Monday, October 20, 2008

Rush Limbaugh IS a Racist? Who would have ever guessed?

Former Bush Administration Secretary of State Colin Powell has announced his endorsement (read the transcript of his appearance on "Meet the Press") for presidential candidate Barack Obama. Powell is one of the most revered American figures in the political landscape. He is broadly respected across party lines. His public image was tarnished only by the false message he delivered in front of the United Nations during the run-up to the Iraqi invasion and occupation. But despite the fact that we now know that George W. Bush and his cronies knew that the information they sent through Powell was unreliable and likely false, conventional wisdom suggests that they had convinced Powell of its veracity. That's a clear indicator of just how trusted Colin Powell is by the American people. He remains unsullied, even by Bush.

It is for these reasons that the Powell endorsement is so meaningful to so many. The nation has been patiently waiting for his considered judgment since he told the media he would wait to make his pick until after the last debate. No doubt that this was out of deference to his friend of 25 years, John McCain. Perhaps in his heart Powell was hoping that the former "maverick" would convince him that he had not lost his much-vaunted integrity. Still the signs were already inscribed on the wall. McCain has been moving steadily toward the positions and philosophy of George W. Bush for the past four years. He has run a dishonorable campaign. It would have been difficult for Powell to support a man who has succumbed to the most extreme wing of his party, as evidenced by his choice of Sarah Palin for the VP slot.

Naturally many on the Right have bemoaned Powell's decision. Powell didn't just make a short comment about Obama, but rather implicated the entire GOP for its increased divisiveness. Certain high profile pundits have taken an almost violent exception to his words. George Will did not shrink away from suggesting that Obama benefits from his race. But the most appalling accusations came from (not unexpectedly) the wingnut Rush Limbaugh. As soon as he heard about Powell's endorsement, he couldn't stop himself from dashing off an e-mail message to the Politico website. Right from the start he questioned Powell's assertion that his endorsement was not about race.

Limbaugh said he would be doing research to find out what other "inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates" Powell had supported in the past. Of course all three of those qualities have been attributed to Obama by Limbaugh (and the like) in the past. Yet it was that last adjective that loomed so large within that sentence. Racism is (most appropriately) the elephant in the room for the GOP's propaganda machine. It's been entertaining to see them biting their lips and trying to contain it for these long months. Now it's out of the bag. Limbaugh has shown his true color(s). From his perspective, how could racial identity NOT be an issue when an observer considers the worth of a politician (especially if they are thought of as "black"). Apparently that's completely unthinkable for this pill-popping freak.

However, what I found most problematic in Limbaugh's message was not the obviously racist sentiment. It was the embedded revelation contained in a later part of his e-mail: "I guess he (Powell) also regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star [general] and secretary of state and appointing his son to head the FCC. Yes, let's hear it for transformational figures." From these words it is plainly evident that Limbaugh has ALWAYS considered Colin Powell the token Republican affirmative action case. In Limbaugh's mind, Powell didn't EARN these distinctions, but rather they were generously bestowed on him, as "a person of color". And now Powell is being ungrateful for the lavish gifts he has received. This is truly a disgusting insinuation, and I believe that "conservatives" everywhere should be pressured to denounce Rush Limbaugh.

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Blogger rainywalker said...

When its all said and done a very smart, entertainer, racist and nut job for the conservatives.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think this guy is going to endorse Obama. Food for thought.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


I don't doubt that Mr. Manning will withhold his endorsement for Obama. This is a guy and a church that should certainly be losing its non-profit status for violating the Separation of Church and State. James Manning is notorious for calling Obama "trash" because he is of mixed-race heritage. He calls Barack Obama "Senator Tarzan" throughout the video. Dude needs to chill out.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

This is the kind of rhetoric that's going to make the next four years a nightmare for anyone with a dissenting opinion. And all that's going to end up happening is that the word "racist" is going to lose its poignicancy when the Democrats use it to label everyone who speaks out against Obama.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


I think you're overreacting a bit. People have been calling Limbaugh a racist for years. This incident is really not going to change opinions of him because anyone that is likely to be offended by his latest comments already hates him. And no one thinks he speaks for anyone other than the idiots who believe that he has "Talent On Loan From God."

Seriously Steve. The guy's a well-known racist. Don't be an apologist for him.

From the January 24, 2007 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: "Hey, Barack Obama has picked up another endorsement: Halfrican American actress Halle Berry. "As a Halfrican American, I am honored to have Ms. Berry's support, as well as the support of other Halfrican Americans," Obama said. He didn't say it, but -- anyway, there are those out there -- greetings."


And what about his "Barack the Magic Negro Song"? Nothing wrong with that, right...


