Senator likens healthcare reform to slavery

By Philippe Djegal - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Senate Majority leader Harry Reid's comments Monday, comparing opposition to healthcare reform to conservative resistance to abolish slavery still has the GOP steaming mad.

In fact, chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, an African American, called Reid's statement "disgraceful."

Congressman Joe Wilson eventually apologized for yelling "you lie," during president Obama's September speech on healthcare, and yet, two days after Senate Majority leader Harry Reid compared conservative opposition to healthcare reform to the days. . .

"When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those that dug in their heels and said slow down - it's too early. Let's wait," said Reid. "Things aren't that bad."

. . . conservatives are fuming.

"That's partisan hate speech right there," said Tammy Blair, TEA party organizer.

. . . offended.

"I thought it was ridiculous," said Ashton Oravetz, Chairman of the Smith County Republicans.

"It's a vicious attack by a mean spirited little man," said Blair.

. . . appalled.

"It was a very poor choice of words and analogy," said Oravetz. "I wouldn't have used it to say the least."

"Racism is still alive and well in America," said Ernest Deckard, president of the N.A.A.C.P Tyler branch.

Deckard says Senator Reid hit the nail on the head.

"It's just a comparison," said Deckard. "To me it's true."

Deckard says during the civil rights movement, when blacks began running for office, opponents "said it's not time"

President-elect of the Texas Democratic Women, Joanna Reagan says "I just think it's political hyperbole - it doesn't bother me."

Reagan also says that Reid's comparison of the opposition to voting rights for women. . .

"Some insisted they simply slow down," said Reid.

. . . was a logical analogy.

"If you combined civil rights legislation - historic. Women's rights - historic," said Reagan. "If they combined that would be how important this healthcare legislation is."

"To me," said Oravetz. "The repercussions for him should be that he loses his senate seat by the voters of Nevada this November."

Again, Senator Reid has yet to apologize. He is up for re-election in Nevada in November 2010.

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