Republicans Create False Comparison Between Harry Reid and Trent Lott

Republicans, generally lacking rational arguments or facts to support their views, frequently come up with bogus arguments based upon creating false equivalences. It was predictable that after Harry Reid’s comments on Barack Obama’s race were quoted in Game Change the Republicans would use them as grounds for attack. They are trying to compare Reid’s comments to those which led Trent Lott to resign.

Reid’s comments were in the context of supporting  Barack Obama for president:

[His] encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as he said privately.  Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.

Lott’s were in the context of saying we would have been better off if we had elected a segregationist for president:

“I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Lott’s downfall was a result not only of this comment but because of his association with segregationist and white supremacist groups. This history greatly influenced how this comment was evaluated.

Reid apologized for his remarks and Obama accepted the apology. Reid’s history on civil rights is far different than Lott’s.  Al Sharpton released this  comment in support of Reid:

I have learned of certain unfortunate comments made by Senator Reid regarding President Barack Obama and have spoken with Senator Reid about those comments. While there is no question that Senator Reid did not select the best word choice in this instance, these comments should not distract America from its continued focus on securing healthcare or creating jobs for its people. Nor should they detract from the unquestionable leadership role Senator Reid has played on these issues or in the area of civil rights. Senator Reid’s door has always been open on hearing from the civil rights community on these issues and I look forward to continue to work with Senator Reid wherever possible to improve the lives of Americans everywhere.

Update: More here as the Black Congressional Caucus defends Reid, Ta-Nehisi Coates explains how the attempts to compare Reid’s statement to the statement which forced Trent Lott out of office as an example of how the Republicans do not understand why they are seen as “a haven for racists,” and at least one conservative realizes that these bogus attacks will backfire on them.

Joke of the Day

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”

“She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.””

SciFi Weekend: Dollhouse, Doctor Who, Lost; Star Trek; Dexter

Getting Closer, this week’s episode of Dollhouse, moved the story of the future forward while filling in major information as to the past. The last few episodes have been as if The X-Files was canceled during the second season and the entire mythology story was told in the final few episodes before it got hopelessly convoluted. (Warning: Major spoilers ahead.)

In The Attic we learned that two partners were behind Rossum, with one taking control and sending Clyde to the Attic.  Caroline knew the identity of the second partner and much of this week’s episode centered around an attempt to restore her memory. There were also many flash backs which filled in more of Caroline and Bennett’s (Summer Glau) back stories. The attempts to restore Caroline’s memory were disrupted by Caroline’s wedge being missing and by a doll who was programmed to kill one of the people who could recover the memory.

In the end viewers saw what Caroline saw three years ago and Clyde’s partner was  revealed to be Boyd. In retrospect it is clear that Boyd was responsible for both of the complications above.

The big question here is whether there is a satisfactory answer for Boyd being behind Rossum or if this is a shocker added at the last minute without good reason. Boyd has  been trying to prevent Caroline from recovering her memory while encouraging Echo’s development. Presumably next week’s episode will reveal exactly why Boyd wanted Echo challenging Rossum, while the series finale will be a follow up to Epitaph One.

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine (via Den of Geek) provides information on the writers for the upcoming season of Doctor Who. Steven Moffat reportedly will be writing six of the thirteen episodes including one story with the return of the Weeping Angels from Blink.  River Song (Alex Kingston from Silence In The Library) will also be in an episode. I previously posted a picture of Alex Kingston being filmed in an episode here. There is also information on the other writers:

Joining The Moff on the roster are some familiar Who names and also some new faces to the fold. Returnees include Mark Gatiss (The Unquiet Dead), Gareth Roberts (The Unicorn & The Wasp) and Toby Whithouse (School Reunion) who will take care of one episode each whilst Chris Chibnall (42) will pen a two-parter.

Whilst news that Richard Curtis had written an episode featuring Van Gogh ‘leaked’ some time ago (by Curtis himself), the last name may seem like a surprise to some. Simon Nye, best known for the sitcom Men Behaving Badly, has been brought on board for an installment of the series.

Slice of SciFi has some rumors on villains appearing next season. This includes the Daleks (in an episode with Winston  Churchill–I’ll have to search through his writings to see if their is any mention of this meeting). Others include the Cybermen (those from our own universe, not the ones from the alternative universe of season two), and the Silurians and/or Sea Devils from the Jon Pertwee era).

The White House has decided against a February 2 date for State of Union as the  final season of Lost is scheduled to begin that date: “I don’t foresee a scenario in which millions of people that would hope to finally get some conclusion in ‘Lost’ are preempted by the president,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday.

Executives at Disney/ABC see Lost as too big a money-maker to give up and are now talking about a sequel to Lost after it finishes its run this year. Didn’t Disney learn their lesson from those dreadful Cinderella sequels? While maybe not the same, I fear that any attempts to continue Lost beyond the story’s conclusion would be a huge mistake.

