The response to my column today defending Sen. Harry Reid's controversial comments about President Obama's "light skin" and lack of "Negro dialect" has been predictably partisan. A number of readers said I would have been less forgiving if Reid had been Republican. Nonsense. My opinion had to do with the innocuousness of Reid's words not his partisan affiliation. Any fair reading of the column demonstrates that.
The firestorm over it is mostly manufactured outrage, driven, as Rutgers Professor David Greenberg said in a column in the Los Angeles Times today, by the 24/7 news cycle that has to be fed. Partisans, both Republicans and Democrats, regularly exploit that new cycle for their own narrow purposes.
In a separate LA Times column, Jonah Goldberg says Reid "deserves what he is getting" - that just last week he played the race card himself by accusing those who did not support Obama's health care initiative of racism. I can't disagree with that. Racist is an ugly epithet, thrown around too easily by people on both sides of the aisle.