HARRY REID, SLAVERY, HEALTH CARE, HISTORY
Posted by Andrew Roman on December 8, 2009
If not for racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and any other “ism” or “phobia” they can exploit, exactly what points of argument would liberals ever use to defend their positions? If the issue cannot be compared to some social injustice of the past, or if the policy cannot be framed around tapping into the raw emotions of constituents, or if the opposition cannot be marginalized and characterized as the spawns of Satan, how would liberals ever be able to convince anyone of anything?
To say that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is beneath dignity is to assume he possesses any – and I’m not prepared to make that leap. The man is a veritable fountain of imbecility, never once failing to prove the point when afforded the opportunity. Even if he never spoke another foolish word, he has long since removed all doubt.
But speak he did from the Senate floor yesterday morning – with an inflection of numbskullery that would make Joe Biden proud.
With the prowess and grace of a can of mushroom soup, and a command of history rivaled by only Congressman Alan “Our Healthcare System is like a Holocaust” Grayson of Florida, Senator Reid said that Republicans who oppose ObamaCare are modern day versions of those who opposed abolishing slavery and affording women the right to vote.
He didn’t go as far as calling GOPers baby rapists, but Reid’s time on floor was limited.
From The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room, Jordan Fabian writes:
“Folks tend to crack under pressure,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) at a press conference. “It is an indication of desperation.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he was “personally offended” by the remarks that were “beneath the dignity of the Majority Leader…and the Senate.”
Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman John Thune (S.D.) called the comments “inflammatory and irresponsible.”
Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Reid said “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right.”
He continued “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough’ … He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right.”
Whether he was trying to be clever by delivering a well-cadenced, “themed” commentary about the infamous “slow downs” of history – his pitiful, weasel-like attempt at a mini “I Have A Dream” missive – or whether he was just “winging it” around some loose index card scribblings, his asininity is epic.
That he could speak as clearly as he did with both feet firmly ensconced in his mouth is the real story here.
Surely Mr. Reid is aware that more Democrats, as a percentage, opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than Republicans. Surely Mr. Reid is aware that the Republican Party was the anti-slavery party. (More on this history in a moment).
But far more relevant than that is the absolute absurdity in trying to compare the concern of American citizens who oppose – or at least question – the concept of revamping the entire health care delivery system to those who enslaved other human beings. It is inconceivable that any clear thinking human being could draw such a comparison in good conscience. The notion that Americans who worry about costs, or who are concerned about the decline in quality of health care, or are wary about the government seizing far too much power, is akin to owning other human beings and denying them their basic human rights is contemptible.
According to Reid, simply by virtue of the legislation being a “health care” bill, it should be reflexively supported by the American people, no questions asked.
The irony is … health care reform, as Reid sees it, creates an unprecedented level of servitude to the federal government.
Recall the famous screeching screed of Senator Hillary Clinton exclaiming how everyone has the right to debate and disagree with any administration, regardless of who they are. (It’s a sound bite well played on talk radio, annoying as it is). That’s all well and good, of course, but when conservatives do it, it somehow harkens back to a time of lynchings and whippings.
But returning to history for a moment … Through the middle of the twentieth century, segregationists overwhelmingly voted Democratic – and that includes four election victories for the patriarch of quintessential modern liberalism, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. University types conveniently ignore this long standing “relationship” of racism and political ideology – that is, until white Southerners began voting Republican in the 1960s. Suddenly, such connections mattered. To academia, the affiliation between racism and liberalism was nothing more than sheer coincidence prior to the 1960s, but once the GOP began drawing Southern whites, the connection somehow became obvious and worthy of mentioning.
Incidentally, I happen to agree that early twentieth-century Roosevelt liberalism was not inherently or philosophically tied to the racism that permeated the Democrat Party (especially in the South).
Precisely my point.
Through the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s, as the Democrat Party continued to shift more blatantly leftward, older segregationists were, in essence, forced to choose between the lesser of two evils in terms of party affiliation. Theirs was a weakening coalition anyway – certainly not strong enough to form a third party – so their leanings, in the absence of anything better, tended toward more race-neutral politics and smaller government.
The Democrat Party, meanwhile, was reinventing itself, becoming the anti-war, big government, welfare party. Liberals were, among other things, promoting abortion rights, bussing and affirmative action.
Many middle class Americans didn’t like what they were hearing from Democrats and began jumping ship – and not just in the South either.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that most white southerners actually identified themselves as Republicans. And it wasn’t until a decade later when Republicans finally held most House seats in the South.
That the decline of racism – particularly in the South – coincides with the steady rise of Republican affiliation is, to say the least, most interesting.