As a young broadcaster in the 1970s, Limbaugh once told a black caller: "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." A decade ago, after becoming nationally syndicated, he mused on the air: "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"

Once, in response to a caller arguing that black people need to be heard, Limbaugh responded: "They are 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"


At least he's an equal opportunity racist. Here he is about NAFTA in the 90's:

"If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people--I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do--let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."

But don't let all of this get you down. If you still want to defend Limbaugh... you are not alone:


10:31 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I'm not standing up for Rush Limbaugh. To hell with him. However, his comment about standing up for inexperienced, very liberal white candidates is not racist.

Powell said his decision to back Obama was NOT based on race. But when you look at Powell's personal political record, who he's worked for and who he's supported in the past, you see there's no history of supporting a candidate like Barack Obama. His past actions make this decision to appear to be based on race. It's not racist for a white person to point out when a black person makes a decision based on race. And you know what? I don't think it's racist for Powell to make his decision based on race. People should be allowed to make their own personal decisions on whatever basis that they want. That's part of the freedom we are supposed to be guaranteed as Americans. However, the Left only applies it one side, and then proceeds to throw verbal firebombs at the other side.

I don't like Barack Obama's politics or anything he stands for. For the next four years, I'm gonna have to deal with being called a racist whenever I let that be known. The Left's solution for my dissenting opinion will be to beat me into submission while trying to attach a label to me that could ruin my life. It's a very scary proposition and one that could accelerate the Balkaninzation of this country.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


Well... like I said, Limbaugh has established a reputation as a racist. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one. It's natural that people would interpret his comments that way.

I would think that if you don't have any history of making these kind of remarks in public then you should be fine. You don't hear that many people accusing McCain of being a racist, do you? Yet he's said plenty of nasty things about Obama. Same with the Clintons. The "racist" label usually only sticks to dumb MF'ers. There will be plenty of dissenting opinions no matter who wins in November. How about just crossing that bridge when you come to it?

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it about race?
Only one person knows for sure…and that’s Powell
Of course, Powell claims that he’s not happy with the “rightward shift” of the Republican party. But is there any merit in his accusation???
Listen to the views of Republican Senator Michelle Bachmann
Click to watch Senator Michelle Bachmann’s interview on Hardball
So...what do you think??. is Colin Powell was just being overly sensitive, or does he have a point???

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Would you consider these people to be racist?


My guess would be no for two obvious reasons:
1. They're black
2. It's a known liberal who's outting them at morons

2:11 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

As an outsider, who believes that Obama and Mccain stand an equally good chance of driving the final nail into the coffin of this country, I'd like to throw my 2 cents into the mix.

I find it more than a little bit disconcerting that i've had to defend myself against accusations of racism more than a handful of times in the last 6 months. these situations all arose from simply questioning the politics of obama. it does, in fact, seem to be a quickly evolving meme.

2 instances involved children under the age of 10, which i find especially troubling, considering that children of that age are generally only emulating the behavior of surrounding adults.

The level of divisiveness i'm seeing spring up around us is alarming. especially in light of the oncoming economic train wreck ahead.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

let me add that I'm sure that the right wing types would try to pigeonhole me as something else if i questioned the 'conservative' stance. I find the accusation of racism particularly troubling though because it's nearly impossible to defend against. I suppose if a McCain supporter threw some rubbish like 'socialist' at me i could at least attempt to keep the discussion in the political realm.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

norris hall,

I have no idea who this Michelle Bachmann is (Republican Representative in Minnesota, apparently), but she appears to have a head-full of Extreme Right talking points, and she's just letting them flow like a robot, without any regard for reasonable discourse. How do these automatons gain office? A singularly unlikable lady, that. Liberalism= Anti-Americanism. Where do they find these modern-day McCarthyites? Do they squeeze them out of a tube in Texas and ship them all over the country, or what?

"Most Americans are WILD about America"

"On college campuses you find people that HATE America"

"Joe the Plumber... blah,blah,blah"

I'm stunned that Americans would choose a disgrace like this to represent them, even in Congress.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


You wrote...

"I find it more than a little bit disconcerting that i've had to defend myself against accusations of racism more than a handful of times in the last 6 months. these situations all arose from simply questioning the politics of obama. it does, in fact, seem to be a quickly evolving meme."

OK. And I've been having to defend myself against charges thatI am "anti-American" for supporting Obama, and opposing Bush and the War in Iraq, for YEARS. It's kind of interesting to sit back and see other people have to face incendiary (and often false) charges for a change. I don't condone it, but it's the type of thing a lot of us have had to deal with for a long time.

"The level of divisiveness i'm seeing spring up around us is alarming. especially in light of the oncoming economic train wreck ahead."

"Spring up"? "Alarming"? I don't understand... where have you been for the last eight years?

