Tough week. As for Simon Cowell's impending departure from "American Idol," NBC/Jay Leno's failure at 10 p.m. and Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's "Negro dialect" comment, which incited more angst?
According to a new book about the '08 presidential campaign, Reid, the Senate majority leader, said that then-Sen. Barack Obama appealed to voters as a "light-skinned" black man with "no Negro dialect" -- that is, "unless he wanted to have one." Egad!
Faster than you could say "Tawana Brawley," "civil rights leader" Al Sharpton popped up on Fox News Channel to pronounce himself "offended" but willing to accept Reid's apology. The host exercised commendable restraint in not bringing up the time Sharpton, the moral arbiter of all things offensive to blacks, called a black former mayor of New York a n----- whore. But let us stay focused.
Don't tase me, bro! said Reid. He quickly apologized. No "my remarks were taken out of context" or "what I meant was" or charges of "tabloid journalism." He just apologized -- to President Obama, to members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- to everyone, it seems, except the light-skinned Tiger Woods, who is apparently taking no one's calls. Luckily, Reid found Obama in a more magnanimous mood than the President was when -- during the Great Harvard Professor Racial Profiling Case -- he accused the Cambridge police of acting "stupidly." Timing (and party affiliation) is everything.
Reid went to school on the way former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott handled his "racially insensitive" remarks. Lott, on the 100th birthday of Sen. Strom Thurmond in 2002, praised the elderly former segregationist and said America would have been a better country had Thurmond won the presidency in 1948. Republican racism yet again unmasked!
Critics rejected the explanation that Lott was simply trying to flatter an old man. Even Republicans, squirming like global warming alarmists trying to explain away record cold temps, dumped him. Lott's remarks symbolized nothing short of a Klan revival meeting. Lott apologized, apologized and apologized. He even did a perp walk on Black Entertainment Television, where the host asked the chastened Lott, "Will you take a closer look at the people you align yourself with?" Lott practically agreed to raise his hand before using the restroom. Goodbye leadership position.