By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst
Dec. 7, 2009 ‚Äď The Democrats must be getting close to reaching an agreement on health care reform if recent attacks on Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are any indication.¬†
Reid has been pushing hard and increasing pressure on the Republicans who are opposed to health care reform only for the sake of being ‚Äúopposed.‚ÄĚ¬† On Monday Reid hit back ‚Äď and hit back hard, he liken their objections to reform and sticking with the status quo to lawmakers who opposed ending slavery.
¬†‚ÄúInstead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‚ÄėSlow down, stop everything, let‚Äôs start over,‚Äô Reid said.
Republican called the attacked harsh ‚Äď and want an apology from the usually mild mannered soft spoken Senate majority leader.¬† I‚Äôm not sure why he should apologize or to whom.
Republicans called on their African-American mouthpiece Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to rebut Reid‚Äôs comments. That poses a bit of irony since Steele‚Äôs election to that position was to give the GOP an African-American spokesman to oppose the first African-American president at every turn.
Steele said, ‚ÄúTo suggest that passing this horrible bill is anything akin to ridding our country of slavery is terribly offensive and calls into question Mr. Reid‚Äôs suitability to lead.‚ÄĚ¬† Steele called Reid‚Äôs comments ‚Äúabsurd and offensive.‚ÄĚ
I disagree with Steele, Reid is leading.¬† He‚Äôs leading a fight for those who can‚Äôt.¬† Reid was simply saying Republican are acting like and displaying the same mindset of the folks who defended slavery because they were opposed to changing a system that created an economic stronghold for a privileged at the expense of those who were not.
‚ÄúWhen this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‚ÄėSlow down, it‚Äôs too early, things aren‚Äôt bad enough,‚Äô‚ÄĚ¬† Reid said.
I get the comparison.¬†¬†
Now Republicans are lining up to express their outrage over the comments; but what about their outrage over the 40 million Americans without health care?¬†¬†
In a statement, Reid‚Äôs spokesman Jim Manley said, ‚ÄúToday‚Äôs feigned outrage is nothing but a ploy to distract from the fact they have no plan to lower the cost of healthcare, stop insurance-company abuses or protect Medicare.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAnd for those who are counting, Republicans have now held one press conference on manufactured anger and have issued one manual on how to grind the Senate to a halt ‚ÄĒ but have held zero press conferences and issued zero plans on how to help Americans afford to live a healthy life,‚ÄĚ Manley pointed out.
Monday evening Reid didn‚Äôt let up.¬† The Nevada senator released a statement calling his opponents out again. ‚ÄúAs we have seen again and again, these Republicans like to pretend America‚Äôs health care crisis isn‚Äôt a problem.¬† They choose to ignore the fact that unfair and unchecked insurance company policies are forcing the very people these Senators represent to lose their homes, file for bankruptcy and even die. ‚Äú¬†
It looks like Reid isn‚Äôt letting up on his colleague across the aisle.