5:01 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

"I suppose if a McCain supporter threw some rubbish like 'socialist' at me i could at least attempt to keep the discussion in the political realm."

You sound pretty confident about that, and perhaps you could the first couple of times. But after experiencing and observing it several hundred times... with people that have no understanding of what the word means... you just might tend to lose your patience.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


Would I consider what people as "racist". The people being interviewed? From their answers they could be voting solely on the basis of identity politics- which in their case would likely be "racist".

But to try to make a comparison between these people and Colin Powell regarding their endorsement of Barack Obama is partisan bullshit, at best. Are you really suggesting that Colin Powell is that ill-informed? Because if you are, I may have to reconsider your defense of yourself.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I'm not commenting specifically on your points about Collin Powell, but rather the state of the whole "racism" claim that starting to become more and more prevalent.

When it's obvious that black folks are going to vote for Obama for no reason other than his skin color, it's not considered a big deal, let alone racist.

When white people simply disagree with Obama's politcial views and speak out about it, we're going to be called racists.

And I don't know about you, but my employer doesn't have an HR policy regarding being "anti-American" or "socialist." Those epithet's don't carry a fraction of the severity that being called a racist does.

People who try to label people as racist do so with a malice that's intended to completely ruin their reputation. In today's climate of un-ending political correctness, you can lose everything if someone can get the monkier of "racist" attached to your name. It's something that's very difficult to argue against or disprove, if you will.

That's why we need to nip this trend in bud before it picks up more steam. People aren't going to sit back and let these Leftists loonies try take away their livelihoods and discredit their values with such vile insults. Attempts to stifle dissenting opinions through the use of such bully tactics only leads to one thing: violence. You can only be called such vile names for so long before you wind up and pop the jackass across from you right in the mouth.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


Do you acknowledge that racism is likely to cause a substantial number of white voters (primarily longtime Democrats) to vote for McCain? How about this- have you wondered why John McCain can win Pennsylvania despite the fact that he's trailing by double digits here?

The truth is that there are a lot of racists here. This state is purported to have either the most or the second-most (depending on who you talk to) hate groups in the US. A lot of people here joke that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philly with Alabama in between. That's a generous characterization. A local US Congressman recently got into a flap for calling his own constituents racist. He wasn't calling them names- he was simply stating a fact. I live in the city and there are several Klan bars in walking distance from my house. How do I know this? Because patrons told me, thinking I would be impressed. People here are not embarrassed to be thought of as racists... they are proud of it. They will crow about it to strangers on the street. Where I work it is MUCH worse to be thought of as Anti-American (and "socialist" is shorthand for the same thing) then it is to be thought a racist.

Keep in mind when you accuse black of people of voting for Obama just because he's black that the Democrats have been the party that has represented black people for decades. They wouldn't be lining up to vote for Alan Keyes or Walter Williams. I asked one of my friends (who's black) if he was excited to vote for a "black" president. He laughed at me. He said "Barry is more white than Black."

Some people ARE racists. And I have no problem calling them on it. If it gets to the point that people are using it as a label just to damage someone's reputation, then I'll call them on that too. In my lifetime I've never seen anyone suffer for being called a "racist". I've heard of isolated cases elsewhere, but I haven't seen it personally.

I don't use the term lightly. You can search through my entire blog and you won't see me applying it to many specific individuals by name. Go ahead- put "racist" in the search box at the top of my blog. If you think I've used the term unfairly we can discuss it. I've read your blog, we disagree a lot, and we've had discussions... I've never found any reason to call you a "racist", and I probably wouldn't do it even if I thought you were.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

A few quick points:

1. I don't group you in with the people who are quick to throw out the word racist. It's one of the reasons it's fun having a discussion with you even though our views are so different.

2. I have a knack for gearing the discussion in the comments section off on other, more broad tangents, so I apologize if I've diverted from your original statement in your post. It's a habit of treating the comments sections on blogs more as ongoing conversations that ebb and flow naturally than a tit-for-that breakdown of the actual post.

3. I had no idea that the racial tensions in your state were so bad. I guess all of us in the South just assume that racial relations in the Northern states are great based on stereotypes of North vs. South. I live in Dallas and it's nothing like that down here. Being a racist is not something you'd proclaim proudly here. Our city is so diverse that you couldn't function on a day-to-day basis if you held those kinds of beliefs. Not to say that enclaves don't exist here, it's just that in the 20+ years I've lived here, I've never confronted anything as blatant as a klan bar.

I abhor racism and that's why I'm so opposed to being called one at anytime. I compare it to being called a pedophile. And I don't want the political dialouge in our country to get to the point where I have to tolerate being called a racist because I disagree with an elected official.

