Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Several days ago, Republican politicians got in line to denounce Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (video below). RNC chairman Michael Steele:

Having made this disgraceful statement on the floor of the United States Senate, Mr. Reid should immediately apologize on the Senate floor to his colleagues, to his constituents, and to the American people. If he is going to stand by these statements, the Democrats must immediately reconsider his fitness to lead them.

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss:

They are so desperate that it is unbelievable. And for Senator Reid to go out this morning and make such an outlandish statement like he made, just is another indication of the desperation that the Democrats are showing and the pressure that they're feeling...."

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn:

I think it's beneath the dignity of the majority leader, for one. I think it's beneath the dignity of the make any kind of outlandish claim similar to what was made on the Senate floor this morning, and I personally am insulted by the Majority Leader.

They all were criticizing the analogy (video below) between health care and slavery made that morning by Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, who argued in part

Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, 'slow down, stop everything, let's start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right," Reid said Monday. "When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said 'slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough.'

These Republicans were right- as far as they went, notwithstanding examples of Republican heavyweights comparing slavery to taxation, the economic stimulus, or abortion. But they didn't go far enough. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post said it concisely, plainly, yet completely on MSNBC's Hardball on December 7:

You don‘t compare anything to slavery. You don‘t compare anything to the Holocaust. OK? So let‘s get real.

Slavery. And the Holocaust. But the Republicans did not mention the Holocaust.

A mere oversight? Nah. These Republicans, being intelligent individuals of some sensitivity, are aware that comparing anything to the Holocaust is offensive and irrational. But what they are most sensitive to is the (debased) base of the base of the GOP, which periodically refers to abortion as a "Holocaust," unlike more reasonable "pro-life" advocates. They could say simply: Any comparison to slavery or the Holocaust is wrong. Period. But the extremist, fanatical wing of the anti-abortion rights wing of the party would be enraged and demand contrition. And unlike the Democratic Party, whose leaders incessantly whittle health care reform down, this is not a party fond of bucking its base.

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