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Posted by on Oct 28, 2009 in Arts & Entertainment, Politics | 44 comments

Obama “Thesis” Controversy a Hoax: Limbaugh Gets “Punked”

Conservative talk show mega-maven Rush Limbaugh ranted and thundered about what was supposedly a old thesis done by President Barack Obama. But in the end, it turned out to be a hoax. Details HERE.

Meanwhile, some of Limbaugh’s new statements will likely make NFL owners breathe a sigh of relief that he was booted from buying into an NFL team. Read these. His fans and defenders will say it’s taken out of context. To some others, it’ll be confirmation of what they asserted all along, which Limbaugh’s fan’s insisted was a lie, etc. etc. etc.etc. (you know how it goes — and it will likely go that way in comments under this post…SIGH…)

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  • $199537

    Is man-child now a racist term? It seems like similar terms were applied to Bush as well.

    As I’ve said elsewhere I think Limbaugh is out-of-touch, a terrible spokesman for conservatism and would have been a poor choice as an NFL owner. What I DON’T think he is is racist. This is 99% the left playing the race card. Obama should not be insulated from certain criticisms regarding youth and inexperience because of his skin color.

    • CStanley

      And in the greater context (if we could ever get away from obsessing about Rush Limbaugh, but I guess that’s a pipe dream) all of the insulation of Obama strikes me as rather condescending. Do his supporters really feel that he’s that weak that he needs to hide behind the shield of racism?

  • Davebo

    Is man-child now a racist term?

    Or “boy”?

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can’t hear the dog whistle.

    • casualobserver

      And I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you could never figure out how to read a dictionary.

      Provide us one link where this term is defined in a racial context.

      If you’re going to suggest it is a code word, then I guess when you use the term African American you are really code wording to another derogatory term.

      Very weak tea indeed.

    • $199537

      Or “boy”?

      I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can’t hear the dog whistle.

      Do you think man-child is a racist term?

      “Boy” can certainly be used as a racist term, although generally when it’s being used speaking directly to a black person. Bush was called the “Boy King” a fair amount, do you feel we can’t use similar terms to describe Obama?

      • Davebo

        Let me know when you’ve made up your mind.

  • Davebo

    Seriously. You are actually claiming that calling an adult black man “boy” has little or no racial connotation? You are willing to argue that?

    Because quite frankly that is ludicrous. But by all means, walk up the next adult black man you see on the street, preferably one over 6 feet tall, and say “hey boy, come over here…”

    It will give you a new respect for the problems of the American health care system.

    • CStanley

      I think the point though is that ‘boy’ or ‘man-child’ have meanings independent of any potentially racially charged meanings. They simply imply immaturity and/or inexperience, and Limbaugh’s commentary explains why he feels those terms apply (incidentally, I noticed that Charles Krauthaummer recently has used terms like childish to describe Obama’s continued tendency to blame Bush instead of taking responsibility for his own policies.)

      There’s no doubt in my mind that Limbaugh intentionally uses terms that will attract the most attention. As soon as his critics pick up on that, he immediately gets more attention. That may be egregious in and of itself, but it doesn’t negate the actual criticisms that he levied, which other people to various degrees may agree with.

      So then the question is, do the criticisms themselves have any merit, and can Obama’s supporters defend against them, or is it easier to pretend you don’t have to answer those criticisms because you see racially charged words being used? The latter approach wears thin when it seems as though Obama’s supporters feel the constant need to shield him, which only weakens him IMO. Obama himself doesn’t invite that kind of defense, so I’m not sure why so many bloggers and pundits seem to think it’s the best approach.

    • $199537

      Seriously. You are actually claiming that calling an adult black man “boy” has little or no racial connotation? You are willing to argue that?As I said in my prior post the term “boy” certainly has racist implications when spoken directly to a black man as you give in your example. I’m not convinced it has racist implications every time it is used, as when it’s used to imply immaturity.I must have missed the memo on “man-child”. Since it’s mentioned several times in the link I guess for certain people it must have racist connotations, but I haven’t seen it used that way.

      As far as the thesis hoax goes, Limbaugh didn’t do his fact-checking. There’s no excuse for that.

  • As to this thesis hoax, the “hoaxsters” are probably laughing at how easy this was. I read on a sizable amount of blogs/sites that this thesis should have disallowed President Obama from running for POTUS and worse. The lesson in this is that you had better vet the source thoroughly. And the whole “felt true” angle is just weak. Just “man up” and apologize flatly. Geez….

