Harry Reid Leads Herd of Clumsy Democratic Asses


“He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he said privately.”  Nice one Harry. The pre-release chatter surrounding 2008 campaign  journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s new book “Game Change”, has been focused squarely on Harry Reid’s comments.

The Senate Majority Leader is, of course, no stranger to gaffes. Politico.com published an anthology of them yesterday.  They would be on par with the Bushisms that we all miss were it not for the fact that Reid’s are even more offensive. Let’s review a few:

“This war is lost.” (April 2007) – This comment about the Iraq war would be harder to defend today with casualities at an all-time low and troops pulling out.

“I think it’s going to help us.” (August 2009) – Reid’s words of wisdom at the death of Ted Kennedy, spoken as a rallying cry to inspire Democrats to pass health care reform.

“You can always tell when it is summertime because you can smell the visitors. The visitors stand out in the high humidity, heat, and they sweat.” (December 2008) – His views on tourists in the American capitol.

(My favorite) “I think this guy is a loser” (May 2005) –  From one wordsmith to another – Reid’s views on George W. Bush.  What’s even better is how he defended this comment.  Politico says it best: “Reminded later that he’d called the president a ‘loser,’ Reid volunteered that he’d also called him ‘a liar.’ He also noted that he’d apologized for the first line — but not for the second.”

Reid has also apologized for his most recent comments to Obama (who immediately accepted) and a slew of civil rights leaders in a weekend-long effort to mitigate the damage of his words that have caused a veritable firestorm.  As troubling as Reid’s comments were, they only seem to fall in line with an embarrassing pile-up of anachronistic asides, perpetuated by other babyboomer Democratic big wigs.

“Game Change” also references Ted Kennedy’s fury after a conversation with Bill Clinton in which the former president lobbied him to endorse Hillary for president and then went on to deride Obama, saying, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.

Let’s not forget Joe Biden’s perky observation that Obama was the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”  This was his view at the start of the campaigning for the 2008 elections, when Biden himself was running for president.

Along with the expected campaign-trail blunders that plagued the paths of the presidential hopefuls ahead of the 2008 elections, check out Hillary’s condescending southern drawl to a mostly black crowd at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention.  It is painful.

But let’s not be overly harsh on the Democrats.  Quite apart from Bush’s decade-long monosyllabic babble and most of Sarah Palin’s gone-rogue platform, we’ve been treated to some real gems from current Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele. The verbose RNC leader has been enthusiastically promoting his book lately and has been drawing attention to himself, declaring that he does not think the Republicans will take back control of the House in November.  Steele’s record on political correctness took a nose-dive when in a live Fox interview, he declared that “Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that.” He’s being criticized from every direction, especially by his own party leaders.  Quick-thinking Steele is never without a retort, though.  He told his Republican detractors to “Shut up,” and reminded them, “I’m the chairman. Deal with it.”

And there you have it, the one truly bipartisan position in Washington, DC: Who cares what the little people think when you are the one in power?


Bjorn Karlman

71 thoughts on “Harry Reid Leads Herd of Clumsy Democratic Asses”

  1. David, the fact that Asian Americans (especially those with roots in certain countries – Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, China, etc) are as successful as they are in now way refutes the idea that racism is alive and well in society today. Of COURSE it is possible to surmount obstacles of prejudice. And there isn’t nearly as much venom in anti-Asian attacks are there are against Latinos and African Americans so the Asian success argument does little to convince me that racism no longer has an effect on society You seem to have grown up without feeling the effects of racism. Just because this is your experience and you are biracial doesn’t make it true for everyone else. What may seem a petty distraction to you has been a life-long societally-induced conditioning for entire communities. For those of us who have been fortunate enough not to have suffered racist attacks, the duty remains not to downplay the problem but to do our best to fix it. Also, I disagree that we all have the same opportunities. Economic depravity and socially dysfunctional communities do not offer the same opportunities that freshly scrubbed suburbs do.

  2. It should come as little surprise that people don’t self-identify as racists or are able to name off racists at the drop of a hat. I think we agree that that would be a fairly serious accusation that you would not make even if you had your suspicions. And not everyone’s life is heavily affected by racism but a significant minority IS. For the above reasons it is hard to quantify confirmed racists and mudslinging is unhelpful. It is hard to argue with the life experiences / stories of those that do suffer though.

  3. Bjorn,

    I agree.

    Because race has been, and is, wielded as a political club does not mean we should discard the topic altogether. Put simply, the fact that it’s political doesn’t mean that it’s not real, or not worth our attention, time, and best efforts. Look, everything is politicized–even righteous causes, like health care, children’s education, consumer protection, womens rights, racial equity, down to the conservation of our planet, Earth.

    But the politization of these issues does not detract from their inherent vaue, or urgency.

    Unfortunately, people get wrapped up in the partisan spirit, and, in doing so, stunt progress and deprive others of real opportunity.

  4. Well exactly. And I really do NOT have a problem with government getting involved to denounce or curb racism. Partisan politics are an unfortunate reality but without effective legislation, the battle against prejudice will never be won. What is needed here is systemic change, rosy complacency about a postracial America.

