Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 16, 2009

DROPPING THE PRETENSE.... Among some of President Obama's more despicable right-wing detractors, there has long been a racial element to their attacks. Generally, however, there's at least some subtlety to the race-baiting. Even the most depraved conservatives realize that unvarnished racism will generate a backlash, so they tend to be cautious.

Yesterday, however, the right came about as close to "straight-up George Wallace-style race-baiting" as we've seen from high-profile conservatives all year. It apparently started with a blaring headline on Drudge: "White Student Beaten on School Bus; Crowd Cheers." In 2009, a fist fight among teenagers on a school bus is now important national news, because the kid throwing the punch was black, and the kid taking the punch was white.

Rush Limbaugh decided President Obama is somehow responsible for this.

"It's Obama's America, is it not? Obama's America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety, but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,' and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he's white."

Publius added, "[I]t's not not just Limbaugh. It's also Malkin, and Gateway Pundit, and Drudge, and Tom Maguire."

For those who believe reality matters, the school-bus fight reportedly had nothing to do with race, but rather, a couple of bullies who like to dictate who sits where on the bus. Conservatives who consider the fight of great national importance didn't even get the basics right. (Of course, even if the scuffle had been racially motivated, it takes a truly deranged political observer to hold the president responsible.)

But this isn't about reality. This is about right-wing activists who desperately want to stir up racial hatred of the president. It's vile and disgusting, and continues to tear at our social fabric in dangerous ways. There's no place for these transparently racist tactics in our discourse, but the likelihood of consequences for Limbaugh and his cohorts remains small.

Andrew Sullivan's take rang especially true.

The story was a classic schoolbus bully incident; it could happen anywhere any time and has happened everywhere at all times with kids of all races, backgrounds and religions. To infer both that it was racially motivated and that this is somehow connected to having a black president is repulsive. I know that is almost de trop with Limbaugh, but sometimes you have to regain a little shock. This man is spewing incendiary racial hatred. He is conjuring up images of lonely whites being besieged by angry violent blacks ... based on an incident that had nothing to do with race at all. And why, by the way, does someone immediately go to the racial angle when looking at such a tape?

These people are going off the deep end entirely: open panic at a black president is morphing into the conscious fanning of racial polarization, via Gates or ACORN or Van Jones or a schoolbus in St. Louis. What we're seeing is the Jeremiah Wright moment repeated and repeated. The far right is seizing any racial story to fan white fears of black power in order to destroy Obama. And the far right now controls the entire right.

Do they understand how irresponsible this is? How recklessly dangerous to a society's cohesion and calm?

I think they understand it all too well. Indeed, it's their driving motivation.

To their credit, there were a handful of conservatives who stepped up on this. Rod Dreher said Limbaugh is "up to something wicked." He added that Limbaugh and his ilk "are quite simply tearing the country apart."

If more conservatives were equally willing to criticize these attempts to stoke racial tensions, we'd all be better off.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

Read: Murdoch and his mouthpieces

To their credit, there were a handful of conservatives who stepped up on this. Rod Dreher said Limbaugh is "up to something wicked." He added that Limbaugh and his ilk "are quite simply tearing the country apart."
Posted by: koreyel on September 16, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican party has just dropped off the edge. You knew it was bound to happen when they made a radio shock jock boss.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 16, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

I heard Rush's Daily Rant yesterday (know thine enemy) while driving.

It's a common tactic of his-and the rest of his species-to seize upon some news item and spin it through disingenuous sophistry into a greater "truth".

"The sun rose this morning, and primitive tribes in Africa worship the sun, therefore obama is a primitive African sun worshiper . . ."

Of greater interest and concern is the number of uneducated people who listen to that sort of nonsense, and support the advertisers of it.

Racist or not, the divisiveness of society today bodes ill for the America of tomorrow.

Posted by: DAY on September 16, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

What I wonder is, when does the routine use of the public airwaves to spread misinformation and disinformation become an FCC issue?

Aren't broadcasters supposed to "serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity"?

