Monday, December 7, 2009

Harry Reid compares health care opponents to racists, sexists, bigots

Fox News replays Harry Reid's pathetic diatribe on the Senate floor this morning comparing opponents of his health care bill to proponents of slavery, and women's suffrage and civil rights obstructionists.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) voiced his outrage over Reid's statement shortly afterward on Fox:  From Talking Points Memo:
Hatch, later on Fox News, said the speech was "extremely offensive."

"If you go back into the civil rights debate, it was the Republicans who helped get it through. If you go back to women's rights, Republicans have always been there," Hatch said. "I could go on and on."

"Harry's a friend, but he shouldn't have used that language," he said, adding that it was a "slap in the face" to both Republicans and Democrats.
Here's the offending video clip:

Dingy Harry never lets the facts get in the way of the show.  Here's a little history recap which is instructive in laying bare Reid's absurd statement.
On the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert Byrd (now 92, President pro tempore of the Senate and third in line to the presidency) ended his 14-hour address (see famous filibusters) delivered in an attempt to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  From the senate website, here's what happened next:
As Senator Byrd took his seat, House members, former senators, and others—150 of them—vied for limited standing space at the back of the chamber. With all gallery seats taken, hundreds waited outside in hopelessly extended lines.

Georgia Democrat Richard Russell offered the final arguments in opposition. Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, who had enlisted the Republican votes that made cloture a realistic option, spoke for the proponents with his customary eloquence. Noting that the day marked the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's nomination to a second term, the Illinois Republican proclaimed, in the words of Victor Hugo, "Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come." He continued, "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!"

Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the 37 years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. (red emphasis mine)
Oh, and about women's suffrage, here's a mini-refresher course from the National Federation of Republican Women's website:
The Republican Party pioneered the right of women to vote and was consistent in its support throughout the long campaign for acceptance. It was the first major party to advocate equal rights for women and the principle of equal pay for equal work.

The Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848 marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Two years later there was a nationwide meeting in Worcester, Mass.

By 1870, the Massachusetts Republican State Convention had already seated two suffragettes, Lucy Stone and Mary A. Livermore, as delegates. In addition, the National Republican Convention of 1872 approved a resolution favoring the admission of women to “wider fields of usefulness” and added that “the honest demand of this class of citizens for additional rights … should be treated with respectful consideration.”

Wyoming, the state that pioneered women’s suffrage, sent two women, Therese A. Jenkins and Cora G. Carleton, to the 1892 Republican Convention in Minneapolis as alternate delegates. This was the first time women were seated at a Republican National Convention.

This convention was also the first to be addressed by a woman, J. Ellen Foster, chairman of the Women’s Republican Association of the United States. A strong believer in organization, Foster said her association had prepared work plans for women’s involvement in national politics. Copies were given to each delegate and alternate. “We are here to help you,” she declared, “and we are here to stay.”

At the request of Susan B. Anthony, Sen. A.A. Sargent, a Republican from California, introduced the 19th Amendment in 1878. Sargent’s amendment (also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) was defeated four times by a Democrat-controlled Senate. When the Republican Party regained control of Congress in 1919, the Equal Suffrage Amendment finally passed the House in May of that year and in the Senate in June.

When the Amendment was submitted to the states, 26 of the 36 states that ratified it had Republican legislatures. Of the nine states that voted against ratification, eight were Democratic. Twelve states, all Republican, had given women full suffrage before the federal amendment was ratified.
I really think rebutting Reid on the slavery slander should be unnecessary, but in this time of revisionist dumbed-down history in our public school system, I feel I must finish what I started.  First this,
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
And this
The 13th amendment, which formally abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31, 1865. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The necessary number of states ratified it by December 6, 1865. The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
The leadership of Harry Reid reminds me of a favorite quote:
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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