Is Harry Reid a louse or just stupid?

I suppose both could be true, given the pettiness and ignorance needed to describe opponents of nationalized medicine as the equivalent of those who opposed civil rights or defended slavery:

Reid Compares Opponents of Health Care Reform to Supporters of Slavery

Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “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, things aren’t bad enough.'”

He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right.

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

That seemed to be a reference to Thurmond’s famous 1957 filibuster — the late senator switched parties several years later.

And if you need to see it to believe it, here’s the video:

Harry needs more than a few lessons in History. For  starters, when Thurmond filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act, he was a Democrat. The act itself was proposed by President Eisenhower, a Republican.

But, let’s not stop there. The Democrats have a long and dirty history with civil rights that’s largely been swept under the carpet. Prior to the Civil War, it was the Democrats who defended the institution of slavery and pushed for its expansion. They were so closely tied to slavery that they had effectively married the issue and become almost a Southern regional party. After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacist groups that attacked Black and other Republican citizens and office-holders was founded by Democrats and, after Reconstruction ended, functioned as the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party to enforce an apartheid regime in the Jim Crow South.

And that’s not all. Democrats fought against all federal anti-lynching legislation for 90 years until 1964. It was a Democratic “progressive” President, Woodrow Wilson, who introduced segregation to the Federal government.  FDR’s New Deal labor policies sent Black unemployment skyrocketing. And it was a Democratic senator, the honorable Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Oh, and he had been a recruiter for the Klan, too.

This is nowhere near the whole story of the Democrats, slavery, and race relations. Bruce Bartlett’s Wrong on Race is a well-written, heavily documented summary. I recommend it for a good eye-opening.

Really, though, Reid’s odious dismissals of legitimate political opposition are only the latest in a long line of attempts by Democrat leaders in recent years to defeat their opponents through smears and waving the bloody shirt, not through the strength of their policy arguments. The late Senator Kennedy infamously slandered Judge Robert Bork from the floor of the Senate upon learning of Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Judge Clarence Thomas was accused of being a base sexual harasser during his SCOTUS confirmation hearings. Senators Kennedy and Durbin compared American troops to Nazis and followers of Saddam Hussein during the abu Ghraib scandal, way out of proportion to what really happened. And this last summer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared American citizens exercising their legitimate rights to protest ObamaCare to Nazis.

And now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans (and some fence-sitting Democrats?) who are representing their constituents -exercising legitimate opposition to nationalized health care and making use of all the parliamentary tools available to senators- are comparable to defenders of slavery and the oppression of women.

It just goes to show how bankrupt their arguments are. They can’t win on the merits of cost, economics, or politics – the facts are all against them, as are a majority of the American people. So, instead they hurl rhetorical bombs and hope that cows moderates and conservatives into submission.

How pathetic.

Regarding the question in the subject line, I still haven’t decided if it’s either-or or both, but it looks like Nevadans have realized they’re being represented by a schmuck: polls have the Majority Leader well behind both likely Republican opponents.

Good. Maybe they’ll finally rid the Senate of that smell.

LINKS: More from Legal Insurrection, Hot Air, and Big Government.

UPDATEReid doubles-down on his stupidity. (via Matt Lewis)

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