Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago.
The Nevada Democrat, in a sweeping set of accusations on the Senate floor, also compared health care foes to those who opposed women's suffrage and the civil rights movement -- even though it was Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, who unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and it was Republicans who led the charge against slavery.
I don't know if Reid was trying to be cute or attempting to frame this as an epic struggle on the scale of slavery. Either way, the entire thing is unbelievably inappropriate and offensive. If he was trying to paint Republicans as obstructionists on the wrong side of history, this wasn't the tact. It's exactly this sort of rhetoric that makes us so cynical about politics.
It's perverse how often politicians will use tragedy in an attempt to score cheap political points. It's certainly not exclusive to Democrats like Reid. This is only the latest example and I hope the last.