Harry Reid's Remarks Raise Questions About Democratic Leadership

While he’s shown his support for Obama, his party should be wary of out-of-touch ideas.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

A couple of comments about the Sunday talk show dust-up over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's ridiculous remark about the Obama candidacy, as reported here by USA Today:

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele demanded that Reid step down after reports of his 2008 comments that Obama could win the presidency because he was "light-skinned" and did not employ a "Negro dialect."

Much to his credit, Reid immediately apologized about the remark, which he must have made in a defensive manner about whether an African-American could be elected president. No one can doubt Senator Reid's early commitment to and support of the Obama candidacy.

That said, it shows how out of touch the senator is in his attitudes toward race. Perhaps it is a matter of his age and his generation's more race-conscious approach toward politics and everything else. No matter what a politician's generational affiliation, however, that does not mean he can be forgiven for being so out of touch with the times.

I do not think GOP leader Michael Steele has any grounds on which to call for Reid's derailment. Nonetheless, the Democratic Party, which assumes the mantle of being more diverse, should question seriously whether any of its leaders should be as old-fashioned and behind the times as this remark makes Reid appear to be.