Our political Quote of the Day comes from Shane Murphy, the second-in-command aboard the American merchant ship seized by Somalian pirates. When the ship’s first in command was freed by Navy Seals most Americans of both parties cheered and put politics aside, but conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh had a different reaction.
“It feels great to be home,” said Murphy in an interview with WCBV in Boston. “It feels like everyone around here has my back, with the exception of Rush Limbaugh, who is trying to make this into a race issue…that’s disgusting.”
Limbaugh made the remark to suggest why President Obama might have appeared preoccupied at church on the day of the operation to rescue the ship’s captain, who was taken hostage by the pirates until Navy SEAL snipers shot them in a daring rescue effort.
“He was worried about the order he had given to wipe out three teenagers on the high seas,” Limbaugh said. “Black Muslim teenagers.”
“You gotta get with us or against us here, Rush,” Murphy said. “The president did the right thing…It’s a war…. It’s about good versus evil. And what you said is evil. It’s hate speech. I won’t tolerate it.”
Uh oh. Now Murphy will be branded a “RINO,” or a tool of liberals, or a liberal himself — or, worse, a registered Democrat — or someone who is just too dense to get Limbaugh’s humor, sophisticated wit, cutting-edge satire, insightful political perception and brilliance of analysis.
Republicans who keep defending, enabling, and apologizing for Limbaugh’s shtick are indeed tolerating it. Each time we do a post critical of a Limbaugh comment we get lots emails, often bordering on the abusive, and quite often with the same accusatory tone filled insinuations as Limbaugh’s broadcasts. Almost all say those of us who criticize Limbaugh and how he has lowered the bar on serious debate and sandbagged bipartisan cooperation and respect in this country “just don’t get it.” The fact is: Democrats, independents and Republicans who don’t approve of Limbaugh’s brand of rhetoric DO get it.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.