Can't see how the rants of Rushbo and the other wingnut radio talkers do any of that.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 16, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

For those few among the reality-based who are interested in reality:

(1) the early report said the police believed the incident was racially motivated;

(2) the Gateway Pundit wondered whether Al Sharpton would involve himself; he did not mention Obama;

(3) I specifically said Obama ought *not* to involve himself, but wondered whether his judgment had improved since he brainlessly blundered into the Skip Gates debacle. For non-link followers:

"Is Obama Smart Enough To Duck This?

Yet another racially charged incident - black students beat up a white student on a bus. Drudge is headlining it, so the story will have legs. Obama is Commander-in-Chief, not Police Chief or school superintendent - will he be smart enough to duck this, as he should have ducked the Skip Gates debacle? Or will a simple "I don't have all the facts but it looked like the white kid sat in the wrong seat" suffice?"

(4) The last sentence from Benen is to laugh:

If more conservatives were equally willing to criticize these attempt to stoke racial tensions, we'd all be better off.

Right. Meanwhile, every lib explains any criticism of Obama by citing racism (e.g., Maureen Dowd concluded (reluctantly, she pretends) that racism motivated Joe Wilson. Maybe Benen thinks both sides could dial it back a bit?

Posted by: Tom Maguire on September 16, 2009 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

tom maguire: go stick it up your butt, you asswipe. if you'd like an example of brainless blundering, read your own 9:05.

there is nothing serious to be said to clowns like you.

Posted by: howard on September 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

First divide.
Then conquer.
Then divvy up the loot.

History is like a skipping LP record. What's in the next groove?

Posted by: anomaly on September 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Riddle me this: who was it that was forced to resign from his position as a sports commentator after making racist remarks?

Is anyone really surprised by Oxycontin Boy's recent spewage?

Posted by: josef on September 16, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Screw you, Maguire. There IS racism coming from the side you align yourself with, and the people who notice it pretending it isn't there so you won't be offended is a grave disservice to the society itself.

Get a better quality of friends, or suffer the consequences of associating with race-baiters and those who would destroy our society to save it.

Posted by: Realist on September 16, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Limbaugh, Beck, Dobbs, et al: Exterminate the Hutu cockroaches.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on September 16, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Maguire,

So you swallowed, without question, the assertion by the police that the incident was racially motivated?

Yet you are unable to see the obvious racism in Joe Wilson's heckling of president Obama?

The ease with which people see racism here but not there smacks, to me, of the passive-aggressive bigotry that racism now operates under.

Posted by: Charles on September 16, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of something I read somewhere during last year's campaign, that if Obama lost the election, it would be decades before another black candidate would run for president.

Now I'm seriously wondering if the extreme fringe thinks their best bet for 2012 is to stir up a racial war to defeat Obama and in the process cause so much trouble there won't be another black candidate for 100 years.

Posted by: Norwood Woman on September 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs teased his audience with this tale last night. More of these tactics by the Republican base and they'll be sure to get Charlie Manson's vote! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I assume the MSM headline will be

Controversy Brews over
Obama's Role in Racial Bus Attack

Posted by: Chris S. on September 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of something I read somewhere during last year's campaign, that if Obama lost the election, it would be decades before another black candidate would run for president.

Now I'm seriously wondering if the extreme fringe thinks their best bet for 2012 is to stir up a racial war to defeat Obama and in the process cause so much trouble there won't be another black candidate for 100 years.

Posted by: Norwood Woman on September 16, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Even Rod Dreher said ...
----------------------

Fixed.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on September 16, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

let's add one point about tom maguire's so-called judgement: anyone who has to call maureen dowd "our side" doesn't have any.

Posted by: howard on September 16, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

As I live in St.Louis, this story and its video have led the local news since yesterday.

The local police in Belleville made assumptions based on the video alone (which shows 2 black males ages 14 and 15 repeatedly striking a white male age 17 while surrounded by many students, mostly black, cheering them on). Based on this they decided in must be "racially motivated". After actually questioning witnesses on the bus, it was determined to be a bus seat bullying thing and not race based.

