updated below


Sen. Harry Reid made a ridiculously embarrassing statement about Barack Obama. He apologized. Pres. Obama accepted. End of story? Hardly. Because everyone must get their scalp. In fact, even using the phrase with the word “scalp” in it, I’m likely to get hate mail. But one ray of light, the Congressional Black Caucus backs Reid. Too bad Trent Lott didn’t have such support. After all, it’s not like Harry Reid channeled George “macaca” Allen.

UPDATE INSERTJosh Marshall is making an exercised defense of what’s different between Reid and Lott’s statements. Yes, we all jumped on Lott, but that was because he was vulnerable, as his statement simply reinforced GOP’s whiteness. Listening to Lott’s tribute to Thurmond could just as easily have been interpreted as Lott saying something nice about the old man, even if it was politically tone deaf. If Lott had a Republican Congressional Black Caucus to get his back things might have turned out very differently. Marshall’s overtly partisan opining is no doubt appreciated, but reality lies elsewhere.

The Reid revelation coming just a week after Brit Hume’s Tiger bomb. You remember, Hume said Tiger should switch to Christianity, because he wasn’t certain Buddhism offered a real path towards redemption. People, especially on the left, went berserk.

There is no law against saying something stupid. Thank goodness or most of us who talk and write for a living would be in jail. The punishment from there is what the American people can stand, except when advertisers get targeted for what pundits say, as Glenn Beck found out, even if his show remains on the air. The campaign against Beck heart felt and targeted, but in the end didn’t work.

Taking out people who say impolitic things is now an American sport.

Something tells me Hume’s comment didn’t hurt him with Fox’s viewership, which is why he felt safe to say what he did. Doesn’t that count? Being on a network and actually talking to your audience.

This rush, along with the vitriol of the attacks, to take down someone because he or she says something impolitic, embarrassing or worse is starting to impinge on everyone’s free speech. I say apply the Jon Stewart rule. Instead of dissecting someone’s gaffe in self-righteous indignation simply make fun of it. It’s the best teacher.

The politics of petty just makes people sound petulant, but also decidedly un-American, because nothing is more foundational to our democratic republic than free speech.

But now we have the likes of Liz Cheney, with her back and forth with George Will on “This Week” yesterday making the rounds. Cheney leading the Republican machine calling for Reid’s resignation. So much for supporting freedom and liberty, which for Republicans is always situational.

True liberals don’t have this problem.

Whether it’s Reid or Hume, political correctness has run off the wheels in this country. While free speech recedes further and further into the distance with everyone afraid of what will happen if they say something controversial like Hume, or in Reid’s case, just plain dumb.

But seriously, who cares if Hume believes Tiger would benefit from Christianity, and what’s wrong with him stating his opinion in an opinion segment on a news show? Hume may be guilty of pundit overreach, but so what?

Last time I looked, free speech was #1 on the hit parade in the Bill of Rights.

UPDATE II: Reid talking points, via MSNBC’s First Read.
UPDATE: Tucker Carlson’s “The Daily Caller” launches today. This is their contribution to the discussion, including a headline that is just priceless, which includes a link to the liberal Washington Independent.