Reid on Lott: 'If you tell ethnic jokes in the backroom, it’s that much easier to say ethnic things publicly.' 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments about President Obama's "light skin" and "lack of negro dialect" become more interesting in the light of his 2002 comment on the racial controversy that stripped Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., of his leadership position. Over the weekend, his hometown paper highlighted his comments from that time to the Associated Press:

“You play how you practice… If you tell ethnic jokes in the backroom, it’s that much easier to say ethnic things publicly. I’ve always practiced how I play.”

The implication, of course, is that Lott must have been saying lots of racist things behind closed doors for him to praise in public Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential run of 1948. Perhaps there is a benign reading to Reid's "Negro" comments, but having harshly judged others, Reid now looks like a fool, even if you don't believe he's using the N-word behind closed doors.

Moreover, it is obvious why Democrats are rallying to Reid's cause now. He is the Senate Majority Leader, and if he is weakened to the point that on-the-fence Democrats don't believe he can guarantee their sweetheart deals in the future, then the health care bill could fail on its second Senate vote. The liberal tolerance for racism in their ranks appears to be heightened in such a situation, when major ideological goals are at stake.

About The Author

David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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