| Politics

Reid's Goosey Gander

by Robert Capozzi

It never ceases to amuse when karmic payback plays itself out. Somehow or other, people generally and politicians especially don't seem to get the universal truth that you reap what you sow. Or what goes around, comes around. Or even Seinfeld's "even Steven."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid illustrates the lesson once again. His hushed toned voice and seemingly even temper belies a man who will make the nastiest, most histrionic overstatements in public to "win," not apparently realizing that his bad karma will boomerang and smack him upside his head.

A few weeks ago, Reid said this:

Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is this: Slow down. Stop everything. Let's start over,” Reid said.

“If you think you have heard these same excuses before, you are right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said: Slow down. It is too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough.

Surely we can agree that health care is an important issue, and we can buy that Reid believes it's as fundamental as emancipation or suffrage, but it strains credibility – big time – to suggest that ObamaCare is anything like the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments to the US Constitution. Those amendments were discrete and specific. The currently pending health (really) insurance legislation is complex, complicated, and voluminous. Reid's lame attempt at analogy would (or should) be laughable for the fair minded. (OK, I'm open to hearing how the analogy holds, but I admit to being more than a bit skeptical!)

That was December. Now in January, this news item about Reid is reported:

Majority Leader Harry Reid, seeking to quell the uproar from a report in a new book that he called Barack Obama a 'light-skinned' African-American who lacked a 'Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,' is mounting a full-fledged damage control effort to save both his job and his political career.

What's interesting is that much of Reid's statement seems true. Obama IS light skinned. There IS a manner of speaking that I suspect most people – black and white – would identify as an African-American's voice, and Obama generally doesn't sound like a black man, although sometimes he does, especially when he's ringing a more populist tone. Politicians do this all the time, sometimes sounding wonkish and sometimes sounding down-home. It's no big deal to recognize that.

It IS, however, embarrassing that Reid was caught in a moment of candor about the sitting President, who has a black father and white mother, but was raised by his mother in Hawaii and Indonesia. Reid seems to suggest that Obama is not authentic in his manner, but rather is acting. Blah, blah, blah...you get the point.

I would not be surprised to see Reid joining Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan in the soon-to-retire-from-the-Senate camp in the coming weeks.

Even Steven!