Here’s what Heilemann and Halperin report in the book about what Reid said during the 2008 presidential campaign:
“[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 said privately.”
To be sure, the remark was idiotic, but no one accuses Harry Reid of thinking before speaking, but calls of racism go a bit too far.
With that said, I must agree with other political pundits is stating that the reactions from Obama and other black leaders as well as the Democratic party as a whole, is indeed, an extreme double standard and they are right for pointing out that double standard.
Top Republicans called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step aside Sunday — and accused the Democrats and the media of holding the GOP to a double standard on matters of race.
In an interview with POLITICO, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) said it would be "entirely appropriate" for the Nevada Democrat to relinquish his leadership post over comments about Barack Obama's skin color and lack of a "Negro dialect."
And like Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl — both of whom also called for Reid's resignation Sunday — Cornyn suggested that any Republican who said what Reid said would be under attack from Democrats, leading African-Americans and the media.
“There’s a big double standard here,” Steele said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“What’s interesting here, is when Democrats get caught saying racist things, an apology is enough. If that had been [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying that about an African-American candidate for president of the president of the United States, trust me, this chairman and the [Democratic National Committee] would be screaming for his head, very much as they were with Trent Lott.”
Lott lost his leadership post in 2002 after saying that the country would have been better off if Sen. Strom Thurmond — a segregationist — had been elected president in 1948.
Steele is right and that is the problem in a nutshell. Time after time Democrats scream racism if Obama's skin color is mentioned. Hell, even if the color of his skin is not mentioned, that word is thrown around.
If you disagree with Obama's policies, you are a racist according to many commenters. If you dare disagree with Obama's judgement calls, it is your inner racist coming out. If you dare call him on those bad calls, you are labeled a racist. Any criticism leveled against Barack Obama brings down the calls of racism, even when the only people mentioning the color of his skin are those screaming racism at the top of their lungs.
Another double standard but I digress.
In the day since Reid's comments were first reported, the majority leader has reached out to black leaders for support — and gotten it.
Reid called Obama on Saturday to apologize to the president directly for his statement, made during an interview for the new book, “Game Change.”
The book quotes Reid, who backed Obama’s candidacy, as saying that Obama is "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
"Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today,” Obama said in a statement released on Saturday. “I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."
So, if a Democrat mentioned Obama's skin color and insinuates he doesn't "talk" like a "negro" unless he wants to, then an apology rallies all Democratic leaders as well as leaders of the black community around him, yet if a Republican does the same, those same forgiving souls demand a resignation.
While Reid has no intention of stepping down from his Senate seat, not as Senate Majority Leader, one has to wonder if this isn't the final straw for his reelection chances in 2010, where he is already trailing all Republican candidates in the polls and where his unfavorable ratings with the people of Nevada has reached the highest levels seen to date.
More than half of Nevadans are unhappy with Sen. Harry Reid, according to a new poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It's the worst "unfavorable" rating he's received in the newspaper's surveys for this year's election, and it comes amid quiet speculation -- or perhaps wishful thinking by his opponents -- that it's time for the Nevada Democrat to retire rather than lose re-election.
I reiterate what I have already said, I don't want Reid to step down, the race for his Senate seat will be one of the most high profiled ones and will be a very public display of how unhappy Nevadans as well as Americans are with the way the Democrats have run Washington this past year.
Harry Reid is the gift that just keeps giving and we thank him for it.