And to Tom. When you've got one side passing out "Birds of a Feather Flock Together" pamphlets as a campaign tactic, I think it's safe to say which side needs to dial it back. Spare me the false equivalencies.

Posted by: oh well on September 16, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Is Limbaugh feeling threatened by Glenn Beck's rising popularity, and feels he has to increase the Hate/Crazy level in order to win back attention?

Back in '93, when Clinton was struggling, Limbaugh was the defacto leader of the "conservative" movement. There was no Fox News, hardly any internet. But now he has a lot of competition.

Posted by: Speed on September 16, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bush wasn't responsible for 9/11 WTC attacks because he wasn't in office long enough, but Obama is responsible for 9/15 bus attack. Makes total sense.

Posted by: Jason on September 16, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno, Steve. I remember Rush blaming every fight in every high school on Bush...

Posted by: Go, Sestak! on September 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Oxy-boy, Malkin, Maguire, etc. aren't stupid. They're cynical pricks who know exactly what they are doing. They just don't give a fuck.

Posted by: bikelib on September 16, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

go, sestak! brilliant at 9:30.

speed, i think you're on to something.

oh well: tom maguire gets a lot of mileage out of seeming less crazed than the typical right-wing stooge, but it's phony mileage.

Posted by: howard on September 16, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK
History is like a skipping LP record. What's in the next groove?

Posted by: anomaly on September 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM

to do that, you have to flip the record over.

Posted by: Husker Blue on September 16, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

McGuire the Moron--pretty pathetic when you have to create an equivalency b/w kids fighting on a schoolbus and major public figures engaged in blatant race baiting and racially motivated attacks. Not even a good try on your part.

The reason so many see obvious racism in the attacks on Obama is because the same white men, mostly southern, who had no problem voting for Bush's unfunded tax cuts for the rich, war of choice, and expansion of Medicare are now claiming to be concerned about spending. Simply not believable--so what changed? Hmmm, it's a mystery. Can't be racism, nah.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 16, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Remember that person who was murdered in Pa. because he was speaking spanish? Happened on Bush's watch, racially motivated attack by whites on a hispanic. Clearly Bush's fault per wingnut logic.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Now I wonder how long it'll be before Dreher's begging for entry to the sanctum to kiss Limbaugh's...ring.

Posted by: azportsider on September 16, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and don't get me started on all the white kids who attacked black people during Bush's term, in "Bush's America"--just the footage of white kids attacking black homeless people by itself could fill hours.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on September 16, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Limbaugh. He's only trying his best to ignite Helter Skelter in a much less messy fashion than Charlie and The Family and all he gets is vilified for it. What's a multimillionaire slimeball to do?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on September 16, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

One thing, if we end up fighting the civil war over again, this time when we win we don't make the tresonous generals 'national' heros.

Posted by: robert on September 16, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Belleville white boys (and men) have been beating East St. Louis black boys (and men and women) for decades.

Now this is some change I can believe in.

Posted by: converse on September 16, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, because we all know that the right would never, ever use racial division for crass political gain.

Oh, wait ... that's right! The GOP's own Lee Atwater said this:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Not everyone protesting or disagreeing with Obama is doing so based on race. But a lot of them are, and to think otherwise is to ignore basic reality.

Oh, and I love how the right treats accusations/proof of racism worse than, you know, actual racism.

That speaks volumes about their "mind"set.

Posted by: Mark D on September 16, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Any day now shouts of "nigger" will ring out some town hall or protest, and we'll see how fast these national Republicans who have been egging this on will try to scramble. They need to be held accountable.

There's no question in my mind that before Obama's first term is up we'll see something horrible inflicted on this nation at the hands of these people. Whether it's an attempt on the President's life, the assassination of a major Democratic figure or a new Oklahoma City we will see something from this ugly fringe of American society. Limbaugh, Beck, Fox News and their Republican Party cohorts will need to answer for it.

