Sen. Harry Reid has an amazing habit of creating his own troubles, and it seems he is again guilty of a self-inflicted political blunder with a racial twist. Sen. Reid’s comments came in 2008 and were part of the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin, of Time Magazine, and John Heilemann, of New York magazine. The book was a behind-the-scenes look at the historical presidential campaign of 2008 that featured current president Barack Obama and rivals such as current secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Here is a portion of a story written by the Huffington Post that discusses the part in question that now has Sen. Reid, who has issued the customary apology, in some hot water.
“He (Reid) 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 later put it privately,” according to the book.
First off, Sen. Reid did not make these comments intending to do harm to President Obama or out of some racist motivation. In his own way, clumsy as it was, he was attempting to pay the president a compliment. Unfortunately, this poor attempt shows that Reid in some ways does not grasp how serious people are taking political correctness these days (even when you are attempting to be complimentary). A good number of liberals, as Dr. Boyce Watkins points out, often attempt to pass compliments in this kind of ham-handed way to show that they are down for the cause.
The “no Negro dialect” comment is more than a little puzzling to me. It reminds me of something that people must have said in the early 1900s or late 1800s. How many people still use the word “Negro” today? That is just an odd choice of words to say the very least.
By the way, here is Sen. Reid’s apology statement as reported by CNN:
REID: I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments. I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.
The apology was accepted by Barack Obama and should be accepted by others. Sen. Reid (and I have not always been his biggest fan) needs to choose his words better (even if he sees himself as passing a compliment), but it’s clear that while his brain and mouth were malfunctioning, his heart probably was in the right place.
As a side note, RNC chairman Michael Steele has compared Sen. Reid’s comments to those of former Sen. Trent Lott, who felt the U.S. would have been better off if segregationist Strom Thurmond had become president in 1948. As I wrote in an earlier blog, it just shows how ignorant, political and hypocritical Michael Steele is in his role for the Republicans.