Harry Reid is the da Vinci of distraction. The moment any scandal, policy failure or political defeat crashes down on him — and there have been plenty the past few years — the Senate majority leader unleashes outrageous rhetoric that’s better suited for a sandbox than what once passed for the world’s greatest deliberative body. Worse, the Nevada Democrat has become especially fond of slinging race cards just to crank up the outrage.
Last week, Sen. Reid was in rare form following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn part of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. The 5-4 ruling declared that closely held for-profit businesses, such as craft retailer Hobby Lobby, do not have to provide some forms of birth control to female employees if doing so violates the owners’ religious beliefs. Sen. Reid eviscerated the decision. “The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Sen. Reid said.
That Sen. Reid would inject race into criticism of a ruling with gender-based ramifications was bad enough. What made the comment far worse, however, was that it was completely false. Justice Clarence Thomas, who happens to be black, sided with the court’s majority in the Hobby Lobby case.
Sen. Reid’s slip was no accident. He believes racial and ethnic minorities are ideologically monolithic constituencies who are incapable of independent or — gasp! — right-of-center thinking. In the majority leader’s mind, Mr. Thomas is not an African-American because the justice doesn’t blindly subscribe to liberal orthodoxy.
Recall that during Sen. Reid’s 2010 re-election campaign, he put Latinos in the same box. “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK? Do I need to say more?” Never mind that Brian Sandoval, who was running for Nevada governor that same year, is a Hispanic Republican.
Never mind that Sen. Reid himself, like the entire Senate Democratic leadership, is as white as an Irishman in a snowstorm. And never mind that after more than five years of Democratic control of the White House and the Senate, black and Hispanic unemployment — especially among teenagers — remains scandalously high. Sen. Reid’s “fix” for this problem — a higher minimum wage — will actually make it worse.
We thought the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president was supposed to herald an age of post-racial politics. So much for hope and change. Quit the race-baiting already, Sen. Reid. You’re clearly colorblind — in all the wrong ways.