Here’s the dirty little secret: Harry Reid’s comments speak volumes to the degree by which the liberal-Left mindset and thus the politics of the Democratic party are bound at the hip to identity politics. Reid merely gave voice to something we've known all along.
You think the Democratic liberal base would be as excited and motivated as they were if the presidential candidate in question was an eloquent junior senator who had not a single piece of legislation attached to his name and was white?
He really was the perfect candidate for the Democratic Party. Since he hadn’t done anything of consequence, you couldn’t pin anything on him. And in the increasingly vapid state of American “gotcha” politics, it’s not so much about what you have accomplished but rather your ability to avoid verbal gaffes and sloppy personal and political behavior at which a personally-disciplined Obama had largely succeeded.
Democrats, moderates and some Republicans wanting to look cool at cocktail parties could then rally around a postulate of: “Hey, awesome, I can vote for a non-threatening black guy whom I know nothing about and who makes really cool speeches thus proving my racial sensitivity bona fides and who really appears to be the anti-Bush”.
It really was that simple.
*Mark Pryor is a Democratic Senator from Arkansas who entered the Senate two years before Obama.