  • DLS

    “all of the insulation of Obama strikes me as rather condescending”

    It’s condescension, typical left-wing hypocrisy, and being out of touch with the real world and real people.

  • DLS

    “Obama’s supporters feel the constant need to shield him, which only weakens him IMO”

    Where is the “outreach”?

    Why doesn’t Limbaugh get the shock of his life sometime on his show — “the White House is on the line”?

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Man child is a term I have only heard in old movies and shows and read in old mostly southern novels and it was always used to describe african americans “child like simpleness.” The only other place I have heard it is Rush so yea I consider it racist as I do with the term “boy.” If on the other hand some random guy on the street see’s a someone kick a can and says “boy you got ahold of that one” that is not racist. The reason is contextual and Rush uses it to specifically racist bait so that he can say things that are racist(usually I say right up to the line but man child and boy are derogatory terms used to infanatlize an entire race and therefore explain away the racism of the whites*we are here to protect them from themselves*, and it was much more common pre-1980 or so) and then hang himself on a cross for people daring to call him racist “because he has black friends which prove he is not racist.” You can disagree all you wish but racism is often in the eye of the beholder and if people see him as a spokesmen of a party that seems to be primarily southern then you can do the math of the stereo type that people will attach to them.

    • CStanley

      The problem with all of those explanations is that there is virtually no negative typing that hasn’t been part of our racist/bigoted past against African Americans. They’ve been stereotyped as infantile, as you describe- but also as thuggish and brutish, particularly black males. So, two rather different types of negative types are generated there (one implying a naive child who can’t be put in a position of authority because of limited ability, and the other implying a much different kind of danger, of a dominating force which must be controlled.)

      So, if all criticisms of Obama are looked at through that lens, you create a bubble through which no one can really criticize him at all- and that’s why I say there’s a condescension about it because surely anyone who believes in his abilities should also believe that he can stand up to criticism without having to have other people surround him and deflect it.

      All of this goes beyond Rush Limbaugh, of course, because as I’ve already stated I think he particularly tries to bait the race baiters. I don’t believe this is due to bigotry on his part, but instead a combination of trying to lampoon the ‘walking on eggshells to avoid being called a racist’ meme in the media (that was what his Donovan McNabb criticism was obviously about) and also a clear understanding of what drives his ratings, and his notoriety which in turn drives even higher ratings and celebrity for himself.

      • pacatrue

        I’m sorry, but I disagree almost completely. Here are some non-racial criticisms one could throw at Obama:

        “The man has no idea what he’s doing because he has no experience in executive management.”
        “He seems to just want to sit back and let all his advisors do the thinking? How’s that using the amazing intellect his supporters think he has?”
        “I tell you the White House is ineptly run.”
        “This policy that Obama is supporting is idiotic. It won’t work, it’ll bankrupt the nation, and it’ll take away freedom from our citizens.”

        And on and on. You can lambast Obama for years on end without calling him a boy or a magic Negro.

        • CStanley

          Yeah, Limbaugh could phrase things in that way and his ratings would be a tiny fraction of what they are. Those are the kinds of words I would use…but I don’t have a multimillion dollar radio franchise, do I?(But hey, I notice I’m up to 452 points here at TMV so I guess I’m developing a fan base lol!)What I’m trying to say about Limbaugh is that I agree to the extent that he uses provocative terms, deliberately. But you’re larger point that this must mean he wants to insert racial bigotry (presumably you’re saying this is because he is a bigot) is incorrect, IMO. It isn’t true that he would have to have used similar terms to describe Bill Clinton just because their chronological ages are similar, because the insult of the term itself is based on a naive and inexperienced approach (and immaturity of attitude), not on the age of the person in years.To be clear, I would greatly prefer that people like Limbaugh didn’t find it so irresistable to use language like this to tweak people, and I would greatly prefer that people like Joe Gandleman didn’t constantly take the bait and get tweaked by it, because I feel it distracts people from addressing the real issues, and from what Obama’s more serious critics have to say. But disliking Limbaugh for that reason doesn’t stop me from shaking my head when I read comments from people who otherwise seem quite intelligent, who read satirical stuff like Limbaugh’s commentary in a straightforward manner. I’m quite sure that when he witnesses those reactions to his work, he’s having the last laugh and I’d think that if you find him offensive you’d instead choose to ignore him.

