Monday, January 11, 2010

The GOP Is Really Worried About Racism All of a Sudden…

If Harry Reid was a Republican, there would be a veritable shit-storm coming from Democrats (and anybody who is genuinely disturbed by the racial prejudice or backward insensitivity of their representatives) regarding Reid’s recently disclosed remarks about what a “palatable negro” (my term not Reid’s) then Senator Barack Obama was. By recent historical contrast, the example Republicans are offering (invariably seeing not racism but a chance to score points in Reid’s comments) Trent Lott’s implosion. Lott had been reputedly saying racist things for years, but was never caught on actual video. His birthday toast led to his very public capitulation in 2002 over lauding Strom Thurmond’s career and implying that desegregation was bad thing. -I’ll be honest; I couldn’t have given a shit back then. I had far more policy differences and identified far more unacceptable conflict-of-interest issues in Trent Lott’s career than any issues I could have with whatever old south attitudes he might harbor as a “good ol’ backward boy.” As my collaborator MyCue23 has said before, being a bigot isn’t against the law. Nor is being a racist asshole (-provided it doesn’t violate another person’s civil rights and pursuit of happiness etc.) I’d always felt that if Mississippians didn’t mind having a bigot as their representative they has the right to live with the embarrassment and humiliation. We cannot legislate egalitarianism anymore than we can legislate equanimity or maturity.

I’m not a supporter of Reid’s. The remarks Reid made last year about “terrorists in the streets” when discussions about where about to take place regarding the placement of Guantanamo Bay prisoners stateside was simply irresponsible, asinine and distracting. Reid has been one of the weakest majority leaders I have ever seen on either side of the aisle and these are not times for weakness or ineptitude of any kind in a Senate Majority leader my friends. This statement of Reid’s exposes a cynical, ossified mind at work. The RNC probably would’ve kept Lott if they could have despite what he was recorded saying at Strom Thurmond’s birthday. -That’s their problem; they won’t get my vote because of that among many other actual policy issues. -But the Democratic party shouldn’t even pretend that someone, whose idea of assessing a black man’s worth as a candidate is wholly dependent on the factoring in the naked racism and close-mindedness of others in the nation represents the future. This wasn’t straight talk, or politically incorrect brusqueness, it was just craven and cheap-minded shop talk on the part of Reid.

As they used to say in Brooklyn: “Throw the bum out.”

RNC is pointing out these statements of Reid’s while scoring partisan points. Discussions of hypocrisy and double standards are valid in this context, whatever I may think of the RNC’s motives, -however they may be contradicting themselves now versus their own past defense of people like Trent Lott, the very example they are now citing as a precedent.

Michael Steele has no point. He didn’t ask for Lott’s resignation then, so he should shut the fuck up now.

Shouldn’t Steele be defending Harry Reid as he defended Trent Lott? After all Michael Steele precisely said in December 2002: “I know Senator Lott personally and understand him to be compassionate and a tolerant statesman.” While we’re at it, why weren’t Governor Sanford and Senator Ensign hauled before a court and forced to testify about their extramarital affairs like former President Bill Clinton was? If a sitting President can’t escape persecution and tax payer-funded character assassination, why should a Governor or a Senator? John Edwards still hasn’t come out of hiding… but he’s a Democrat.

Discussions of hypocrisy and double standards are valid in this context, so let’s take them all the way.

Harry Reid may have to go, but I won’t fool myself into thinking Michael Steele or Republicans give one shit about the racism still leveled at Black people every single day.


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

It seems to me Reid has vacillated between whipping boy and milktoast as far as his position as ramrod in the Democrat senate went. I posted months ago on the racism that has flared politically / socially since the President successfully won the election. "shut the fuck up"! is so very apt! At least we are discussing it now! It seemed it was being shoved under the table for a long time...? Great post SJ.

SJ said...

Many thanks Gwen.
The game of "Barack, Paper, Scissors" continues.

Oso said...

Reid just spoke the unfortunate truth. It might have felt strange to him, an honest statement coming from him but nevertheless it was accurate.
If Al Sharpton had mainstream politics he'd still be unelectable. We all know that.

SJ said...

very true. Good point.

Jack Jodell said...

What a bunch of hypocritical phonies! The GOP's obsession with turning EVERYTHING into a distorted political smear is thoroughly DISGUSTING!

BTW, you and MyCue23 will both be mentioned in my next post, which will appear tomorrow afternoon.

Excuse me now. I've gotta go take a Rush Limbaugh and then wipe my Glenn Beck. These Republicans give me the runs! :-)

Oso said...

Jack you got me laughing so hard I could Malkin my pants! got to get to the Coulter.

Manifesto Joe said...

I tend to be cynical about all politicians, but something to remember about Harry Reid is that his way up, to the Senate eventually, was as a Nevada state gaming commissioner. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall for some of the meetings he undoubtedly had with "da boyz."

But I'm a little nonplussed about this "racist" thing. He was merely pointing out, in a moment of private candor, that Obama, and Colin Powell, for that matter, have been more palatable for square, white, mainstream-type Americans than, say, Jesse Jackson. I don't think it's racist to merely observe the obvious.

SJ said...

@Manifesto Joe, Jack, Oso--
sorry I was up all night with a bad case of the Rove, throwing up into the Palin, I missed the bowl a few times... ha ha.
You're right Manifesto Joe, as was Oso. I may write a addendum to this blog post clarifying my further thoughts on this. I suppose my problem is I've never thought much of Reid, and wouldn't be sorry to see him go, although this would be horrible timing.

MadMike said...

I posted about this so I know we agree.

TomCat said...

SJ, this is much like my editorial on this today. For the GOP to show such concern about racial sensitivity, is the moral equivalent of hypothetical protestations from Israel that someone else is abusing Palestinians.

SJ said...

@Mad Mike,
I'm heading over to give a read in a moment. I figured neither of us could leave this one alone...

SJ said...

@Tom Cat,
also heading over to your place cheers. I'll bring the virtual six pack, and a case of righteous indignation.

TomCat said...

I have plenty of that to spare, my friend. :-)