The Star Trek sequel is tentatively set for release on May 29, 2012. I’m relieved that we have a chance to see it before the world comes to an end (per the Mayan calendar).

What happens after you are killed and go to the after life? If you are Julie Benz you wind up on Wisteria Lane. Dexter’s murdered wife has started filming on Desperate Housewives. Does that make Wisteria Lane Heaven or Hell?

Wide Variation in Polls on Massachusetts Senate Race

The special election for Ted Kennedy’s old seat is extremely significant. Besides directly determine if the Democrats can hold on to sixty votes (at least when they are willing to compromise with conservatives such as Nelson and Lieberman) this is bound to influence how willing some Democrats are willing to stick their necks out this year.

Polls on special elections are often not predictive due to difficulties in determining who will actually turn out to vote. Supporters of either party can select a poll to please them. Public Policy Polling has Republican Scott Brown leading Democrat Martha Coakley 48-47. A Boston Globe poll has Coakley leading by 15 points.

Which turns out to be correct will depend a lot upon who turns out.  Turn out this time of year might be heavily influenced by factors such as the weather. Republicans have more intensity in their opposition to health care reform but I wonder if the release of polls showing a close race will get some Democrats to turn out who might otherwise have not bothered. Josh Marshall also believes that Public Policy Polling has been over-sampling Republicans in recent elections.

More Stories From “Game Change” Including Clinton Sleaze and Conflict Between Obama and Biden

More items from Game Change have come out since my run down yesterday. These include more examples of sleaze from the Clinton campaign and conflict between Obama and Biden.

While Hillary Clinton tried to disassociate herself from the smears against Obama based upon drug use when young, Mark Penn boasted to his staff how many times he managed to say “cocaine” on Hardball. Hillary was pleased by this:

“Hillary’s reaction to Shaheen’s remarks was, ‘Good for him!’ Followed by ‘Let’s push it out.’  Her aides violently disagreed, seeing what Shaheen had said as a PR disaster. Grudgingly, Clinton acquiesced to disowning Shaheen’s comments. But she wasn’t going to cut him loose. Why should Billy have to fall on his sword for invoking something that had been fair game in every recent election?”

While yesterday’s post dealt with John Edwards’ affair, there is also a section with McCain’s aides confronting Cindy McCain about her affair:

“The man was said to be her long-term boyfriend; the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years. Members of McCain’s senior staff discussed the unsettling news, and their growing concerns that Cindy’s behavior had been increasingly erratic of late. [John] Weaver and others suspected that the Cindy rumor was rooted in truth. It was upsetting, Weaver believed, but not a threat.”

The Obamas flew to Nashville to get Al Gore’s assurance that he would not run before Obama decided to run. While the McCain campaign had problems with Sarah Palin’s ignorance, the Obama campaign had problems of their own with Biden’s mouth. From Politico:

The tensions began in September of 2008 word got back to Obama’s campaign headquarters that Biden had told reporters on his campaign plane that he was more qualified than his running mate to be president.

“A chill set in between Chicago and the Biden plane,” Halperin and Heilemann write in the book, to be released Monday. “Joe and Obama barely spoke by phone, rarely campaigned together.”

And when Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was asked about having Biden dial into the nightly campaign conference call, he responded: “Nah.” Instead, Biden had his own call with Plouffe and senior campaign adviser David Axelrod.

Obama himself was growing increasingly frustrated with his running mate after Biden let loose with a string of gaffes, including a statement that paying higher taxes amounted to patriotism and criticism of one of the campaign’s own ads poking fun at John McCain.

But when Biden, at an October fund-raiser in Seattle, famously predicted that Obama would be tested with an international crisis, the then-Illinois senator had had enough.

“How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?” he demanded of his advisers on a conference call, a moment at which most people on the call said the candidate was as angry as they had ever heard him.

Following his campaign plane braggadocio about being more qualified than the man who put him on the ticket, Biden’s access to the press was limited and he grilled new staffers that were assigned to him to try and determine if they were part of his team or loyal to Chicago…

When the ticketmates talked a few days after Biden’s prediction that Obama would be tested, Obama lit into his running mate. But Biden didn’t apologize – or even indicate he understood why his comments in Seattle were problematic, though McCain’s campaign had already cut an ad featuring the dark warning.

I noted both the low opinion of John Edwards by Democratic Party leaders as well as the conflict between John and Edwards over John’s affair in the previous post. These two narratives also came  together here:

There were apparently “two Americas” within the marriage between John and Elizabeth Edwards. The former North Carolina senator’s wife viewed herself as a worldly intellectual and publicly called her husband “a hick” and his parents “rednecks,” according to the authors.

“She was forever letting John know she regarded him as her intellectual inferior,” they write, mocking her husband, the presidential hopeful, as somebody who “doesn’t read books.”