What real statesmanship is " and is not | SierraSun.com

What real statesmanship is " and is not

Bob Sweigert

At the risk of unintentionally setting yet another trap for the unwary Far Left, today I am going to mention Rush Limbaugh, again.

It’s only fair to warn you that this could cause you to do something you might regret, like embarrass yourself publicly by responding with a crude, unstatesman-like guest column.

Harry Reid, U.S. Senate majority leader and pure politician, wrote a letter to Mark May, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, broadcaster of Rush’s radio show. The letter, featuring the signatures of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama,

Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry and 36 others, falsely accuses Rush of being unpatriotic and requests that Mr. May “publicly repudiate” Rush and ask him to apologize. Rush claims he was only talking about soldiers who lie about serving in the military. The facts support his claim. You can bet your Bill of Rights we will be hearing no apology from Rush.

Tashi Singh, journalist for the Post Chronicle, said of Reid’s letter, “This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 41 senatorial co-signers.”

The plot thickened for the better when Rush put the original copy of Reid’s letter up for auction on E-bay. Philanthropist Betty B. Casey paid $2,100,100 for the historic letter. Rush has promised to match the amount. More than $4 million will go to The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a registered charity for children of American soldiers and federal law enforcement agents killed in action. It is, by far, the largest charity fundraising event ever to occur on E-bay.

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The resounding success of the auction has made Reid the laughing stock of Washington, D.C. I do not relish in the poor man’s embarrassment, but he has only himself to blame. Those in the know in Washington, who see the whole situation for what it is, are having a good laugh at Reid’s expense.

Cowboy up Harry, and bite the bullet.

But it gets even better. Reid stood on the Senate floor at noon on Oct. 19 and made a nervous little speech in which he actually aligned himself with Rush Limbaugh, applauded the virtues of working together with him for such a worthwhile charitable cause, and tried to take as much credit as he could for the generous benefits his letter bestowed on the needy children of the military. We call that “trying to save face.”

The question could be asked, how would this story have played out if Reid was a true statesman? First of all, he would have thoroughly studied the entire radio discussion of which Rush’s “phony soldiers” comment was merely a footnote. The idea of approaching the alleged controversy with objectivity, skepticism and mature detachment (hallmarks of real statesmanship) apparently did not occur to the distinguished Senator from Searchlight, Nev. Instead, he chose to base his allegations against Rush on rumor, hearsay and four little syllables taken out of context.

Also, he might have had the good sense and humility to defer to the wisdom of the overwhelming majority of his fellow senators who did not sign his letter and admit, perhaps, he was making a mountain out of a molehill.

In the classical tradition of real statesmanship he may have even quoted the great French philosopher, Voltaire, who said, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (even though Rush never said it).

Real statesmanship does not exclude tough talk and hard truths, but it does distinguish them from childish cheap shots and flat out lies.