Republican leaders started circling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid like sharks the minute word got out that the new book, “Game Change” quoted him as saying then-Senator Barack Obama would be an electable presidential candidate because he was a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
The GOP is calling for Reid to resign over the comment, calling it racist and stating that no Republican would have gotten away with it — but they’re not getting much support from black leaders. The Congressional Black Caucus backs Reid 100 percent, citing his strong track record for minority-friendly legislation, according to a Fox News report.
Black activist Clay Claiborne takes it even farther. In a Daily Kos column headlined, “Reid was right!” he states the obvious: Reid’s comments were not an assessment of Obama, but of the largely white voting public. “As such,” Claiborne writes, “they are a rather blunt and hardheaded assessment of the role that racism plays in American politics.”
Claiborne, who is not one of Reid’s biggest fans in general, unapologetically stated that ” what Harry Reid said was 100% accurate.”
It is also well established that one of peculiarities of racism in America is that not only are whites to be considered superior to blacks, but light skinned blacks are to be considered superior to their darker brothers. This peculiar notion is not only believed among some whites, tragically it is also believed by some blacks, and like most racist views, they don’t even have to be consciously held to play a role in our behavior. “
Furthermore, Claiborne notes, Republicans are trying to manipulate and divide people by trying to spin a comment that mentions race as one that was racist in nature. Reid’s reference to the voting public can not be compared to Trent Lott‘s comments that if Strom Thurmond had been elected president, “We wouldn’t have had all these problems.” Thurmond adamantly supported Jim Crow laws and filibustered for a record-setting 24 hours against civil rights legislation. Claiborne writes:
Hitler says “Kill all the Jews” and another guy says “There are a lot of Jews in banking” and you have one label for both of them? Who does that serve?”
Other black leaders agree. Al Sharpton told Fox News that Reid’s comment isn’t even in the same ballpark as Lott’s:
[Reid’s comment was] nowhere near comparable to saying you wish a segregationist had been the president. He was saying the opposite.”
Reid has apologized for his insensitively worded remark, and President Obama has accepted the apology. The Majority Leader also has spoken with Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, House Minority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. They are backing Reid.
Republicans are in a frenzy not because they care about racism, but because they hate Obama and want to bring him down. It’s patently obvious. One Tea Party group has launched a $1 million ad campaign against Reid. Nobody hates Obama more than the Tea Party. And nobody would be happier to lynch his main man in the Senate.