Saturday, February 5, 2011

The persecution of Rush Limbaugh

Here's a funny and scary blog post by Jonathan Chait at The New Republic. The funny part starts immediately:
The newest issue of Commentary has an ode to the goodness of Rush Limbaugh, authored by Wilfred M. McClay. Apparently, Commentary staffer, former Bush administration Minister of Propaganda and designated Jonathan Chait Blog Fodder Provider Pete Wehner called Limbaugh to inform him he was being so flattered,...

As for the article itself, the only thing keeping the author from declaring that he, too, has a Rush Baby in utero is his lack of uterus.

But then we get into the scary:
The assumption that Obama is deliberately subverting the economy, not just pursuing misguided policies, dovetails with the notion of Obama as an alien subversive, which Limbaugh is also happy to encourage:
All right, little Barry is back in Indonesia, and they're all happy over there.  Little Barry Soetoro is back and they're all happy over there in Indonesia.  In fact, he was someplace in India, he was introduced by somebody from Kenya, and the woman says, "As a fellow Kenyan, Mr. President," of course everybody looked the other way, "What do you mean fellow Kenyan, we don't want to hear this," and now little Barry is back. 

This kind of delirious, conspiratorial talk had been heard from ranters appearing at the late stages of McCain-Palin campaign rallies, but the campaign had vigorously distanced itself from it. The significance of Limbaugh's rant was a mainstreaming of what had been a marginal set of beliefs -- Obama not merely as a liberal, but as an alien, conspiratorial figure posing a fundamental threat to American liberty and working deliberately to subvert its strength. ...

Limbaugh is obsessed with race. In his telling, racism against whites does not just happen here or there, it has overwhelmed -- indeed, completely replaced -- traditional white-on-black racism. "Racism in this country is the exclusive province of the left," he says. In Limbaugh's world, minorities deploy racism endlessly and with impunity against whites, who are hamstrung by out-of-control political correctness. He presents Obama's agenda as the blacks' revenge against White America for slavery and Jim Crow. ("He's angry, he's gonna cut this country down to size, he's gonna make it pay for all the multicultural mistakes that it has made, its mistreatment of minorities.")

My own experience with Rush Limbaugh fans backs this up. I'm not saying they're all vicious racists,... but that does generally seem to be my experience. Scratch the surface of a Rush Limbaugh fan and you tend to find not just racism, but the most astonishingly bitter, vicious, frothing-at-the-mouth kind of racism.

150 years after the Civil War, we're still struggling with this. It's depressing, isn't it? Of course, we've come a long way. Let's never forget that. But we're not where we need to be yet.

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