Harry Reid and the Source of Democrats' Gaffe Immunity

Sen. Harry Reid made some jokes about Asians in front of an Asian audience on Thursday. The Washington Post covered the incident and suggested Reid made so many gaffes he had built up a “gaffe immunity.”

“I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are,” Reid said. The audience seemed to respond with laughter. Later when someone was being brought on stage Reid quipped, “One problem I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight.”

Today, Reid apologized for the remarks, saying they were in “poor taste.” Over at the Washington Post, Aaron Blake points out that Reid has a history of gaffes, some of which have a racial edge. However, Blake suggests a reason why Reid gets away with this:

Reid has also made a career out of saying such odd things — so much so
that few tend to notice stuff like this. He’s like Joe Biden; he’s
almost built up a gaffe immunity by committing so many gaffes.

This deserves a pause and some reflection. At first glance it appears Blake is just giving Reid a pass. But the rest of his piece is devoted to pointing out how often Reid seems to have crossed a line with his gaffes. So Blake isn’t claiming Reid deserves gaffe immunity so much as he’s noting, as a kind of brute fact, that Reid seems to have it.

Faced with this inexplicable ability to say things and get away with it, Blake offers an off-the-cuff explanation. Perhaps the sheer volume of Reid’s gaffes has made him immune? Of course there’s another, more plausible explanation.

Why do Joe Biden and Harry Reid get a pass on racial comments, stupid comments and outright lies? Because the left-leaning media doesn’t feel motivated to fault them for such comments. And because the left has a well-funded, highly coordinated attack machine ready to jump on Republican gaffes, i.e. Media Matters, Think Progress, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, etc.

But as the Washington Post just pointed out, things are different for Democrats. The right may express outrage on blogs or talk radio, but that rarely translates into the kind of major media firestorm the left is able to whip up at will. Gaffe immunity is left-wing media bias in action. The Washington Post just tripped right over it and still didn’t see it.


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