          And finally, with regard to your claim that people could use those less inflammatory types of criticisms without being accused of racism, I call BS. There have been dozens if not hundreds of times already that people have stuck to criticizing specific actions, decisions, policies, etc, and are still accused of hating on Obama because they can’t handle having a black president.

          • pacatrue

            Well, generally speaking, I’m a fan, CStanley. Even though we often disagree I read almost every comment you write. I cannot say that for others.

            Meanwhile, my point is not in what people will say but what is real. If Limbaugh were to say, “the U.S. government should not be involved in the health insurance industry,” and people called him racist because of that, then there’s nothing you can do, because the comment was not in fact racist.

            The motivation could be racist or not. Assuming the reason he opposes health care has to do with a view of the constitution, deficits, ideas of role of government, i.e., something un-related to race, then nothing about the comment is race-related. If the reason he hates government involvement in health care is because he doesn’t want money going to those lazy colored people (a comment I’ve heard), then the comment wasn’t racist, though the underlying motivation is. What I’m trying to say in this paragraph is that I’m not a relativist like conservatives (sorry, couldn’t resist a good-natured jab) and believe in facts. One can’t use “well, people will still call comments racist when it’s not true” to argue that he didn’t in fact make racist comments. People can say lots of things and be incorrect. His comments can be racist or not whatever people say about them. (There are limits to this idea since it’s communication and I will be happy to discuss them if people want. I’m finishing a doctorate in linguistics and so have more to say on that than anyone wants to hear.)

            I also don’t buy the “I wish liberals wouldn’t take the bait and waste time on this argument” when conservatives are taking the bait just as well in taking the time to criticize liberals for taking the time to criticize Limbaugh. I do agree that this is largely a waste of time to get upset here, since not even most of the conservatives here listen to the man. But what us moderates/liberal would hope is that one day conservatives who do listen to Limbaugh realize he’s hurting conservatism and push him out, stop buying his books, and stop listening to the program, because they are so fed up with calling Presidents boys and magic Negros that they can’t take it anymore just because the other parts are worthwhile to them.

          • CStanley

            What I’m getting at, though, paca, is that what you ask for is a sort of unilateral disarmament on the conservative side (to disavow and accept all of your criticisms of Limbaugh completely) while you miss my point about what the liberal side is not doing (disavowing the race baiters who really do claim that virtually all criticism of Obama is racially motivated. If there was as much outcry here about that as there is about Limbaugh, then I’d believe that the liberal side here was interested in actually moving toward a complete truce on race (to move toward color blinded commentary) rather than having a vested interest in calling out one side only.

          • pacatrue

            I should add one more bit, because this might be the most important place of miscommunication between the two of us. You said (trying to use quote tags for first time ever).

            What I’m trying to say about Limbaugh is that I agree to the extent that he uses provocative terms, deliberately. But you’re larger point that this must mean he wants to insert racial bigotry (presumably you’re saying this is because he is a bigot) is incorrect, IMO.

            I am not really saying this latter thing. He might be doing it to some extent intentionally, because, as I think we agree, he likes to couch things in the most provocative way possible, even if it’s essentially racist, to get ratings. That it works says interesting things about his audience.

            More importantly, I believe he is using racially motivated terminology because he has a hard time not seeing Obama as black.

            I should clarify what I mean by that sentence. I’m in a language-related field in Hawaii. This means that there are a majority women and majority Asian population in my program. Every once in a while, like twice a year, I will suddenly realize, “hey! I’m the only man in this room! or, hey, I’m the only white person in this room.” Then I forget again to think about our gender and ethnicity, because we are all just researchers in a meeting. Hey, I just remembered you are a woman, but until I thought of it this instant, I was just writing as two people on a political blog.

            Rush has a lot more difficulty just seeing a President. He keeps seeing a black man. And so when he hears a story of a white kid getting beat up on a bus by some black kids, Obama comes to mind. There’s no connection between the incident and the President of the United States, but, well, Obama’s black, so it pops in there. And when he’s making up qualities to describe Obama, he frequently draws on ones that have long racial histories.