  5. David, although I think you are right in saying that education has huge potential to level the playing field, I think you are being a little too much of a cowboy with your conservative claims. Of COURSE industry helps the situation but not everyone has the advantage of arriving fresh to the United States, free from centuries of negative conditioning and oppression. Yes, America is a better place racially than it was 50 years ago and yes, there are opportunities here. And race per se may not be the problem. PREJUDICE is closely linked to race though and the effects of prejudice are not equally felt in the various racial communities. African American and Latinos are especially singled out for negative treatment. The media, law enforcement and society as a whole as a whole do little to encourage academia, professional work or positive role modeling in these communities. We typically hear of crime, poverty, health issues, etc and heroes are athletes or entertainers. This does nothing to brake the cycle and the complacent majority retreats into protectionist disgust at “these people” who can’t get their act together. Denying this negative conditioning and the disgraceful history of INSTITUTIONALIZED, LEGISLATED racism within living memory in this country is itself a form of prejudice.

  6. Larissa, I too am frustrated that the educational system does not do better in teaching basic language skills to our students. But I think the problem is more the English instruction than the bilingual programs. Americans would be far better off if they were better with languages. America is going to be left behind in a world that is increasingly globalized, multilingual and inter-culturally savvy. The “culture-saving, sensitive, racially-aware liberals” that you are talking about are wrong if they support lax English language teaching policies but they are RIGHT to realize that America cannot afford to promote/impose monocultural, monolingual cookie-cutter-white-picket-fence apple pie consumption.

  7. Ehren, that is encouraging that the Grand Rapids model proved a success… when I have children, I would love to have them go through a bilingual curriculum. I think, as Larissa points out though, a lot of these programs are less than successful. They are probably vastly underfunded and too experimental to go mainstream successfully.

  8. I think you hit the nail on the head there Jael, a bilingual educational system is not a problem in itself, if anything, it is a helpful idea. I think Larissa’s frustration is legitimate in that some of the current attempts at bilingual education are producing subpar results – a “culturally incompetent system” as you put it.

  9. Thanks for the feedback Felix. I’ve always been interested in the melting pot v. tossed salad debate. And yes, I predict that we and a serious proportion of our friends will have “brown” kids. Mix it up! Hopefully our generation will slam another nail into Reid’s generational racial buffoonery.

  10. First, I am NOT looking down on retaining bilingual skills and Latino culture. Far from it! People who are bilingual, especially in Spanish, are highly sought after in America. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that they are not helped to become bilingual by our system. They are helped to stay monolingual.

  11. Not sure, but Swedes get shafted:) Ethnic minorities living in economically depraved areas often cannot afford the health care available to middle class America… this plus the fact that quality nutrition is less affordable if you don’t make decent wages, living conditions are bad and access to health education is hampered, etc….. – it all takes its toll and health suffers

  12. I think you are talking about two very different things. Yes, Americans should be better with languages. I strongly believe in learning second and third languages. But what does that have to do with teaching English to immigrants?

    If I emigrate to Germany, should that country be required to give me classes in English to retain my culture? Should I expect to be successful without learning German? Nope…

    America shouldn’t impose a monocultural, monolingual society but does that mean they SHOULD impose educational rules that keep students from being successful?

  13. Thanks for the clarification Larissa… if I remember right, you are quite the linguist yourself, right? Italian? I’m with you, education should expand horizons, not halt progress. What I don’t agree with would be the conservative allegation that liberal attempts at compassion and cultural sensitivity are just perpetuating plantation politics. The system needs tweaks but we are very much at an embryonic stage in this whole process and the important thing is that we are taking a step in right direction, no?

  14. That doesn’t sound like institutionalized racism to me.

    POOR people often cannot afford health care available to middle class America. Why are a lot of Ethnic minorities poor? They don’t learn English. Teach them English, raise the average wage earned, improve living conditions, viola! Hey, I’m an ESL teacher, I have an agenda. :]

  15. Well as far as my student’s bootstraps go, she has never has to pull on them since the school system pulled them for her. ;] Passed her right through school, her lack of reading skills notwithstanding. A lot of good it did her.

    A bilingual school and a bilingual classroom are two very different things. Bilingual schools tend to be private schools that focus on personalized teaching.

    As far as your question goes: I would hope that the LA school system would be equipped. It is hardly a new problem. But it seems that like with many other things, they are not equipped.

    I guess the younger kids are, the more I like the dual-language model of education. As they get older, I think they would benefit more from taking a semester or two of ESL and then going to regular classes.

  16. And German and a little Spanish but my lack of use has made me very rusty. :[

    I am not surprised that you don’t agree that liberal actions have contributed to the problems, otherwise you would be conservative! :D

    What I always say is this:

    Conservatives aren’t haters who want to ruin the world, and neither are liberals. We all care about the same problems, but we believe in different ways of solving them.

  17. Agreed, I was referring to the history of institutionalized racism that preceded the civil rights breakthroughs of the 60s… hard to bounce back from quickly…

  18. I am glad we can both plug language learning.. What I was supporting was bilingual education that teaches students both English and a second language… I agree that the system needs tweaks, especially if is is failing immigrant students that do need to learn English. I will say that bilingual programs in a country as diverse as America make a lot more sense than the same in European countries… they are cosmopolitan but not to the American extent.

  19. I must make an amendment to my first comment. After talking to my student further, it seems that she was not placed in a bilingual classroom at all. In fact, when she arrived here at age 7, they placed her “in a Spanish class, ’cause I didn’t understand nothing.”

    Hey, it makes total sense right? :[

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