Being wrong does not make Reid a racist, however. Republicans, meanwhile, do themselves no favors by enlisting in America’s ever-growing ranks of politically correct police. GOP national chairman Michael Steele has led the way, accusing Reid of racism and bemoaning that any Republican who spoke as Reid did would be vilified and urged to resign the Senate leadership by Democrats and allied groups who are now rallying to Reid’s defense. Former Mississippi Senator Trent Lott was forced to do just that in 2002 when he made racially tone-deaf comments at the late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party.
Steele is of course right about this double standard. But the chairman does nothing to restore integrity to the political debate by validating the political left’s pernicious smear that any and all comments about race, however innocuous, must be treated as an act of racism, with their author forced to prostrate himself before various racial lobbies or risk banishment from polite society.
For Republicans to play the race card is also strategically short-sighted. It’s possible that the shrill cries of racism will depress Reid’s already tumbling poll numbers in Nevada and damage his reelection prospects. But Republicans won’t emerge unscathed. Exaggerated sensitivity on racial matters will win the GOP no credit from multicultural censors. It will merely perpetuate the depressing cycle that sees intelligent debate silenced for unintelligent reasons and ensure that the racism charge is deployed again in future – likely against Republicans. It’s hard to see how anyone but Democrats will benefit from that. As Peter Collier observes, “Nobody beats the Democrats at race-baiting!”Read it all here.