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February 25, 2010

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The New Yorker item Brendan linked to was demolished by Law Professor Ann Althouse. Her post convincingly demonstrates that Limbaugh was showing malice and contempt, not for Obama, but for the way Democrats use race. Her post ends:

Hertzberg is scandalized that Rush Limbaugh is "enabled by nominally respectable media corporations and advertisers." But the scandal, I would say, is that Hertzberg is able to publish such dishonest trash in that great magazine, The New Yorker.

The Ezra Klein / Media Matters excerpt shows nothing in the way of race-baiting. In the clip Rush Limbaugh is condemning the idea of reparations paid by the rich to the poor, not by whites to blacks. In general, he is warning against the use of civil rights arguments to advance wealth redistributionist policies.

It would be nice if Ezra, Hendrick and George Soros's crew would take a break from their new paranoid style of automatically asserting racism is behind Limbaugh's every criticism of Obama or the Left.

David, do you ever get tired of apologizing for racists?

jd, the accusation of racism is very powerful and impossible to disprove. E.g., Rush Limbaugh has chosen to work with a black sidekick for years and years. He chose a black person to officiate one of his marriages. Nevertheless, people who want to believe that he's a racist will claim that these facts don't prove he's not a racist.

A friend who's a Professor at Northwestern University (and not a conservative) told me that in his university any accusation of racism invariably brings punishment. There's basically no defense.

IMHO calling someone a racist today is roughly comparable to calling someone disloyal during the McCarthy era. Brendan does an outstanding job of pointing out unfair accusations of disloyalty. I think unfair charges of racism should also be pointed out.

"Racist!" is a characteristic call of the modern Leftist who has lost his argument.

David, you have just been declared the winner.

By the way, Limbaugh's "ask / aks" attack on Obama was petty, juvenile, obnoxious, stupid and false. But it wasn't racist.

David, the fact that someone associates with some people of color doesn't prove that that he or she isn't a racist. I wonder if you recall that justice of the peace in Louisiana who refused to marry interracial couples but then attempted to defend himself from accusations of racism by claiming that he has black people over to his house and lets them use his bathroom. I suppose that's not racist either. Also, in what universe can the "ask/ax" thing not be racist? And your pretzel-like arguments about how his comparisons to the civil rights movement aren't meant to be racially coded: seriously? Do you guys even believe what you say? I mean, I get that you like to play rhetorical games and score points in arguments, but, I mean, deep down, do you even believe what you say when you are engaging in these ridiculous racial apologetics? Also, Fred, if people are accusing you of being racist enough that you think it's a "characteristic of the modern leftist" perhaps you should consider the possibility that it's actually you and not them that is the problem. I know plenty of conservatives that are never accused of racism - because they don't do and say racist things.

jd, if you're determined to believe Limbaugh is a racist, nothing will convince you otherwise. However, if you're open-minded and want an honest picture of the man, this New York Times Magazine article was quite illuminating.

David, I guess if you are determined to believe that nothing is racist except wearing a white sheet and using the N-word, then there will be no changing your mind, either.

jd, wearing a white sheet and using the N-word is not racism -- if done by a Democrat. I know this, because it pretty much happened. The accusation of racism is a cudgel used against Republicans. Democrats are automatically presumed not to be racists.

Senator Robert Byrd, as a young man, was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1944 he wrote
I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Of course, this was a long time ago. However, he recently used the N-word on television . Since Byrd is a Dem, despite his racist background, he was given a pass.

David, this argument is absurd. No one is denying Robert Byrd's long history of racism (continuing to the present day). Of course, Byrd doesn't have nearly as large of an audience as Limbaugh does so he receives less attention. Robert Byrd is primarily "given a pass" in the heads of conservatives who like to fantasize that they are being persecuted by liberals. Could you find a few hardcore partisan democrats who would defend Byrd? Yeah, I'm sure you could. However, most people of various political and ideological affiliations have no problem recognizing Byrd's racist legacy. The point is, Limbaugh uses racially coded language to rile up his audience. I don't get why this is so hard for you to admit. Being able to admit when people on your side of the debate screw up is the difference between being an honest contributor to the debate and being a pure partisan.

jd, I dispute your contention that no one denies that Robert Byrd is currently a racist. He suffered no punishment for the public use of the N-word. By comparison, Trend Lott was hounded out of his leadership position and out of the Senate for comments that could be interpreted as racist.

Indeed, I don't think Byrd is currently a racist. At least, his use of the N-word in context doesn't prove to me that he's a racist.

There are real, blatant racists and bigots in the world today. E.g., you don't need a secret interpretation code to dicipher the hate when Egyptian Muslim scholar and preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated:

" Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. Oh Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people.....oh Allah, take this oppressive, tyrannical band of people. Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one."

Bigotry is incontrovertable when Islamic fanatics burn Christian churches in Malasia.

Instead of using cryptic processes to look for imperceivable racism, I wish you and people like you would open your eyes to flagrant bigotry and join conservatives in really fighting it.

David, why do you keep changing the subject? Ethnic/religious conflict in Asia and the middle east has no relevance to this conversation. Nor does Robert Byrd, for that matter. Though, I guess, essentially your argument with this post is "Why should I care about bigotry against people that aren't like me here in the U.S. when there is bigotry against people who are like me in other countries!?" The subject here is the use of racist and racially charged rhetoric by Rush Limbaugh. This racism is not "imperceivable." It is often blatant and obvious, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Also, I'm done with this conversation.

Thanks for the conversation, jd.

No facts or logic will convince jd that rightwingers like Rush Limbaugh -- hell, that even David and I -- are not racists or at least race-baiters or racist apologists. Jd simply needs to believe it.

It would wreck his emotional / moral universe to entertain the possibility that it is he and his worldview-sharers (among them Ezra Klein, Hendrick Herzberg, and the Media Matters crew) that are projecting racism and racist motivations into places where they otherwise do not exist.

This need is common as air among today's Leftists. Thomas Sowell would say it is a key to their being able to claim membership in that exclusive club, The Anointed.

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