Amidst the brouhaha over Harry Reid’s comments, some people are defending Reid by saying that he told the truth, however . . . awkwardly. See, for example, Robert Stacy McCain, who declares: “Harry Reid is no more a racist than I am.” (Did Reid hit McCain’s tip jar?) And indeed, I fully support the principle that people need to be able to tell the truth, even if doing so might be perceived as politically incorrect.
But I’m not sure why Harry Reid, of all people, should benefit from that principle. He sure as hell hasn’t given others the benefit of the doubt when it comes to racial matters.
When Bill Bennett made an arguably true but racially controversial statement, Reid rushed to call Bennett a racist:
Washington, DC — The following is a statement by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on William Bennett’s recent comments:
Yesterday, on his radio call-in show, former Reagan Secretary of Education, William Bennett made the following comment, “… you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”
“I am appalled by Mr. Bennett’s remarks and call on him to issue an immediate apology not only to African Americans but to the nation. At a time when so many Americans are struggling to recover from two devastating Hurricanes, now is the time to help one another, not feed the fires of racism. America can do better. The Republican Party has recently taken great pains to reach out to the African American community, and I hope that they will be swift in condemning Mr. Bennett’s comments as nothing short of callous and ignorant. They are reminiscent of a time our nation is still struggling to overcome.
Again, I call on him to issue an immediate apology to the nation for his insensitive remarks.”
One could attempt to defend Bennett on the same grounds that Stacy McCain uses to defend Reid: that Bennett was simply telling the truth, albeit in an “insensitive” way that was certain to inflame the crowd that makes a living profiting off racial grievances.
But Sen. Reid really didn’t care whether Bennett was telling the truth, did he? Sen. Reid saw an opportunity to make some political hay, and he took it.
Similarly, when a Republican sought to make English the national language, Reid called the attempt — you guessed it — racist:
The Senate voted on Thursday to designate English as the national language. . . . The amendment was proposed by Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma.
. . . .
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said the Inhofe amendment was racist.
“Everybody who speaks with an accent knows that they need to learn English just as fast as they can,” he said.
Same goes for everyone who speaks with that “Negro dialect,” eh, Senator?
Feel free to declare Harry Reid a non-racist if you like. But some of us aren’t so sure. Recall, for example, Reid’s bizarre treatment of black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Recall that Reid once rushed to declare Justice Thomas to be “an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.” When pressed for specifics, Reid declared that one of Thomas’s opinions was similar to “an eighth-grade dissertation” — far inferior, Reid said, to the opinion of Justice Scalia in the same case. Except that Thomas’s short opinion was perfectly logical . . . and Scalia hadn’t even written an opinion in the case.
Law professor Eugene Volokh decried Reid’s comments about Thomas as “unfounded assertions of incompetence” backed up with “false statements” and “mischaracterizations.”
What was it about the black justice Thomas that Reid didn’t like? That made him inferior to the white justice who hadn’t even written an opinion in the case? Hmmm?
I think you’re starting to get the picture.
So decry the attacks on Reid as political correctness — if you think that’s what they are. Some of us don’t agree. Some of us happen to think that his declarations about the comings and goings of Obama’s “Negro dialect” are a little window into Harry’s soul.
And if we’re wrong, I won’t feel too bad. Reid is simply getting a taste of the medicine he has so eagerly dished out to others.
UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. I hope new readers will bookmark my main page.