          • CStanley

            Well, yes and no on our points of disagreement, paca. I still disagree with your assessment of Limbaugh- I think rather than him having a hard time seeing past the color of Obama’s skin, he instead sees that the larger culture and media have a problem doing so and he attempts to lampoon and satirize that.

          • pacatrue

            Thought I’d stop by for one last comment on this. You seem to be presenting Limbaugh here as a sort of culture critic who says outrageous thing about race in order to point out societal qualms. I could disagree with this in several ways, but here’s one that might be most pointed.

            You mentioned earlier that you don’t use the sort of language that Limbaugh does. My question is why. Here’s why I think you don’t do so: You are a kind, intelligent person who tries to treat others with respect unless they deserve less, and you’ve shown no evidence of being racially prejudiced.

            But if your critique of Limbaugh is correct, shouldn’t you be talking more like him? If doing so is sort of a way to satirize society, then conservative criticism is stronger the more it uses the sort of racial language he does.

            In my opinion then, the absence of you calling Obama “boy” and “magic Negro” is not because you lack Limbaugh’s courage or cultural wit, but because you are a better person.

          • CStanley

            Paca, I agree somewhat that it makes one a ‘better person’ if one is willing and able to communicate in noninflammatory terms, using sensitivity to the listener/reader….and I appreciate the compliment.

            However, I also completely accept that in our political rhetoric, other people take different approaches and have different opinions on the manner in which tone affects debate. Surely you’ve noted that some people believe that opponents can and should be persuaded, while other people are firmly convinced that opponents must strictly be ‘defeated’ (which in terms of political debate, generally means to marginalize the opinions of those who disagree.)

            While I am firmly in the first camp, I recognize that even people who are not necessarily ideological extremists often use the second approach. You can see that even here at a blog whose mission is meant to encourage the former, at least among several of the bloggers. For people with strong ideological beliefs, it’s even more common to take the second approach because (I think) such people tend to have a hard time understanding how any reasonable and intelligent person could disagree with their views.

            So I guess you’re misunderstanding a bit…I’m not a fan of Limbaugh’s approach, so I fully understand that my own approach is not just the way I happen to be but also a conscious choice and preference. I think it is both the ‘right’ way to communicate (more respectful of other people) but I also believe it’s more effective in the long run. I just happen to think that many people on all ends (and the middle) of the political spectrum don’t see it that way, and I believe Limbaugh is one of the most prominent examples.

            To some extent, too, it’s a matter of different strokes for different folks- because there are a lot of people who wouldn’t engage politically at all if there weren’t the ‘entertainment’ factor of satire, spoof, humor, and the excitatory factor of fighting against a perceived ‘enemy’. That doesn’t appeal to me (well, satire and humor sometimes do, if done well) but I recognize some value in all of it in terms of getting people involved in the process (though in cases like talk radio, it goes too far and that diminishes the value greatly.)

      • pacatrue

        And of course Obama can take criticism. The anger isn’t because we have to shield Obama. It’s because many Americans have gotten tired of belittling other Americans with racial terminology. This is about Limbaugh and the listeners who support him.

        • CStanley

          But you ignore the fact that Limbaugh also taps into anger from citizens who are tired of the race card being played and overplayed.

          Seems to me that the only way to get beyond the racial nonsense is to call out both- the racists and the race baiters. Limbaugh does the latter, and even if I don’t agree with his style I think there is reason to do so, just as much as you feel that it’s necessary to call out bigots. I think both are important, and if more reasonable people would use reasonable language to point out when someone is overplaying and race baiting, then Limbaugh’s whole schtick would dry up.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            From my point of view calling out both sides is needed. One side sees racism everywhere and the other sees it nowhere and reverse racism everywhere. I would also note that I am one that has on TMV itself called out both sides and usually come down in the middle on the racism questions, but this is indefensible and if I feel that way a good deal of people are probably much more offended. But seeing racism/reverse racism everywhere is a separate issue from someone making a living or a larger living because they use racist or bigoted language. If this was not in the political sphere we would not be debating it since long ago a consensus decided these terms were over the line but we bring it back up now because it helps the GOP. Or to be more specific since they refuse to stop doing it we have decided to move the line so they will not be “perceived” as racist anymore. In other words this is affirmative action for old bigots which I would think they would have an issue with. And trust me they would if it were not something they were currently benefiting from.

