Realizing my Republican counterparts are circling the maypole over Sen. Reid’s latest political gaffe–I’ve decided to weigh in.
Truth is, I don’t think his comment about Obama rises to the level of resignation any more than Sen. Lott’s now infamous comment to Sen. Thurmond (RIP) did. Was it stupid? decidedly so. But lets get one thing straight: Being elected by the people doesn’t mean you’re a rocket scientist (unless you’re Rep. Holt). But it does mean you’re human…and, being such, you’re bound to say something stupid every now and then.
I was there the night Sen. Lott made the remarks that ultimately stripped him of his leadership post. And contrary to how they read, his words–“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”-they weren’t the words of a forked tongued racist. They were the words of a man who was raised to respect his elders–one who stood in awe of Thurmond’s then-unmatched legislative career and celebrated the life of a man who resigned from the bench to land in a glider on the beach at Normandy. No doubt similar words of appreciation will be spoken when Sen. Byrd takes his leave. And they will be spoken by the very ones who cried foul that night. The intent was as harmless as a Sunday morning compliment on a hat that looks more like a birds nest than a boutique find. But you wouldn’t know that to read it in the papers. And you also wouldn’t know he’d said it more than once over the years.
At a 1980 rally for then-presidential candidate Reagan in Mississippi, the keynote speaker, Sen. Thurmond, rallied the crowd with the words this country “cannot stand four more years of [President] Jimmy Carter. . . . We’ve got to balance the budget. Jimmy Carter won’t do it, but Ronald Reagan will do it.” Then Thurmond declared: “[We] want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states.” Lott followed with the remark we all know so well.
Was it meant to be racist then? No. Was it meant to be racist at Sen. Thurmond’s 100th birthday party? Not a chance.
I suppose if you subscribe to the adage “an eye for an eye,” you think Sen. Reid should resign. I have a better suggestion: Let’s get out of the sandbox long enough to take a look at the big picture.
Suppose the Dems do ask Reid to resign (which is the way it always happens–even if it’s reported as a 2AM personal epiphany). Then what? The Dems are lauded for eradicating a moth in the closet of Democracy? And we’re suddenly “led” by the likes of Boxer or Durbin?
Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to let this one go. Remember the fall of Daschle and let the Dems go out with a bang.