Sunday it was:
“They [Senate Republicans] want this to be … President Obama’s Waterloo and it’s not going to be.”
Today (as George Stephanopoulos reports) it’s:
“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this slow down, stop everything, let’s start over,” said Reid. “You think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it’s too early. Let’s wait. Things aren’t bad enough. When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted slow down, there will be a better day to do that. The day isn’t quite right. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today. More recently, when chairman Chris Dodd of Connecticut, one of the people who will go down as a chief champion of the bill before us today, said that Americans should be able to take care of their families without fear of losing their jobs, you heard the same old excuses. seven years of fighting and more than one presidential veto, it was slow down, stop everything, start over. History is repeating itself before our eyes. There are now those who don’t think it is the right time to reform health care. If not now, when, madam president? But the reality for many that feel that way, it will never, never be a good time to reform health care.”
As Stephanopoulos points out, Reid might sound inspiring to his base painting the GOP opponents of the Dem healthcare bill as Ol’ Massa and Missy on the Ol’ Plantation, but he’s got his partisan history kind of backwards:
It was a Republican President that freed the slaves. And former Republican Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party (not the Democrats or the Republicans) was the first major national party to support women’s suffrage.
The fight against the Civil rights movement in the last century had more to do with regionalism than political party. It was Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, who is now the longest serving Senator, who filibustered the Civil Rights Act for 14 hours in 1964. 44 Democrats and 27 Republicans voted to end that filibuster. 23 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted to sustain it. The Democrat’s Majority Leader, Richard Russell, opposed the bill. The Republican Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, was one of the Republicans who joined with Democrats to end the filibuster after the Civil Rights Act had been on the Senate floor for 57 days. Both men now have Senate office buildings names after them.
Tomorrow: “Harry Reid Says Mitch McConnell ‘Worse Than Judas.’”