          • CStanley

            A good comment overall, MSF, although I sense there’s a bit of “I agree there’s a problem on both sides but it’s worse on the conservative side with people like Limbaugh” involved and on that I disagree. For instance, when you say “But seeing racism/reverse racism everywhere is a separate issue from someone making a living or a larger living because they use racist or bigoted language,” I’d point out that there are also various people who have made a very handsome living from the race baiting side, and it has infected our politics. Since it is currently being used by some to stifle dissent, it’s not at all trivial and in fact a few windbags like Limbaugh making personal profit off of it is trivial compared to that chilling effect.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            I actually agree with you though which is one of many reasons I was happy Obama won. Jessie Jackson and more importantly Al Sharpton have been neutered in a huge way. I would also like to note the amount of times I have defended people against what I saw as those blinded by “racisim is everywhere” threads on this site which I have many times but you are correct I see the other side as worse. The reason is that one side has historically done a great deal of violence in the name of racism and little violence in comparison has happened in the name of ending racism(it has happened just on smaller scales and usually without the tacit approval of the power structure unlike their opposite). To me this is akin to comparing anti-semetisim with anti-nazisim. If I hate nazi’s does that make me a bad person? If I am jewish and nazi’s make me nervous does that mean that I am racist? Or does that mean much like an abused child that knee jerk reactions still exist to abhorrent crimes? If I were a nazi or a far right wing German party would it be wise for me to use racially charged language to bait jewish people and if I did would you defend me? My point is that great crimes have been done and though many are deep in history a good amount of them were in the 60’s-80’s and it will take time for those wounds to heal. Using words that have been deemed unacceptable to get a political win is unacceptable to me.

            Have you thought though that maybe he is actively doing this to ensure that all criticism is tagged as racist since this would be the only way to paint Obama as the “black guy that stole your job because of his race?” It would also be the only way to dust off the southern strategy and continue using it. We assume that the Dems are trying to stifle decent but we seem to forget that Rush historically slashes and burns to create a strategy for the GOP and then hands it to them, that strategy is “he is the one that is racist so we can say what ever we like.” This will allow or force the media to ignore any racist signs since “they are a minority here and its not about race” and if it then becomes about race or largely about race it will be ignored at great cost to our nations race relations. The first step in this strategy in my opinion is main streaming classic bigot speech that fails to use the N word which is why I take such a strong stance on this one.

            One thing from earlier though, why does Colbert avoid using these words he is a satirical comedian? Again because they are racist terms from another time being used to divide and conquer politically and the “satire” is just being used as a shield like when he made jokes about how ugly Chelsea Clinton was when she was a freaking child. The man has no honor and anyone that is a fan of his is in the same boat whether they like it or not, lay down with dogs wake up with fleas. Sorry for the Goodwin but I felt it was the best way to communicate my feelings on the difference but I am happy Wright/Farakahn/Sharpton and the like have been marginalized I am just waiting for the other side to put down their sword.

          • CStanley

            you are correct I see the other side as worse. The reason is that one side has historically done a great deal of violence in the name of racism and little violence in comparison has happened in the name of ending racism(it has happened just on smaller scales and usually without the tacit approval of the power structure unlike their opposite).
            Yes, I figured that would be your reasoning and I do understand and partly agree…but if we focus on what is happening in the present I don’t agree that racism is a more significant problem than it’s counterpart of race baiting. I feel that the racism that still exists is pocketed and marginalized already to the extent that the race baiting only provides a possibility of resurgence, as some non-bigoted individuals begin to feel a grievance at being lumped unfairly with the racists- so I think continuing to do that only picks at a healing wound.

            I am happy Wright/Farakahn/Sharpton and the like have been marginalized I am just waiting for the other side to put down their sword.
            But the way I see it, a lot of prominent people, mostly white, in the media and in political power structures, are now attempting to pick up that sword and carry on their mission. Obama is rightly distancing himself from this, but at this point sometimes it’s hard to tell how committed he is to that vs. using the expedient strategy of letting others do the ‘dirty work’ while he stays above the fray. I’m fairly convinced that it’s the former, but he hasn’t exactly been that vocal in calling people out for it. Also, the obviously deliberate strategy of marginalizing Limbaugh and Fox News has elements of dog whistling toward the race baiters too- how much of it comes across to people who agree with the completely negative characterizations of those as ‘We shouldn’t listen to the bigots, they’re not worthy of our respect?’

            we seem to forget that Rush historically slashes and burns to create a strategy for the GOP and then hands it to them,
            I think you give him way too much credit as a strategist, and I think that even from his perspective it’s much more about strategizing for his own interests, not the GOP’s.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            I thought of a better explanation of the difference for me. The racists need to be told that this is no longer acceptable discourse and though they are free to say what they wish it marginalizes them and their views. The other side that see racism everywhere need therapy to get over the demons in their heads.

