Reid, Steele and the definition of racism
Our Readers Who Comment get most energized by political tomfoolery. This morning they are chewing over Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's call for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid to resign for describing Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as "light-skinned" and possessing "no Negro dialect."
Running throughout an extended comment stream is the underlying truth that race continues to be a major unsettled issue in the American conversation, with both Democratic- and Republican-sounding readers citing the other party's sins. Democrats defend Reid, whose apology to President Obama was quickly accepted when the quotes were reported, and attack Steele. Republicans, who have lots of reasons not to like Reid, are demanding his head.
But as Chris Cillizza writes, "Whether Reid stays on as leader -- and conventional wisdom suggests he will -- even Democrats acknowledge privately that he has done his reelection campaign, which was in somewhat dire straits, no favors."
We'll start with love80sdance, who wrote, "I voted for President Obama and still strongly support him. That said, nothing will be gained from having Mr. Reid resign. A person's true feelings... sometimes slip through the lips before the brain can shut it down. When slips happen, they should not be squashed but brought to brighter light. Replacing Mr. Reid with another who may also hold the same hostility or worse does nothing for the problem which hurts ALL Americans..."
medogsbstfrnd opined that "Deranged Republicans who have never in their lives read an African-American scholar, columnist or critic who, if they had, would realize that Reid has said nothing they didn't say. He was clumsy the way he said it, but there is nothing racist here. As for Republicans suddenly getting righteous over racism, that's like rats demanding horses quit pooping in the road."
docent was one of many to suggest that "Steele, Now that is the man who should resign. Everyone makes mistakes but when people make them a lifestyle then they should resign..."
AnnArborGuy said, "Embarrassing as it may be to all of us white liberals, there is some truth in Senator Reid's original remarks, albeit reflecting even more badly on the Republican right wing. Who among us really believes in our hearts that a darker complected Obama, perhaps with a noticeable urban minority dialect, would have been elected?..."
Nissl wrote, "Reid is an ineffective leader who will lose his re-election campaign and cost the Democrats a seat. He should stick around to get health care passed before resigning."
WildBill1 said, "Yep, if someone from the GOP said what Reid did, every liberal member of Congress would be calling for his/her head on a pike....hypocrites!"
gonzie wrote, "...The GOP has already been saying the same things that reid said. Its been going on since Obama took office so if anybody is a hypocite its the GOP"
orange3 said, "Yeah, republicans in office and those on Nazi radio who have spent the last year doing everything they could to incite hatred for the President can always be counted on to defend minorities:-) Tell us anothe joke Michael."
tdl62 wrote, "Of course Obama is light-skinned. Folks, the fact is he has a black father and a white mother. Reid really meant that if he had been a few shades darker, he would have never been considered by the white liberals for President..."
lhudson828 said, "It's amazing that Reid in one breath can make racial remarks about his president and in another breath make remarks just as racial about republicans being obstructionist to civil rights, forgetting that it was the democrat's who ruled the south in those days..."
GordonShumway predicted that "Reid's problem will solve itself when he isn't reelected. Steele's problem is much more deep seated - he will personally be responsible for the forming of a third party comprised of very disappointed moderate republicans and equally dismayed moderate democrats."
skeen66 wrote, "What short-sightedness! Instead of demanding Reid step down for being a second-string socialist and thief of Americans' rights, the GOP wants him to leave over his alleged racist remarks! Leave it to the GOP to spoil a golden opportunity to rid ourselves of this vampire for the right reasons."
vickie105 asked, "Does anyone among us really believe Obama could have been elected if he spoke gangsta cool, or ebonics? Quit straining with gnats while trying to get the country to swallow elephants. That is not to say I am a supporter of my party (Democrat) at this point in time. I believe Obama is trying to take this country and give as much as possible to the Latinos he feels we owe so much."
liberalsareblind wrote, "If Obama and Pelosi were true people of honor they would strongly urge Reid to step down. Any Republican who made such a comment would be forced to step down, and they would have the liberal media, the NAACP, and Jessie Jackson all over their butt for making such a statement. The Democrats can prove that they have a shred of honor by forcing Harry Reid to step down immediately."
We'll close with this interesting view from skeen66, who said, "What short-sightedness! Instead of demanding Reid step down for being a second-string socialist and thief of Americans' rights, the GOP wants him to leave over his alleged racist remarks! Leave it to the GOP to spoil a golden opportunity to rid ourselves of this vampire for the right reasons."
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