100th birthday was to forget that when Thurmond ran for President back in 1948 he was a segregationist. My guess is that the political platform on which Thurmond ran, as bad as it may have been, was not even slightly in Lott’s mind. Lott had known Thurmond for a number of years, had worked with him, and befriended him. The 100-year old man whose birthday party they were celebrating was not the same Dixiecrat segregationist he had been 54 years earlier. I thought at the time that it was a stupid comment, meant harmlessly.

Still, Lott was virtually crucified for the comment and the first critics were Republicans and conservatives. Some of this may have been guided by ulterior motives: Lott was never a popular Senate Majority Leader among conservatives who saw him (rightfully) as a pork-crazy, wishy-washy, inept leader, and this was an excellent chance to kill the king. What the Democrats saw was also a political opportunity, but with a particularly malodorous strain. For the Dems it was less about killing the king as it was about tarnishing the entire Republican party as closet racists longing for a return to the good ol’ days of Jim Crow. Many conservatives and Republicans wanted Lott to step down so they could put one of their own in his place. The Democrats wanted Lott to step down as some sort of tacit evidence of a poisoned ideology coursing through the bloodstreams of all Republicans.

Now the tables are turned and it is the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who has been caught trying his best to swallow his own foot. This time, however, the Democrats are fine with it, since Reid apologized (Lott did, also, to no avail), and it is just the Republicans who are clamoring for the head of Harry Reid.

I would compare Reid’s comments to Lott’s in this way: Reid’s comments were also stupid, but harmlessly meant. I don’t believe that Reid harbors racist tendencies and I don’t believe he’s got a white hood hanging up in his closet. He has apologized to Obama, and owes a mea culpa to the political class in general. I don’t believe Reid should be forced to step down. I do think he is a typical white liberal, who has spent many years pining away for what Rick Brookhiser termed “The Numinous Negro“, and who believes that the vast majority of voters (i.e., white voters) are racists who would be unwilling to vote for a man of too dark a hue. If there is racism in Reid’s comments it is the odd brand of self-loathing racism that bedevils many so-called Progressives: so unsure of their own hearts, they project their desperate need for approval and reassurance of their inherent goodness onto others in their own ethnicity. Now, of course, he is defending himself by accusing Republicans of being racist (not for the first time: he recently compared people opposed to health care reform as being like slave owners). Apparently to the Democrats, any opposition to the NAACP—one of the most radical liberal groups in the country—is racist.

My guess is that there were not too many Obama supporters who voted for him because he was light-skinned enough. But there is Reid thinking that the (white) people who swept Obama into office were so racist that they would consider the actual shade of darkness of Obama’s skin. Reid should probably be made to understand that the reason Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were never elected President (they both ran) was not because they were too dark-skinned, but because they were (and are) way outside of the mainstream of political thought in this country. Barack Obama presented himself to voters as being a mainstream candidate, though the truth turned out to be far different.

In the end, Reid has fallen victim to the identity politics practiced to near-perfection by the Democratic Party in America. Reid has assumed that all of America views people as he does: as mere representatives of ethnic groups. What he said may not have been racist in the sense that he was not suggesting any sort of superiority or inferiority of one ethnic group or another, but make no mistake: this is how Harry Reid, and the Democrats in general, really view the world.

Hot Air sums up the double-standard nicely, and Michelle Malkin’s got more here.

Is Criticism of Obama Racist?

September 16, 2009

In the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst at President Obama’s State of the Healthcare Debate address to a joint session of Congress, more critics are coming out and claiming that criticism of Obama is based on race.

On Saturday, Maureen Dowd wrote in her New York Times column:

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!…Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber.

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

Today, the Drudge Report is highlighting an AP article that quotes former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter saying “I think it’s based on racism….There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

Then there’s this evergreen chestnut from Georgia representative Hank Johnson: “We will probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again, riding through the countryside intimidating people. That’s the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.”

Yes, there’s a fine line between accusing a President who was, to be charitable, not telling the whole story about something, and hooded Klansmen running rampant through the halls of Congress. The logic is indisputable. Somebody should call Robert Byrd…he’ll know what to do in just such an emergency.

All of this proves several things. The first thing it proves is that if you managed to combine Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter into one person, like grafting Ray Milland’s head onto Rosie Grier’s body, you would have something with the intelligence, the wit, and the charm of a giant isopod.

But I digress.

I’ve never heard of Georgia rep Hank Johnson, so I won’t comment on him here except to say that his comments about this subject are so simplistic they actually cross the border into the territory of feeble-mindedness. However, the very concept of Jimmy Carter, an anti-Semitic fool who presided over a failed Presidential term and who toadied up to every monstrous dictator who graciously gave him boot licking privileges, is going to lecture anyone about anything is staggering. Jimmy Carter was, is, and always will be, an absolute embarrassment to this country. At least Maureen Dowd is only an embarrassment to the New York Times and the Pulitzer committee.

But are they right? Is the criticism of Obama, from “You lie” to the town hall protesters, based on race?

While I’m sure that there are people out there who don’t want a black President because of the color of his skin or some perceived “otherness,” the short answer is NO. I’m loath to admit, to borrow MoDo’s phrase, that there are any people out there who think this way, mainly because my admission will be seen by the Left as another conservative conceding their point. But there are racists in the world, and they do have a problem with a black President. Newsflash people: You think Louis Farrakhan disliked George Bush because of his No Child Left Behind policy? Racists come in all colors, and just as there are whites (and Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Inuits, and Arabs) who don’t like Obama because of his skin color, there are also blacks (and Asians, blah blah blah) who didn’t like George Bush or any of his predecessors because of their race. Let’s face it: a lot of the criticism of the Founding Fathers that has emerged in the last twenty years has been of the “they’re Dead White Men” school of non-thought. How is that not racist?

The fact is that people dislike Obama for the same reasons people disliked George Bush. For some it’s strictly party-based. For most it’s based on policy. For a tiny few, it’s based on race.

Accusing Obama’s critics of racism is a vicious trick used by the Left. In the world of politics, accusations of being “racist” carry considerably more baggage than “adulterer” or even “thief.” The charge is the atomic bomb of political accusations and it is designed to end the debate and shut the other side up. That is what Dowd, Carter, Johnson and their ilk are really doing here: they do not like the way the debate over health care (or whatever the current debate may be) is unfolding, and they are trying to stifle anyone who disagrees with them by marginalizing those people as “racists.” Frankly, this says more about the people hurling the accusations than it does the recipients of their phony outrage. With the rarest of exceptions (I’ve never once met anyone who has disliked Obama because of race), the accusations are untrue and should be either ignored or exposed as the political weapons they are. They’re just a way for the operatives on the Left to say “Shut up.”

Michelle Malkin has more on the House rebuke of Joe Wilson while Hot Air brings you video and commentary on Hank Johnson and thoughts on Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile at First Things, The Anchoress beats up on all concerned…deservedly so.

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