Reid: "I Come Too Far From Where I Started From"
Weighing in on the controversy surrounding the Senate Majority Leader’s racially insensitive remarks about candidate Barack Obama, Kanye West declared at a recent benefit for Haitian earthquake victims, “Harry Reid doesn’t care about dark-skinned black people with Negro dialects!”
Oh, wait—sorry, he didn’t. According to Harry Reid’s electability criteria for black Democratic candidates—“light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one”—I notice that the following are all A-grade presidential material: Hillary “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” Clinton, Rod “I’m Blacker than Barack Obama” Blagojevich, and Bill “Our First Black President” Clinton.
On the taboo list are Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Marion Barry.
Also forbidden because of their complexion are many dark-skinned black Republicans, such as Clarence Thomas, J. C. Watts, and Alan Keyes.
Democrats’ response to Reid’s outrageous remarks, as revealed in John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s new book “Game Change,” was to get angry at… Trent Lott.
Last week my column “Liberal Syntax: A Noun, a Verb, and a Bush Smear” offered a rule that characterizes liberals’ defense of their mishandling of national security and the economy. For more general purposes, such as their defense of Reid’s remarks, I propose replacing “Bush” with “Republican.”
Since they brought up Lott’s comment, let’s drag it out into the light again and compare it to Reid’s sentiments. Lott: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”
For starters, compared to Lott’s words, Reid’s comments were explicit and vulgar and revealed a race-obsessed mindset. They bring to mind, not Lott’s tribute to a fellow Southerner and half-century veteran of the Senate who was practically on his deathbed, but rather Joe Biden’s condescending statement that Obama “is articulate and bright and clean” and Bill Clinton’s dismissive remark to Ted Kennedy about Obama that “a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.” In contrast, Lott’s comment, which echoed a remark he had made in 1980 comparing Reagan and Thurmond’s small-government, fiscally responsible views, requires several questionable levels of inference before you can jump to the conclusion that Lott was endorsing a segregationist Republican platform in 2002.
Reid’s motivation for his comments about Obama was to use race to cynically calculate, for political purposes, the electability by the Democratic base of token black candidates under consideration. Similarly, other Democrats regularly exploit blacks to get their votes, as in Hillary “Nobody Told Me That The Road Would Be Easy” Clinton’s feverish recitation of spirituals (in a Negro dialect) in black churches. Lott’s motivation was to find something nice to say about the life work of a senator on the occasion of his retirement and 100th birthday.
Democrats, with the help of the mainstream media, unabashedly apply a double standard: Lott gets drummed out; Reid stays. If a Democrat had said what Lott had said, the remarks would have been granted a benevolent interpretation or overlooked; if a Republican had said what Reid had said, he would have been hounded out.
It’s automatically assumed that Democrats are less racist than Republicans; therefore, Democrats’ actions and motivations are interpreted differently, because Democrats are better on racial issues.
This is how it always works: a Republican says something that is milder or no worse than something a Democrat says—but, due to a combination of Republicans’ sense of honor (or lack of fortitude, depending on your perspective) and Democrats’ vicious persistence, the Republican is out, and the Democrat is in. Democrats never come to the Republican’s defense, but Republicans frequently come to the Democrat’s defense—as many have with Reid—in an attempt to be fair, a favor that is never returned. That’s the pattern—Democrats have no honor, Republicans aren’t vicious, so Democrats get to stay and Republicans have to go. This is then seen as evidence by the media—and biased historians with no sense of context—that the Republican was guilty after all and the Democrat did nothing wrong.
In any event, the larger issue is not whether Reid is a racist. The issue is whether Democratic leaders have historically manipulated African Americans for political gain, offering them freebies and using their “dialect” and pretending to stand for their interests, while privately looking down on them as a dependent, infantile interest group to be pandered to.
As succinctly stated by Allen West, black Republican candidate for the House in 2010 from Florida, “Reid’s comments [are] indicative of the true sentiment elitist liberals have toward black Americans. The history of the Democrat party is one of slavery, secession, segregation, and now socialism, born from the Johnson Great Society programs that have castigated blacks as victims… I would rather be called ‘an Uncle Tom and a sellout’ than lose my self-esteem and be considered an inferior by liberals… I am not just some articulate, clean, well spoken Negro… [I] shall never submit to the collective progressive ideal of inferiority.”