What is possibly the dumbest thing a United States Senator could say about a black candidate from his party running for the office of President of the United States? How about describing the candidate as “a light skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Those were Harry Reid’s words during Obama’s 2008 campaign according to a new book called “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The part about “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one” is the most interesting to me. Does that mean that on the campaign trail Reid thought Obama had the ability to talk “jive” to black groups in the inner city and switch to “mid-America white” when the occasion required it? In today’s political climate could a U.S. Senator actually believe that such a statement would not be demeaning to a black man?
Obama is calling the remarks “unfortunate” and Harold Ford, who is black and is the head of the Democratic Leadership Council says Reid’s remarks were “an unusual set of words.” In other words Harry has screwed up big time but let’s try to gloss it over.
So now we have more heat on poor Harry. What he said wasn’t the end of the world but it is enough to keep the public and the Republicans piling on him even harder after his methods of ramming through the Senate’s version of the health care bill. I’m sure he did it at the urging of Obama who is now getting plenty of heat of his own for not showing the health bill negotiations on C-Span after he said EIGHT times that it would be on.
Harry will survive his current term but polls in Nevada show him about 10 points behind his possible challenger. He just turned 70 so with his nice pension, they won’t have to throw any benefits for him. Plus, there are worse things to say like former President Clinton telling Ted Kennedy during the 2008 campaign that “a few years ago this guy (Obama) would be getting us coffee.”
On the other hand, if Barbara Billingsley could play the Beaver’s mom as an All American housekeeper on TV, and then talk jive in the movie Airplane!, I guess it is all right for the president to do likewise.
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