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Being a Democrat Means Never Having to Say You"re Sorry…and Mean It

January 18, 2010

George W. Bush was said to be a walking gaffe machine. Late night comedians had eight years of fertile ground for material about the former president's fumbling vocabulary. Indeed, books, calendars and other materials were published touting "Bushisms." But if loose lips sink ships, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could take down a carrier division. Like Biden, Reid has a penchant for uttering inanities and not even realizing how stupid he sounds.

The soon-to-be-former senator from Nevada has compared those who oppose his health care boondoggle to supporters of slavery. Remember that one?

In 2007, while America's sons and daughters were in harm's way, fighting and bleeding and dying for our country in Iraq, Reid told us that the surge had failed and that the war was lost.

He once called the President of the United States (Bush, of course) a "loser" to a classroom of students. This year, he called Tea Party people "evil-mongers."

He told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Ted Kennedy's death "is going to help" Democrats pass health care.

And at the dedication of the new Capitol Visitors Center, he expressed appreciation for the fact that now he and his colleagues wouldn't have to "smell the tourists" filling the Capitol on hot summer days in Washington.

Now a new book, "Game Change," by Mark Halperin, quotes Senator Foot-in-mouth as saying during the 2008 presidential campaign that Barack Obama could win because he is "light-skinned" and has "no Negro dialect — unless he wants to." All of which, as George Will has pointed out, is true, but it is about as politically incorrect as anything to come out of the mouth of a Democrat politician since West Virginia Senator and former KKK leader Robert Byrd used the words "white niggers" in a rambling, all-too-candid interview a few years ago.

But then, being a Democrat means you never have to say you're sorry…and mean it. And if you do say you're sorry, it is usually one of those "I'm sorry if I offended anyone" apologies. (I guess that means that if no one was offended, then there is no need to apologize — even if what was said was wrong and deeply offensive.)

All of us remember what happened to Trent Lott when he held the Senate majority leader's job a few years ago. Poor Trent made the mistake of standing up and saying something nice about retiring Senator Strom Thurmond on the occasion of Thurmond's 100th birthday. As I recall, Lott said that lot of people feel the country would have been better off if then-Dixiecrat Thurmond had won the 1948 presidential election. Remember all hell breaking loose? One could hear the harrumphing of virtually all Democrats (one of whom was a little-known Illinois state senator named Barack Obama) and the wimpy gasping of far too many Republicans as Lott's career went swirling around and down the toilet.

Of course, Strom Thurmond stood for a lot more than segregation, even in 1948, but that didn't matter. Trent Lott was pilloried and forced to resign his position as majority leader. 

Three Republicans are vying for their nomination to run against Harry Reid, and polls show that Reid would lose to any of his potential opponents if the election were held today. Based on current polling of GOP voters, Reid's likely opponent in next November's election will be former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden. Lowden says that even before this latest revelation, Reid had become an embarrassment to most Nevadans. Reid responds by saying, of Lowden, that he will "vaporize her." Lowden, sporting the sense of humor that has gotten her this far, quips, "Tell him to start with my hips!"

The irony is that Harry Reid is being accused of making racist statements toward Barack Obama, but it is Reid who has fallen in line to carry the water for the president, and it is Obama who is in the position of calling the shots. Obama says he has forgiven Reid and wants to put the whole thing behind them. I guess Democrats are only capable of being offended by things said by Republicans.

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Copyright ©2010 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.