January 12, 2010 at 2:26 am #88996
The performance of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now being overshadowed by a comment he made that some people are taking to be a racial slur. But is it really? Or is it just more stirring the political pot for political gain?
January 12, 2010 at 3:33 am #89016
Looks like it’s a manufactured controversy. Nothing to see here, move on …
January 12, 2010 at 4:29 am #89014
Who here thinks Reid’s racial slurs should be off limits in political discussions? Guess what: nothing is off limits in political discussion. I guess that is a hypothetical question. Here is another one: Who here thinks Congress is too political? Ha! Get over it. Or, said in an even more sarcastic way: Congress would be a great place if it wasn’t for all the politics, wouldn’t it?.
I try to be as non-political as possible, and my hope is that GovLoop remains as non-political as possible. So maybe what all here should do, for the sake of the community, is to stay out of the squabbling and mud slinging that has been an ugly side of our way of politics since Jefferson and Adams had a very public falling out.
There are plenty of reasons to keep politics out of Govloop, one of which is the huge number of govies here in the system. All federal employees and many state and local employees are the Hatch Act which restricts political activity and if this site becomes a place full of partisan bickering then I imagine we will see a mass exodus of members here.
For more on the Hatch Act see: http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm
January 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm #89012
The issue behind the scenes is would Reid and his cronies be ranting about racial slurs if it had been a prominent conservative … you betcha, they always do.
January 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm #89010
The only reason I bring it up is to bring it down. The news media seems to latch unto non-stories on slow news days and make them as dramatic as possible to get higher ratings and advertising dollars. I think the media feeding freny is pretty self-serving this way. Had Captain Sully landed safely on the Hudson on this day, no one would have thought twice about Harry Reid.
January 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm #89008
The candidate behaviour literature, and the employment testing literature, is bulging at the seems with research on what is collectively referred to a “response distortion” in some instances, or “faking good”.
The facts are that ANYONE who is applying for a position which they truly desire, will endeavour to present themselves as the person they believe the employer will want/like. We show up to the interview dressed more neatly than we probably would at a regular day on the job. We disguise the fact that we might be 3 months pregnant. We fail to disclose disabilities that are not immediately obvious. We adapt our style of speech to ingratiate ourselves with the host culture, and perhaps introduce some quips or humour that we feel will make us perceived as someone who will “fit in”.
And whether it involves fitting in with respect to racial/ethnic aspects or something else (which candidate is NOT going to wear a modest western shirt and jeans at some point when campaigning in the western states?), all political candidates are going to try and be who their campaign organizers tell them the voters want them to be. The height of this silliness was, for me at any rate, illustrated by Mike Dukakis prancing around in military garb in a tank, trying to appeal to voters who view military strength as a desirable feature of a leader. It was like Joe Lieberman attending a hip-hop concert. While, as a non-American, I did not follow her campaign that closely, I am sure people will be able to point to examples of where Hillary Clinton was more feminine at one rally, to appeal to female voters, and more androgenous at others to appeal beyond female voters. During his campaigns, Bill Clinton was variously a legal policy wiz in high-end suit to appeal to the business community, and “aw shucks” regular guy at the burger joint to appeal to those voters. Then there was George Bush using Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” at a rally to appeal to those voters. The list of “Zelig”-like transformations is endless and crosses party lines and historical eras. To pursue political office is to be a chameleon, and whatever shades or transmutations one has to adopt to acquire the magic numbers, one will adopt. That’s just the facts.
So, is it likely the case that Barack Obama not only had/has solid leadership skills but also juuuuuuust the right degree of “blackness” (whatever the heck that is) to appeal to African-American voters, but not so much as to deter non-African-American voters? Yes. He’s a good man, but I am confident there are other good men and women who were not nearly as electable. Reid’s comments were about the role that race plays in electability, and in that respect, I find them neither racist nor uncalled for. There has not been a candidate for such a high office that straddled racial lines, so he has been an interesting case study. To notice that is not at all prejudicial.
January 13, 2010 at 4:39 am #89006
I have no idea what you are talking about, so it’s clearly a non-story to me.
January 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm #89004
Not that its a non-story — on the contrary, I think the fact that we still have issues with racism is important to note — some folks thinks racism is dead and gone, but it is so NOT dead and gone!
However, now that I’ve said that, yes, in my humble opinion, “the media monster” is searching for things to stir pots with, things that are irrelevant, things about which no one else is angry nor upset nor pointing fingers. Journalism in this country is sometimes a little too “free” — but that is where we must be conscientious consumers, because we all want that freedom as well.
January 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm #89002
Reid’s comments are nothing like Trent Lott’s…Please, let’s move on.
January 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm #89000
Since the horrible Haiti happening has occurred, the media has once again turned its lens but this time to something more important.
January 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm #88998
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