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Senator Harry Reid, You Lie!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV), on Monday, made comments indicating that Democratic Senators are on the wrong side of the health care reform debate. Here is a portion of Senator Reid’s comments, “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this: Slow down, stop everything, let's start over. If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, "Slow down, it's too early, let's wait." When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote. Some insisted they simply slow down. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”
Some facts, regarding Reid’s remarks, must be stipulated. First, “us” is understood to mean Democratic Senators or Democrats in general. Second “Republicans” refers to Republican Senators or Republicans in general. Third, “history” specifically means the three historical events referenced in his remarks: slavery, women’s suffrage, and equal civil rights.
Slavery was an immoral atrocity that was tolerated, but not accepted, by most of the conservative founding fathers of the United States. However, the Constitution was written in such a way as to limit the voting power of slave owners and provide groundwork for the abolishment of slavery. It did take a long time for slavery to be abolished. However, history teaches us that it was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who finally took a stand against a strong Democratic south and refused to allow expansion of slavery. Most people would agree that the Republican President was on the right side of history.
Women’s suffrage, also known as women’s right to vote or the 19th amendment to the Constitution, was similarly supported or rejected by Democrats and Republicans. However, it was not until Democratic President Woodrow Wilson changed his position and supported the amendment that a Republican House and Democrat Senate approved the legislation. The amendment was than ratified by the states. This issue appears to have both parties on both sides of history.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was proposed to Congress by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond (SC) than sustained the longest filibuster in history (over 24 hours) to stop the legislation. Thurmond’s arguments against equal civil rights were based upon his belief in segregation. Eventually, Thurmond recanted his racial positions and switched his allegiance to the Republican Party. This unsuccessful filibuster by a Democratic Senator is exactly what Reid referred to in his remarks to the Senate on Monday. Eventually, the Republican sponsored Civil Rights act was passed. Again, most people would agree that the Republican President was on the right side of history.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced to Congress by Democratic President John F. Kennedy. The House Rules Committee Chairman, Democratic Representative Howard W. Smith (VA), a well known segregationist, vowed to keep the bill bottled up in committee. Before the bill came to the floor, President Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became President. Johnson was able to use his experience and bully pulpit to push the bill through the Democratic controlled House. The Democratic controlled Senate was also expected to kill the bill. However, the Republican Minority Leader was able to use a novel approach and moved the bill along. Even though it was filibustered by Democrats, including a 14 hour speech by Democratic Senator Robert Byrd (WV), it still passed with full Republican support and a grass roots initiative by Republican Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks to conservative Democratic President Kennedy and like-minded Republicans the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. Once again, most people would agree that the Republican Senators that supported President Kennedy’s initiative were on the right side of history.
When put into context, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments are telling. In each of his examples it is clear that Democratic Senators of the past were on the wrong side of history. It was Democratic Senators that demanded the continuation of slavery. The Democrats appeared to be no more or less supportive of women’s right to vote than Republicans of the time. The Democratic Congressmen and Senators of 1957 and 1964 were avid opponents of the Civil Rights Acts. Harry Reid believes that his party has been on the right side of history.
One of two things must be true. Either the Democratic Senators of the past were on the right side of the issues discussed or they were on the wrong side. Most of America believes that they were on the wrong side of the issue. Therefore, based upon Reid’s own examples, the Democratic Senators have a history of being on the wrong side of major issues: slavery, suffrage, and civil rights. It is not difficult than, to deduce that they are probably on the wrong side of the current major issue: Health Care Reform.
Evidence has been given that Senator Reid is not telling the truth about past Democratic Senators’ positions. He purposely made statements intended to deceive his listeners into believing that Republican Senators had been guilty of the racist actions of Democratic Senators. Simply put, Harry Reid is a liar. Once again, a person should come to the obvious conclusion. Harry Reid lied about slavery, suffrage, and civil rights; he is probably lying about Health Care Reform.