          • CStanley

            The other side that see racism everywhere need therapy to get over the demons in their heads.

            Here, I think you overlook the degree to which this is strategic. Some people surely do have those demons in their heads, and see racism everywhere because they live in fear of it or have excessive, overwrought guilt. However, at the levels where leaders are promoting this, I have little doubt that they do it as a strategy, not because of the internal battlings of their psyches.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            I see it as more of a split. Those that were involved in the civil rights movement and people the age of say Carter I think are basically lost causes. First it is impossible for them to separate todays heated rhetoric with say Wallace but that is mostly due to Wallace speaking very carefully at the time and it sounding a good deal like Wallace. The thing they do not see is that the crowds reactions and desires are very different then they were back then so what the crowd is hearing by reading between the lines is different. Second though it pains me greatly they have no idea that they won which is largely because I would not call it a win until around the early 90’s or so at which point they were far beyond learning new tricks(this can also be said for the other side though on point one and two hence the dog whistles going off on both sides). A second segment though does use it for political gain and they need to be stopped but some of the reason they will not lay down their swords is the southern strategy still used by the GOP. Meaning some are doing it for votes and some are doing it out of a moral campaign against a strategy they have been fighting since Nixon and have just begun gaining traction on. Problem is I do not think that will change now that they are a southern regional party but instead get even worse. To be perfectly honest I foresee myself no longer being able to vote Dem in about 3-4 election cycles and the reason is that though I have refused to vote for the GOP due to the southern strategy and my disgust for it that does not mean I am comfortable with a reverse southern strategy which is what I think our politics will become over the next 30-40 yrs. I have doubts I will be able to vote GOP either but I do think that is where we are headed and the only way I see of stopping that is to calm the southern strategy now, since it is not currently a winning formula anymore, and not allow certain words to be mainstreamed again. Specifically because if you begin to hear large percentages of GOPers calling Obama boy and man child the reaction by the electorate will likely be repulsion and a start to a reverse southern strategy. I am pretty positive there is nothing I or any of us citizens can do to stop this but I have to flail and try.

          • CStanley

            Well, I admire your principles but I think you’ve got some of it wrong and I think you’re perhaps a bit too fixated on this. Nothing wrong with taking a stand, of course, but at some point I think you have to ignore noise and look at actual issues and policies and just vote for whoever makes the best case for their side’s approach.

            As for ‘southern strategy’, I just don’t get the continued harping on it and I think that your view of it somewhat enables the Dem reverse southern strategy even though that’s obviously the opposite of your intent. I think if you concede that there have been all of these dog whistles to Southern racists (which I think is way overstated- I don’t even agree with the general consensus that the Willie Horton ad was racist,) then you hand the strategy to the Dems of campaigning this way.

            I also disagree with the idea that real entrenched racism is primarily in the South or in the GOP. Not denying that there are elements of it there, but there was a good deal on display during the Dem primaries in certain states in the rust belt in particular. I think it’s more rural vs. urban than in any one particular region of the country.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            I actually did not mean that racism is worse in the south. I have lived all over the country and to be honest big cities in general are the worst from my experience and LA is the worst of the worst. I am also from IN and agree with you on the rust belt but the language choices and culture is different in the south and that is what I am concentrated on. What I meant is language choices that will bring in the primary voters which will be and are offensive to others. Those are cultural differences meaning they use language differently and therefore what is “common sense” in one region is considered racist rhetoric in another. At one time this worked in the GOPs favor, that is the very essence of Nixon’s idea behind the southern strategy, its not to be racist or kinda racist but to say populist things that happen to have a racial element that appeals to a larger demographic than it repulses. I grew up in the 80’s though and the southern strategy is the demon in my head from the past and it will probably take many years for it to go away short of an end to it and I still do see the Willie Horton ad as mildly racist(that is the way Lee Atwater framed it by his own admission and H.W.’s discomfort, H.W. from everything I have read was never comfortable with the strategy nor that ad).

