The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Rush: In His Own Words

This is already being done by plenty of other people, but I can’t help myself. When a guy who just a month ago said “We need segregated buses,” takes umbrage at the notion that people think he’s a racist… Well, it’s just too hard to resist.

They are the ones with prejudice and bigotry coursing through their vanes [sic], through their hearts, and through their souls. They are consumed with jealousy and rage. They are all liberals–and make no mistake: That’s what this is about. It is about ideology. It isn’t about race. It’s about their being jealous and attempting to discredit me, and they’ve now sunk to the low of repeating fabricated quotes that they cannot source…. These people are scum.

Yeah. Sure, Rush.

He was going to own a football team, but not anymore. Apparently, a number of black players can’t see themselves on a team that’s owned by this guy.

Ladies and Gentlemen. This is Rush Limbaugh.

(For your listening pleasure, enjoy “Barack the Magic Negro” while you’re reading the quotes below.)

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LIMBAUGH: It’s not reasonable that you should understand the insanity that local and state and federal bureaucracies are doing. It’s perfectly normal and understandable that none of what they do would make sense to you. My question — OK, a 1 cent sales tax to fight gang violence. What do you spend the money on to fight gang violence? Afterschool program — don’t we already have afterschool programs? Don’t we already have — what do you call it, extracurricular events? Midnight basketball — I mean, we’ve done it all. We’ve taken the favorite sport of gangs, and we put it at midnight to get them on the basketball court. We had 100,000 new cops with Clinton — we’ve done it all. And the problem still is out of control. Liberalism doesn’t work.

I’m gonna tell you what. If they’re gonna raise the sales tax in this little — Salinas, California, wherever you’re talking about — if they’re gonna raise 1 cent sales tax to handle gang violence, then the money oughta go to the purchase of bulletproof vests for the law-abiding citizens when they leave their home.

Potential NFL owner Limbaugh declares basketball “the favorite sport of gangs,” Media Matters, October 7, 2009.



Rush Limbaugh 2

“I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses – it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”

“…White Americans are racists who have created what they call free markets that really just enslave the rest of America and her trading partners,” Limbaugh also mocked. “I mean, it was white Americans that ran off Van Jones. No, look, let’s just follow Eric Holder’s advice and not be cowards about all this. Let’s have an open conversation, an honest conversation about all of our typical white grandmothers. You had one, I had one. Obama had one. They’re racists just like our students are. ACORN – hey, nothing but racism fueling the pursuit of ACORN.”

“…If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable?” the talk show host asked. “I’m sorry – I mean, this is the way my mind works. But apparently now we don’t choose racism, we just are racists. We are born that way. We don’t choose it. So shouldn’t it be acceptable, excuse – this is according to the way the left thinks about things.”

Limbaugh: We need segregated buses, RawStory, September 17, 2009.




LIMBAUGH: We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.

Limbaugh Claims He’s Being Told ‘To Bend Over, Grab The Ankles’ Because Obama’s ‘Father Was Black’, ThinkProgress, January 22, 2009.




Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race,” Limbaugh wrote. “OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Racism and Rush: Limbaugh’s Response to Colin Powell, Geoffrey Dunn, The Huffington Post, October 20, 2008.




“NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons”

From the January 19, 2007, edition (subscription required) of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show



Rush Spoof

LIMBAUGH: Yeah. This is — you’re not going to believe this, but it’s very simple. And the sooner you believe it, and the sooner you let this truth permeate the boundaries you have that tell you this is just simply not possible, the better you will understand Democrats in everything. You are right. They want to get us out of Iraq, but they can’t wait to get us into Darfur.

CALLER: Right.

LIMBAUGH: There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur?

CALLER: Uh, yeah.

LIMBAUGH: It’s black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they’re in trouble.

CALLER: Yes. Yes. The black population.

LIMBAUGH: Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela — who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.

On the August 21, 2007 broadcast of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show.




“Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go,” Limbaugh said. “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Limbaugh’s comments touch off controversy, ESPN.COM, October 1, 2003.


