Harry Reid: The honkie in the woodpile

The latest closet racist to emerge in the United States Senate is Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada casino bag-man who is already a marked candidate in the upcoming mid-term election.

In a new book, Reid is quoted as saying Obama could become President because he is “light skinned” with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

In other words, Barack was Presidential material because he’s a half-breed who talks like whitey.

When the quote hit the news with all the subtlety of a raging bull, Reid issued an immediate apology to Obama and all African-Americans (or “Negroes” as he likes to call them).

Obama accepted the apology but Republicans aren’t so forgiving. They want Reid’s resignation and they want it now.

The party of the never-forget elephant bitterly remembers the uproar over Sen. Trent Lott’s praise in 2002 of the racist Presidential campaign run by South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. They also remember that Democrats looked the other way when West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd’s past membership in the Ku Klux Klan came to light. Byrd was not only a member of the Klan but organized a chapter in his home state in the 1940s, prompting a fellow racist to note that the young man was so good at organizing that he “should go into politics.”

Both parties have a double standard when it comes to racists in their midst. Lott stepped down as majority leader during the furor over his remarks but Republicans later elected him to another leadership job in the Senate.  Republicans also looked the other way when racist comments by Sen. Conrad Burns surfaced. Reported The New York Times:

Back in 1994, while campaigning for a second term, Mr. Burns dropped by a local newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and told an editor an anecdote about one of his constituents, a rancher who wanted to know what life was like in Washington, D.C.

The senator said the rancher asked him, “Conrad, how can you live back there with all those niggers?”

Senator Burns said he told the rancher it was “a hell of a challenge.”

The anecdote was published and Senator Burns apologized. When he was asked why he hadn’t expressed to the rancher any disapproval of the use of the word nigger, Senator Burns said, “I don’t know. I never give it much thought.”

You would think that a public official who had already been burned by a racially insensitive comment would have given it some thought. Back in 1991, immediately after a civil rights bill had been passed, Senator Burns invited a group of lobbyists, some of them white and some of them black, to accompany him to an auction.

When asked what was being auctioned, he replied, “Slaves.”

The voters in Montana had enough of Burns and retired him from office in 2006.

If polls are right, voters in Nevada will fire Reid in November. The majority leader has the lowest re-elect numbers of any current member of the House or Senate and this latest misstep will no doubt drive his number even lower.

If that happens, we can truly say Democracy works.

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