Liberal Ezra Klein and conservative George Will: Harry Reid wasn’t wrong

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

There’s nothing wrong with what Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said about President Barack Obama, two well-known media figures say.

Unlike some Republicans, who say Reid’s recent remarks are racially charged, or some Democrats, who say what Reid said was insensitive but not intentional, they say all Reid did was tell the truth.

Liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein is one of them.

“I’m trying really hard to understand why Harry Reid’s comments about Barack Obama’s electability were offensive,” Klein wrote in his Monday morning blog post. “Do people seriously dispute that light-skinned African Americans have traditionally been more palatable to white Americans? We literally have studies on this subject.”

Klein wrote that while it’s “weird” Reid used the word “negro” in his reported statement, it “seems to have a lot more to do with age than with racial attitudes.” He dismissed any notion of Reid being a racist, writing that the majority leader was supportive of Obama’s candidacy early on and has spent the past year push the president’s agenda through Congress.

“If that’s what counts for racism these days, then America has come a long way,” he wrote.

Reid has apologized for the comments attributed to him about Obama’s race during the 2008 campaign in John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s new book, “Game Change.” Since the excerpts have gone public, some Republicans – including RNC chairman Michael Steele – have called for the majority leader to step down.

Yesterday on ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will — an unlikely ally for Reid — got into a spirited debate with Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, asking “did [Reid] get it wrong? … Did he say anything false?”

“I don’t think there’s a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it,” Will said.