Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is supposedly a champion of African Americans and advocate of civil rights for all. However, a much different image emerges from the new book, “Game Change.”
Reid is quoted as touting the chances of Barack Obama to win the presidency because he is “light-skinned” and does not possess “Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.” After the remarks were publicized, Reid immediately apologized for his comments, but he did not explain the context for his remarks or why he made such a disparaging statement.
Negro is certainly not a common way to describe African Americans in 2010. It is reminiscent of the pre-civil rights era of the 1950’s. It seems clear that Reid is not only caught in a time warp, he is also a racist. Sadly, civil rights groups defended Reid, with the Congressional Black Caucus rushing to the microphones to offer their support. There is little doubt that if Reid was a conservative Republican, there would be deafening outrage. The entire incident once again exposed the sickening and unfortunate double standard that exists in our political system today. A Democrat has carte blanche to say and do almost anything, while the standard for Republicans is much stricter.
The media also employs a double standard in their treatment of politicians. In the case of Reid’s insensitive comments, most of the media tried desperately to “move on.” For example, the Reid bombshell was conveniently overlooked in a 60 Minutes story on the book. While the liberal mainstream media is busy trying to defend Reid, the same treatment was not afforded to then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott back in 2002.
Lott was hounded out of office for paying a compliment to 100 year old Strom Thurmond at his birthday party. He said that the country would have been better off if the once segregationist Thurmond had been elected President in 1948. Lott was trying to be nice to Thurmond; he was not making a racist comment. Regardless, he lost his position after an uproar from the media and civil rights groups.
One person leading the charge against Lott was U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). She said that “if a Democratic leader said such a thing, they would not be allowed to keep their position.”
Oh, really? So why is Reid allowed to keep his position? To be consistent, Landrieu should be demanding that Reid resign his leadership position. The Nevada Senator comments about Obama are much worse than the inappropriate compliment that Lott paid to Thurmond. Despite the tasteless insult of African Americans, Landrieu has been conspicuously silent.
In the past few months, Landrieu has donated money to Reid’s campaign fund and to the Nevada Democratic Party. Before it was mysteriously cancelled, Landrieu was scheduled to host a big fundraiser for Reid in New Orleans in December. Sadly, Landrieu has not repudiated Reid’s comments or asked for her donations to be returned. She has certainly not asked Reid to resign his leadership post.
Reid is safe because he is a Democratic leader and the civil rights groups do not want to harm a fellow liberal, especially the third most powerful man in the country. Reid has a very influential role in the health care debate and his leadership on the issue is crucial for President Obama and the Democrats. So, Obama has forgiven Reid and all of the Democrats are standing behind him.
Therefore, the political game continues and the rank hypocrisy is more appalling than ever. Hopefully, the voters in Nevada this November will have the guts to do what Senate Democrats and phony civil rights leaders refuse to do, remove this racist from office.
Jeff Crouere is the Host of “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. He is the Political Analyst for WGNO-TV ABC26 and a Columnist for selected publications. For more information, visit his web site at RingsidePolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].