It seems made for application to Harry Reid's outburst today, comparing the Republican senators who oppose his version of health care reform to supporters of slavery.
How dumb is this move? Let us count the ways.
First, it turns opponents into enemies -- something no leader in an institution like the Senate (where the minority has plenty of rights) can afford.
Second, he sounds hysterical, and tips his hand that the debate cannot be going this way; there'd be no reason for this kind of petulance if he were winning.
Third, he focuses unflattering attention on himself, at a time when he's already in deep electoral jeopardy.
Fourth, he has conjured up a distraction that will require the (largely pro-choice) press to cover his over-the-top statement, rather than giving (what would probably be pretty sympathetic) coverage to the Democrat side of the debate over abortion coverage (although Reid personally is pro-life).
Fourth -- last, but hardly least -- he actually manages to insult his constituents, a healthy majority of whom oppose his version of health care reform. If the senators who are opposing it are tantamount to slavery sympathizers, what, pray tell, are the voters of Nevada?