These are just the one’s I could track down this afternoon. I’ll add more if I find them. And it’s worth noting that I’ve only grabbed the quotes I found at reliable sources. Honestly, even if the one quote that’s being attributed to him can’t be verified because comes from a book that doesn’t offer a source for the quote, the stuff that can be verified as coming out of his mouth are bad enough.

Rush has said so many awful things, nobody needs to make anything up. But he does need to keep saying them, because it speaks directly to his audience.

Statements of this nature exist not in a vacuum, as if mere isolated flotsam and jetsam on the national airwaves, but rather within a broader context, where their interpretation and symbolic value become greater than the sum of their linguistic parts.

In the case of a comment such as Limbaugh’s, one must consider the effect, not simply the intent behind the words. It is this consideration that can legitimately cause Limbaugh’s remarks to be viewed as racist or at least an example of white racial resentment, which in turn can feed the problem of racism, whether or not this was the goal of the speaker.

…Fact is, what Rush did on ESPN was to play the conservative and white version of the so-called race card. The one that goes like this: “Black people get treated with kid gloves, get coddled, get preferential treatment, get held to a lower standard, get away with sub-par performance in ways that no white person could.”

It’s a card that Rush and others like him have played for years in their diatribes against affirmative action. It’s a card that Rush himself played a few months ago when he and other prominent conservatives insisted that New York Times plagiarist Jayson Blair got away with his dishonesty for so long merely because he was black, and because the Times had an overzealous commitment to “diversity” at the expense of quality. In fact, there is virtually no difference between Rush’s treatment of Blair and McNabb: both black, both supposedly getting by on their skin color alone and being coddled by the typically-liberal media, desperate to find ability among black folks who aren’t really that good.

Putting aside whether or not Rush is right about McNabb’s abilities–and this is something about which honest football fans can disagree, I suppose–the remark can only be viewed as a continuation of the “undeserving black guy gets ahead” theme so common among an increasingly resentful white public.

It was as true in 2008 as it was in 2003. And it was still true earlier this year.

Polling has found Limbaugh, a self-described prescription-drug addict who sees America from a private jet, to be nearly as unpopular as Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who damned America in the way that Limbaugh has now damned the nation’s newly elected leader. But Republicans just can’t quit him. So even poor Michael Steele, the nominal head of the Republican Party who dared to criticize him, had to grovel and crawl back to the feet of Limbaugh.

Some expected more mettle from Steele. After all, this rare African-American Republican won his post after defeating a candidate who submitted the parody song from Limbaugh’s show: “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Race is an obsession with Limbaugh, one of the threads I noticed on those long drives on country roads.

When Colin Powell endorsed Obama during the campaign, Limbaugh said it was entirely because of race. After the election, Powell said the way for the party, which has been his home, to regain its footing was to say the Republican Party must stop “shouting at the world.”

In 2003, Limbaugh said quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted a black to succeed. Over the next six years, McNabb threw for nearly 150 touchdowns and went to a Super Bowl.

And Limbaugh launched the current battle when he said of Obama: “We are being told that … we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.”

Translation: submit sexually to a black man because “someone” is telling us all to. Who? Which leaders of the Democratic Party have made such a claim? Which opinion-makers? But therein lies the main tactic of Limbaugh, an old demagogue technique: create a straw man, then tear it down. The latest example was Saturday, when Limbaugh presented himself as the defender of capitalism, liberty and unfettered free markets. Obama, he has said since, is waging a “war on capitalism.”

He has to, because if people stop being afraid, he stops having any relevance at all. And people are afraid. Their afraid of the changes they see happening in America. They’re afraid of the changes they see in the White House.

Republicans treat President Obama as if he were a substitute and they are just waiting for the real deal to come back in the room. That would be a white Republican male. Their desperate efforts to delegitimize an elected president (not to be confused with their efforts to legitimate a selected president) remind me of their panicked response to the terror attacks on September eleventh, eight years ago. For many of them, it was their first experience being attacked. Unlike women, poor people, and people of color who know being attacked as a pre-existing condition, the white guys freaked. Their world order was rocked. They panicked, put the country in lockdown and retaliated against the wrong country.

