Saturday, January 09, 2010

 

The Harry Reid Ghetto Pass

How nice to see that, when it comes to race in American, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has such, ahem, "enlightened" (pun intended)!

A nice nugget from the soon-to-be-published '08 campaign retrospective written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann:

On page 37, a remark, said "privately" by Sen. Harry Reid, about Barack Obama's racial appeal. Though Reid would later say that he was neutral in the presidential race, the truth, the authors write, was that his "

encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.

E-mails sent late Friday to Reid staffers were not immediately answered. (Update: Reid apologized.)

Thank goodness no jive-talkin' darky ever thought about running for president! No way Reid could have supported him!!

Despite Reid's apology for his awkward choice of words, this nonetheless makes Reid's recent phone call to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rather curious. He told the billionaire mayor that he shouldn't get involved in former Rep. Harold Ford's possible New York senate run.

Look based on the the pictures I've seen of Harold Ford, he strikes me as a pretty light-skinned dude! (Below: Ford's the one on the left. The gentleman on the right is clearly too dark a Negro to get Harry Reid's endorsement for political office!)

2009 MLK Day of Service in Norfolk VA
Old Dominion University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture with Harold Ford Jr, U.S. Representative, D-Tenn. and Virginia Governor's Advisory Board on National and Community Service member Dr. Jarris Taylor Jr.


And, for a Southern guy, his dialect isn't too Negro-ish! So, like, what's the deal, Harry? Not enough that you pushed the darker-skinned (though admittedly corrupt) Roland Burris out of the Senate? You can't even tolerate a cafe au lait brother in the Senate?

Day-um!!

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder also pulls out a nice Bill Clinton-Teddy Kennedy anecdote on Obama. Will be interesting to see if Clinton's response/apology is as clear-cut as Reid's.

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Fall Of The House of Troy

After two national championships (one shared) and losing another by a hair, USC's Pete Carroll has decided to head back to the NFL. He's apparently reached an agreement in principle with the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll's previous pro stays -- with the Jets and Patriots in the '90s -- weren't much to write home over.

Considering USC's rather mediocre (for them) '09 season, one might think that Carroll just came to the conclusion that there were no more mountains for him to climb. Why bother rebuilding the program, just so it can conquer the Pac-10 again? Are there more possible championships in the offing? Maybe not -- the SEC looks like it will be dominant for several more years (Alabama, in particular).

But is there perhaps something else going on? Is it possible Carroll is getting out of town before the school and his program get completely taken apart by NCAA penalties?

Could be.

Shortly before the Carroll rumors began surfacing, USC announced that it was punishing itself for apparent NCAA violations involving former basketball player O.J. Mayo (currently with the NBA's . The school agreed to keep itself out of any postseason games -- including both the conference and NCAA tournaments -- among other self-imposed penalties. Its former coach, Tim Floyd, resigned after admitting that he helped steer money to the man who helped USC recruit Mayo.

What does this have to do with Carroll?

Well, in addition to the Mayo scandal, the NCAA has been investigating -- for more than three years now! -- allegations involving former Trojan Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and his relationship with various marketing agents. In fact, there are some rumors that the school decided to bring the hammer down on the basketball program in the hopes that the NCAA doesn't do major damage to the extremely profitable football operation.

What are the odds that Carroll is seeing the writing on the wall? The NCAA is already preparing to strip recently retired Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden of 14 victories because of a cheating scandal? Think Carroll wants to still be on the USC sidelines when the NCAA decides that Reggie Bush may have been ineligible when the school won at least one of its championships? That any victories from that year may be taken away? That there might be enough evidence to suggest an administration-wide disregard for the rules?

Given that likelihood, wouldn't you take a big contract and bolt to the NFL?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

 

Democratic Dominoes

"Wave" elections have certain characteristics in common. One is a passion and energy imbalance between the two parties. Right now, Republicans are as fired up as they were in 1994 (and Democrats were in 2006). Another characteristic is when one side starts seeing more retirements -- which create open seat opportunities for the other party.

The announcements yesterday that Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) and Chris Dodd of Connecticut are packing it in must be chilling for Democrats. Dodd, arguably, may actually be helping the party out (as similarly ethically-challenged Bob Torricelli did a few years back). But still, at least two GOPers -- former Rep. Rob Simmons and WWE co-founder Linda McMahon have huge head starts in campaign organizations -- even against popular Attorney General Dick Blumenthal.

However, the look is pretty bleak in North Dakota -- a red state in which Dorgan and his younger clone Kent Conrad are the only Democrats who are competitive at the state level. This is about as sure of a GOP pick-up as one is likely to find.

As Democrats make politically dubious decisions to hold the health-care conference meetings behind closed doors, the likelihood of Republicans tapping into independent anger to nationalize the elections -- turning anti-incumbent anger into an anti-Democratic tide will just grow.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

 

Imus Schools Hume

It's not exactly a good moment when a once-good White House reporter-turned-political-pundit has to be schooled on the accuracy of religious analysis. It's even more shocking when the schooloer is Don Imus -- who's put his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion -- and the schoolee is Fox pundit Brit Hume.

Nonetheless, that's what happened yesterday when Imus explained why Hume was off-base in his Sunday urging that Tiger Woods convert from Buddhism to Christianity:



I'm curious what Hume's advice would be to "out" Christian politicians -- like Mark Sanford and John Ensign, for example. They both campaigned as good, God-fearing men. Both cheated on their wives; Sanford's has already left him and filed for divorce. Ensign is still with his, seemingly -- but also got his parents to help pay off his mistress and her cuckolded spouse. The point is that Christians also fail to uphold their vows. Given Hume's background -- and that he's on a panel that analyzes politics more than pop culture or general current events, it would seem more appropriate that, if Hume wanted to make a point on the power of Christianity to redeem sinners, giving advice to those politicians -- instead of a golfer -- might have been more appropriate.

One last thought: For all of Tiger Woods' actual and imagined sins (from adultery to being too profligate a salesman), one thing it's hard to condemn him for is trying to force any personal beliefs -- political or religious -- on the public. He vies away from making partisan statements because, following the Michael Jordan example, "Republicans buy sneakers [or watches or razors or whatever] too." Similarly, Woods wouldn't want to be seen as a proselytizer for being Buddhist -- any more than he would appear in a commercial promoting the Obama agenda.

In short, Woods has deserved a lot of the societal approbation that has come his way over the last six weeks. Having a weekend political pundit urging him to convert to Christianity isn't one of those things deserved.

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