Harry Reid: The Evil Of Banality

Back in August we collated some of the "wit" and "wisdom" of "The Quotable Harry Reid":

On Iraq: “This war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything” – April 19, 2007

On the importance of energy diversity during the early stages of an economic recession: “Coal makes us sick, oil makes us sick, it’s ruining our country, it’s ruining our world.” — June of 2008

From December of 2008, Harry’s shares some advice on proper grooming and hygiene:

“My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Reid in his remarks. “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”

But it’s no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.

And yet, clearly, Harry is a Democrat who believes that democracy is what makes this nation great, as he reaffirmed earlier this month:

Town hall protesters are “evil-mongers,” says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily.

Such “evil-mongers” are using “lies, innuendo and rumor,” to drown out rational debate, Reid said.

From this past Friday, on how the passing of Ted Kennedy, a fellow Democratic senator, could aid in the government’s efforts to nationalize health care: “I think it’s going to help us.”

And also this month, Harry on the importance of the First Amendment and a diversified media environment:

On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-’n'-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”

Regarding that last pronouncement from Senator Geary, Glenn Thrush of the Politico believes “It Was All Just A Joke!”

As funny as the senator himself. So how does Harry top those classic witticisms?

But of course: "Reid Compares Opponents of Health Care Reform to Supporters of Slavery":

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.

The Nevada Democrat, in a sweeping set of accusations on the Senate floor, also compared health care foes to those who opposed women's suffrage and the civil rights movement -- even though it was Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, who unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and it was Republicans who led the charge against slavery.

Senate Republicans on Monday called Reid's comments "offensive" and "unbelievable."

But Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era.

There's just one enormous flaw in that argument, of course. (OK, there are probably lots of enormous flaws in that argument).

Dan Riehl notes:

Okay, so you don't support public health care. What does that equate to in Harry Reid's battered little mind?" Well, obviously, you'd be all for slavery were this 1957 all over, again. Naturally, what he fails to mention is, that would also make you a Democrat.

What a disgusting irresponsible comment. And people wonder why there are racial divisions remaining in this country. Reid and the Democrats can't resist playing the race card every time.

And as Michelle Malkin adds, "Shhh! Don’t confuse Reid with history while he’s playing the race card":

It was the GOP that fought slavery and the Democrat Party that battled to preserve it.

It’s the Democrat Party, not the GOP, that boasts an ex-Klansman among its senior leaders.

But don’t confuse Harry Reid with history while he invokes slavery to lambaste the GOP for opposing the government-run health care takeover.

Details? Bah!

* * *

Conservative producer/director Ray Griggs takes the smear meme head on:

Back in the spring of 2008 during the presidential campaign, Ann Althouse noted the circular illogic of such cries:

Come on. There is a serious question here about whether Obama is too left wing. We damned well get to talk about it. If you’re going to push us back and call us racists for trying to address an overwhelmingly important political problem with a black candidate for President, then what you are essentially saying is that America is not ready for a black President. And that would be racist. Either we can talk about him vigorously or we can’t. And if we can’t, he shouldn’t be President.

More recently, Victor Davis Hanson asked what such cries as Reid's would mean, if we were to take them literally:

The charge of racism has been leveled against critics of President Obama’s health-care reform by everyone from New York Times columnists, racial activists, and Democratic legislators to senior statesmen like Jimmy Carter (“It’s a racist attitude”), Bill Clinton (“some . . . are racially prejudiced”), and Walter Mondale (“I don’t want to pick a person [and] say, ‘He’s a racist,’ but I do think the way they’re piling on Obama . . . I think I see an edge in them that’s a little bit different”).

But are Obama’s critics really racists?

It is a serious charge. If true, it means the hope of a color-blind society is essentially over after a half-century of civil-rights progress. If false, it means that we have institutionalized vicious smears as legitimate political tactics — and, in the process, discredited the entire dialogue that surrounds racial prejudice.

Call it "The Evil of Banality", as I did back in October -- a phrase which suits the empty suit of a senator perfectly.

Update: Much more on Senator Geary's Area 51-sized memory hole from Jonah Goldberg.