            My voting habits are a bit easier though since Repubs have not actually offered up anything I have cared for since roughly H.W. Bush so I think it may be a long while before they begin to look attractive to me policy wise.

            I did just realize something though, this is why immigration reform is waiting until 2010. Obama’s political strategy is rope a dope mixed with expecting people to continue doing what they already do. Therefore as we are headed into the 2010 election if Repubs are talking like they did pre-2006 on reform that may very well incite the Dem base as well as further push away the immigrant community from the Repubs. If Repubs do not change their rhetoric and style on immigrants in the next two elections I think they are pretty much toast. The southern strategy and its reverse will work differently. Meaning the southern strategy was ramped up quickly and slowly toned down as the country integrated further. The reverse will have to ramp up quietly and over time become more vocal. I think the first shots will come in the next two elections when Repubs are fighting immigration reform, they are expected to speak just as coarsely as they did in the past. If they do their own words will be used against them in video and audio clips, possibly for a decade. If they do not though I think they could just begin to pick themselves back up politically. They do not have to agree but instead just be very careful how they speak about it and the people it effects. They could rope a dope Obama and become immigrant advocates but where as the business community would love them they would lose voters at the polls and likely be primaried heavily but it could fix their image for 2012-2016 in a big way. My guess is that the rhetoric may be even worse though judging from the current atmosphere and this will hurt them and the lawmakers that join in.

            I would also not say that my stance is all that principled since I also think in that same amount of election cycles the dems will have gone as extreme as the Repubs did under W. Meaning I think Obama is our left turn from Reagan that I would have voted for but W. had taken it to a comic extreme just like Carter did with FDR. Within that amount of election I would guess the Repubs will be much more “sane” from my point of view and the Dems will have gone extremist building on Obamas legacy. I will vote against a reverse southern strategy just like I have against the original but I think a few things will tip my balance not just that single one.

          • CStanley

            I still do see the Willie Horton ad as mildly racist(that is the way Lee Atwater framed it by his own admission and H.W.’s discomfort, H.W. from everything I have read was never comfortable with the strategy nor that ad).

            My sense is that Atwater saw that the line of attack on Dukakis had a racial angle and considered that an added bonus, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the attack itself was legitimate and was based on law and order, not race.

            And the only reason I address that (not wanting to get off on a tangent, IOW) is that this is what happens with a lot of issues- including the one you bring up here, immigration. One doesn’t have to be racist or bigoted at all to want meaningful immigration reform and enforcement. The problem is that if you have that view, you also end up in the company of racists for whom it’s all about keeping America white by denying influx of another race.

            I was for the comprehensive immigration reform that Bush and McCain attempted, and was really sorry to see it blow up on them. And at the same time, I felt that some of the opposition was principled in that people don’t trust the govt to handle the enforcement part well enough before granting them the control over flow of immigrants. I felt that McCain nailed it when he said he’d heard the message loud and clear to ‘fix the damn fence first’. One of the reasons I’d hoped McCain would win is that I wanted to see if he’d continue to fight for reform by taking a two step approach- perhaps we’d have gotten to a policy that didn’t kick the can down the road but addressed people’s real concerns. And if he’d been able to finesse it without having Latino voters feel that the border enforcement was racially motivated, then all the better.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            I am actually in the “fix the damn fence/go after the employers” camp, it is one of the issues I trend right on and I as well was really unhappy how it melted down. I was living in LA at the time and remember the coverage and reality on the street very well in regards to the protests(I had to commute through them every day or around them depending). I also think the language choices were extremely poor by some mainly in the House and I do think if it continues they will continue to pay a price at the polls even in regions where they do not talk that way. I am not saying it is necessarily right or even close to fair but just reality.

            In my opinion if Willie had not been black they would have chosen another target for the ad, I could be wrong but it was the way the ad sounds to me(watched it just last year along with the Lee Atwater documentary so it is still a bit fresh in my memory). I also think a similar though non-race based attack will be used against Huck if he gets the nod after letting out some person that attacked a Clinton friend or family member that went on to commit more crimes(cant remember the guys name right now but it is very similar to Horton but the attacker was white). I just think they could have shied away from portraying it racially and chose not to which just causes further stereo typing of people that look similar in regions where they are uncommon and when it is done to win votes yes I find that offensive. Though I suspect I will feel the same way about the other side in a few elections. Not meaning to keep this going so long I just enjoyed the conversation.

