Saturday, January 9, 2010
Open Mouth, Insert Foot
This article courtesy of Politico.com:
Reid's greatest gaffes
Harry Reid's comments about Barack Obama as a "light-skinned" African-American with "no Negro dialect" are hardly the first to land him in hot water.
The Senate majority leader has a habit of speaking his mind, which can be a dangerous thing for a politician — especially for one who tends to say what he means in the bluntest way possible.
Some other memorable moments the Nevada Democrat might like to forget.
1. On the Iraq war: “This war is lost.” (April 2007)
The fallout: At the time, Reid’s comment reflected a consensus on the leftover violence in Iraq: that the United States had lost the war. With the gradual drawdown of troops and the decrease in U.S. casualties in the past two years, Reid probably wouldn’t make that comment today.
2. On Alan Greenspan: “One of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington.” (March 2005)
The fallout: At the time, Greenspan was still considered a master of the economy, and Republicans seized on Reid’s comments. But the nation’s economic woes have made the Greenspan era a little less golden in hindsight, so Reid’s comments may withstand the test of time.
3. On the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.): “I think it’s going to help us.” (August 2009)
The fallout: Reid was saying what many Democrats were thinking: Kennedy’s death will inspire Democrats to finish the job on health care. But the phrasing was inartful, opening the door to Republicans who were eager to accuse Democrats of politicizing Kennedy’s death.
4. “You know, Joe, I can’t stand John McCain.” (August 2008)
The fallout: Hard to get past that one now that McCain is back in the Senate, but it would have been harder still if he’d made it to the White House.
5. On President George W. Bush: “I think this guy is a loser.” (May 2005)
The fallout: Reminded later that he’d called the president a “loser,” Reid volunteered that he’d also called him “a liar.” He also noted that he’d apologized for the first line — but not for the second.
6. On Capitol tourists: “You can always tell when it is summertime because you can smell the visitors. The visitors stand out in the high humidity, heat, and they sweat.” (December 2008)
The fallout: If Democrats were hoping to ditch the “Washington elitist” tag, this probably didn’t help.
7. To a Las Vegas Review-Journal executive: “I hope you go out of business.” (August 2009)
The fallout: The Review-Journal blasted him, of course. And given the state of the newspaper industry — and the high unemployment rate in Las Vegas — this wasn’t received very well by the locals. Reid’s office said he was just joking. “Sometimes, my humor doesn’t go over well,” Reid told POLITICO later.
.8. On Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Incompetent.” (June 2007)
The fallout: The comment stoked GOP criticisms that Democrats were anti-military, but Bush eventually replaced Pace.
9. On town hall protesters and agitators: “Evil-mongers.” (August 2009)
The fallout: Reid admitted in a later interview with Politics Daily that “I maybe could have been less descriptive.” But the comment pointed to a larger problem among Democrats: that they were too dismissive of town hall anger this recess.
10. On Senate opponent John Ensign: Ensign “shouldn’t be interpreting the Constitution,” because he’s a veterinarian. (1998)
The fallout: Reid barely won the 1998 election, and Ensign eventually made it to the Senate anyway, but it was an early insight into Reid’s biting words.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31303.html#ixzz0c9VXsmNE
UPDATE1: NewsBusters describes a "Face the Nation" broadcast, in which despite profuse apologies to President Obama and many other black leaders, Sen. Reid [who is struggling to hold on to his seat] and other Democrats will be hurt by this blunder in the upcoming election.
UPDATE2: Blogger Ed Driscoll chronicles the curious double standard the Democrats are applying to Harry Reid, and why Republicans want him to stay on as the Senate Majority Leader.