Once again their worldview is being rocked — demographically, racially, economically, politically — and the Birthers, Deathers and Everything in Betweeners are not behaving well at all. I would suggest detention, but after Guantanamo, it has bad connotations.

They’re afraid of the changes they see happing in their own communities.

Whether you describe it as the dawning of a post-racial age or just the end of white America, we’re approaching a profound demographic tipping point. According to an August 2008 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, those groups currently categorized as racial minorities-blacks and Hispanics, East Asians and South Asians-will account for a majority of the U.S. population by the year 2042. Among Americans under the age of 18, this shift is projected to take place in 2023, which means that every child born in the United States from here on out will belong to the first post-white generation.

Obviously, steadily ascending rates of interracial marriage complicate this picture, pointing toward what Michael Lind has described as the “beiging” of America. And it’s possible that “beige Americans” will self-identify as “white” in sufficient numbers to push the tipping point further into the future than the Census Bureau projects. But even if they do, whiteness will be a label adopted out of convenience and even indifference, rather than aspiration and necessity. For an earlier generation of minorities and immigrants, to be recognized as a “white American,” whether you were an Italian or a Pole or a Hungarian, was to enter the mainstream of American life; to be recognized as something else, as the Thind case suggests, was to be permanently excluded. As Bill Imada, head of the IW Group, a prominent Asian American communications and marketing company, puts it: “I think in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, [for] anyone who immigrated, the aspiration was to blend in and be as American as possible so that white America wouldn’t be intimidated by them. They wanted to imitate white America as much as possible: learn English, go to church, go to the same schools.”

Today, the picture is far more complex. To take the most obvious example, whiteness is no longer a precondition for entry into the highest levels of public office. The son of Indian immigrants doesn’t have to become “white” in order to be elected governor of Louisiana. A half-Kenyan, half-Kansan politician can self-identify as black and be elected president of the United States.

As a purely demographic matter, then, the “white America” that Lothrop Stoddard believed in so fervently may cease to exist in 2040, 2050, or 2060, or later still. But where the culture is concerned, it’s already all but finished. Instead of the long-standing model of assimilation toward a common center, the culture is being remade in the image of white America’s multiethnic, multicolored heirs.

Remember, it’s not just Rush. It’s Rush’s America.

It’s Rush’s America, and the right wing media that keeps them Afraid about “blacks taking over” and “foreign nationals” changing the “White, male, Christian power structure,” so they won’t trace their fear to economy and how well conservative economic policies have served them.

There is no doubt that some of the anger is fueled by racial feeling, which is not the same as saying that all opposition to Obama is explained by racism. Most Obama opponents are simply conservative Republicans who disagree with him. But there are too many racist signs at rallies and too many overtly racial pronouncements in the fever swamps of the right-wing media to deny that racism is part of the anti-Obama mix.

Obama can’t do much about those who are against him because of his race. Even a 1 percent unemployment rate wouldn’t change the minds most scarred by prejudice. But there is a second level of angry opposition to which Obama needs to pay more attention. It involves the genuine rage of those who felt displaced in our economy even before the great recession and who are now hurting even more.

…In fact, many who now feel rage have legitimate reasons for it, even if neither Obama nor big government is the real culprit. September’s unemployment numbers told the story in broad terms: Among men 20 and over, unemployment was 10.3 percent; among women, the rate was 7.8 percent.

Middle-income men, especially those who are not college graduates, have borne the brunt of economic change bred by globalization and technological transformation. Even before the recession, the decline in the number of well-paid jobs in manufacturing hit the incomes of this group of Americans hard. The trouble in the construction industry since the downturn began has compounded the problem.

Progressives need to figure out how to address those fears and concerns, and then reach out to whatever portion of Limbaugh’s audience may be reachable.

But that’s for my next post.

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