          • CStanley

            Not meaning to keep this going so long I just enjoyed the conversation.

            Same here and I’m glad we’ve found some common ground vis a vis immigration.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        I cant agree on this one. Yes brute and child have both been used but if he called him a brute or a child I would not bat an eye. Call him a man child, boy, n*****, gorilla or the like and yup thats racist language. He can call him a toddler or a bully and again no problem and again Rush knows all of this. For me to say this is fine I have to accept the terms being used by people against my friends because “its not racist, Rush says it”, this is the problem with moving the line because it suddenly is politically convenient too and Rush knows that as well is my guess. This is racist language and I will judge him by his acts and words for I care not what is in his heart if this is the poison he chooses to pollute our air waves with. I will not call him a racist but I am becoming increasingly comfortable calling him a bigot.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Of course if you can find recordings of him calling white people “Boy” and “man child” commonly before say 2004 you could quickly prove that he is not racist just a baiter but I have doubts that you will find it.

  • JSpencer

    Wow, the willingness of some folks to play apologist is just amazing. Or maybe the habit of rationalizing when it comes to certain issues is so deep the realization just isn’t there. Interesting… but disturbing. Some things don’t really change I guess.On a lighter note, thanks DLS for the continuing comedy stylings. Seeing you use the word, “hypocrisy” is a real knee-slapper.

  • pacatrue

    To echo TMSF, Rush knows how to play this game. He has chosen racially-loaded words to describe the first ever black President, but chosen ones so that he can pretend they are not racially loaded. The question is: has he routinely described white politicians he disagrees with as a boy? For instance, if my math is right, Bill Clinton, whom Rush built his career off of smashing, was a year younger when becoming Prez than Obama is. Was Rush always going off about this boy and man-child in the White House regarding Clinton, or did that term only show up with Obama? Remember this is the man of “the Magic Negro” fame. And how white kids are going to be beat up in Obama’s America.

    So in sum: Limbaugh makes songs about magic Negros, goes off about whites getting attacked by blacks in Obama’s America, and repeatedly labels Obama as a “boy”, a term used by whites to describe black men specifically for decades, when he never uses the term for white politicians he opposes, and we are supposed to think it’s not related to race?

    Of course the word “boy” has other meanings. But, sorry to go here, the word “nigger” only means black in Latin originally, but I hope people aren’t going to start telling me Limbaugh would be justified in going off about our first nigger president, because the word just means black. It’s like saying a discussion of big nosed moneylenders has nothing to do with anti-semitism because some money lenders have big noses.

    Words take on their meaning because of the contexts in which they are used and the knowledge of the world that we share. You can claim any meaning you want to for “boy”, but that’s not communication. Communication depends upon shared context. And the context for Limbaugh’s comments are a decades long history of treating black people as children that most of us have escaped. Not Limbaugh.

    • TheMagicalSkyFather

      And one thing to add on yet again is that this is not new, this is exactly the type of stuff David Duke did in the 80’s when the KKK was turned into a “white pride” organization instead of a racist one *wink, wink*. The rebranding failed as will this one but have fun on that trip with all your new found friends for those defending this.

  • DLS

    “On a lighter note, thanks DLS for the continuing comedy stylings.”

    Entertainment is cheap or even free when it’s created in your own head.

  • JSpencer

    When the old trappings of racism are no longer fashionable, racists adapt. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean racism is gone. It’s one thing for racists to be in denial, it’s quite another for them to be defended by people who don’t consider themselves racist.

  • DLS

    We’ve actually encountered the following criticisms (there is no “could” about these being made),

    “The man has no idea what he’s doing because he has no experience in executive management.”

    “He seems to just want to sit back and let all his advisors do the thinking? How’s that using the amazing intellect his supporters think he has?”

    “I tell you the White House is ineptly run.”

    “This policy that Obama is supporting is idiotic. It won’t work, it’ll bankrupt the nation, and it’ll take away freedom from our citizens.”

    from Limbaugh and others, as well as from “town hall” and other protestors of all kinds, and all have been branded “racist” by those who would prefer to attack the messenger because they cannot (or will not, for strange reasons) refute or dispel the messages.

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