I'm not pointing any fingers your way. Actually, I'll thank you for listening to my opinions without thinking me a racist or anything else derogatory. I'm just expressing my fears for what could come to be.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

I think I understand your sensitivity on the issue. And it's fine for these discussion threads to develop organically. I think your comments have remained well within the scope of the theme of the original post. As always, I appreciate your participation.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin Powell has never impressed me. He is not voting for Barack Obama because he THINKS he is actually qualified to be President. It is quite obvious why he is voting for him.
He is a racist. A black racist and believe me there are many of them.
I have my opinion and you have yours.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been involved in a few discussions over golf, while traveling, and have listened to people discuss the election while sitting at a lunch counter. When listening to a group of white "seniors", racism is most certainly alive and well in PA. I don't think it's either overtly prominent nor purposely mean, but more a matter of the age group (notice I said age and not maturity) and the experiences of that age group.

That being said, I do wonder sometimes why it's anticipated and accepted that black people will vote for Obama because he's black or because a black person endorsed him (note, I didn't say that's the only reason), but white people shouldn't even think much less say out loud about voting for a white man simply because they are white. Is it the case that in the former case, it's not racist, but in the latter, it is? I suppose I understand it from a cultural and historical perspective, but the dichotomy just doesn't seem right.

Just for clarity, I don't think it's appropriate for race to be a factor in who I should vote for. On the other hand, and this speaks to how experiences affect us, a person of Middle Eastern descent might have an uphill battle for office.


8:03 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


I'd guess the dichotomy has something to do with "positive" vs. "negative" racism. Most rational adults agree that the latter is unacceptable, but there are a lot of folks who still believe that the former is fine.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

"OK. And I've been having to defend myself against charges thatI am "anti-American" for supporting Obama, and opposing Bush and the War in Iraq, for YEARS."

I've been screaming 9/11 was an inside job since 2002 my man, you've got nothing on me. I have several family members and friends that refuse to speak to me. i've had run-ins over my ideas that went far over the line of name calling. so bad to the point that, after years, it has pretty well silenced me on that issue. i'm not sure that it is worth risking personal safety and relationships for.

sorry but "anti-american" still keeps the discussion in the political realm. it's a different thing altogether. i'm not fond of it myself but i've been labeled it many times and it doesn't nearly shut a conversation down like the term 'racist'. anti-american may label you as an enemy, but it doesn't pass judgement on if you are an enemy worth fighting. when somebody makes a first-resort appeal to the term racist, they are trying to dehumanize you from the word go.

""Spring up"? "Alarming"? I don't understand... where have you been for the last eight years?"

Thanks for assuming that i'm a mindless idiot. that's always appreciated.

You simply have no basis for making the charge that i'm not informed. the divisiveness on the political blogs isn't much different than it has been but i'm sensing more of it in the real everyday world. people that i once thought of as thoughtful and rational are now becoming increasingly intolerant. people that had no interest in politics even a few months ago are becoming zealots. it's like i've never seen it before and i do find it alarming. I expect to see that kind of chasm between hannity and olbermann but not between my two friends at the coffee shop or between my co-workers. a prevailing sentiment of intolerance, like racism, isn't going to lead us to anywhere good.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

So you are afraid that sharing your opinions about politics could risk your personal relationships and security... and that's exactly what I've been saying. I'm not afraid that the same thing will happen if someone thinks I'm a "racist". But I'm only speaking from personal experience, and that's all I'm qualified by on this issue.

' ""Spring up"? "Alarming"? I don't understand... where have you been for the last eight years?"

Thanks for assuming that i'm a mindless idiot. that's always appreciated." '

How exactly do you come to the conclusion that I assume that you are a "mindless idiot" from my comment? I was simpy expressing my disbelief that anyone would suggest that the divisiveness is just now "springing up" or more "alarming" than it has been ever since 9-11. That's incomprehensible to me, and you basically refuted it in your follow-up post.

"You simply have no basis for making the charge that i'm not informed."

If you read that into my comments, then I suspect you're overreacting to an often-used figure of speech. I'm not surprised at all that people are confronting each other on the eve of a presidential election with high stakes. Like I said, my alarm bells have been going off for years.

The Bush administration has labored hard to construct an "us vs. them" mentality both within and without this nation. Obviously it's succeeded all too well. The thing is that people are increasingly realizing that politics DO matter, and there is no way to be "an outsider".

11:03 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Referring to an earlier comment in this thread from "norris hall":

I'm quite happy to see that Rep. Bachmann's comments have eroded her chances of prevailing election. Not only has the DNC decided to funnel money into the race, but her opponent has received well over $800,000 since her commments on "Hardball" were broadcast.

To top it off, the Republican who lost to her in the primary is not only campaigning against her, but is actually working on a write-in campaign to knock her out of the running.


Good for you Minnesota! And good for Michelle Bachmann and the hatemongers she represents.

8:12 AM  

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