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 16, 2009 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

The conservative GOP pattern is this:

Step 1: Make outrageous statement ("You lie," Death Panels for the Disabled, Obama caused a high school fist fight because he's racist)

Step 2: Step it back a notch.

Step 3: Have your friends defend your right to make outrageous statements.

Step 4: Repeat Step 1.

Republicans are at a point now where they are perfectly willing to shout "Fire" in the movie theater if the they think the resulting stampede to the exit will stop the movie.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 16, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

how long until they start openly calling for violence against the office of the president? it's not far from where we are now.

Posted by: jw on September 16, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

It's very plausible that the right could provoke armed liberals to start showing up at Obama's events to "protect" the president from conservative militants. This will be a nightmare for police and just the kind of situation Limbaugh, Beck etc. would like to see as justification for their race baiting.

If Democrats continue to act with restraint we will do much more to isolate the right-wing militants and aid the perception that the GOP is devoid of any policy ideas other than arming citizens and soldiers to the teeth with unnecessary and inappropriate weapons.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 16, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Right. Meanwhile, every lib explains any criticism of Obama by citing racism (e.g., Maureen Dowd concluded (reluctantly, she pretends) that racism motivated Joe Wilson. -Tom Maquire

Given the groups he belongs to and his ardent and untruthful support of Thurmond, this is a reasonable conclusion, especially given that Obama was telling a demonstrable truth, which an educated person such as yourself and a law maker like Wilson, should have no trouble sussing out. It's in the bill. Period.

Let's not pretend there is an equivalence between a southern, white Confederate supporter calling the first black President a liar on national television in the well of the house and attempting to leverage a non-story about a school fight to widen the racial divide.

You're as obviously disingenuous as Steve indicates, but I appreciate your willingness to wade into unfriendly waters, no matter how badly you swam.

Posted by: doubtful on September 16, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

OMG, GP! What a pleasant blog. NOT! If you disagree there, hundreds of supporters will immediately offer to hunt you down and slit your throat.

Makes me wonder just how close to inciting violence do you need to come before you're called a domestic terrorist?

Posted by: MissMudd on September 16, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

What are the rule governing unholstering guns at Obama's events?

The right-wing militants say they bring the guns out in public for self-protection. What's to keep them from aiming or firing the gun if they interpret someone's words or actions as threatening?

IN the context of all the race baiting, charges of socialism, etc. from the right-wing media these militarized public meetings are becoming very unstable settings.

Maybe this means blogs will become more important venues of debate as right-wing thugs intimidate citizens from attending Obama's public events.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 16, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think it is pretty intentional and at the same time I think you have to say it represents something that Limbaugh, Beck, Malkin, and Buchannan all really believe: that white people (or in Malkin's case, White and Aisian people) are the superior race. Their vision of the United States as a white person's country is not much different than Stephen Douglas's view in the 1850s. And like Bill Buckley in the 1950s, they believe as the superior race they have right to use violence to sustain "civilization." As for Joe Wilson, his membership in the "Sons of the Confederacy" and fight for the Confederate Battle flat to continue flying over South Carolina I think supply a strong circumstantial case for racial beliefs.

Posted by: sherparick on September 16, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Another thing to consider: how long can this go on? The Clintons were relentlessly attacked for eight years, but it really was nothing like this. This reminds me of Germany's last desperate, all or nothing, push at the end of World War One.

At some point it reaches a boiling point and something horrible happens, or it runs out of steam. Either way this sort of frenzy is not sustainable after a while. Limbaugh and Beck have to get more outrageous to keep the interest alive. The Republican politicians have to follow close behind. What is the end game, the assassination of the President, his forced removal from office? This either progresses to a criminal act or fizzles.

Posted by: Saint Zak on September 16, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Rush is clearly miffed at the rapid rise of Beck's star in the right-wing lunatic fringe, so had to do something to top him and reassert his alpha male status. This is what he came up with. Beck will now have to dream up something even more outrageous -- and Drudge, Malkin et. al. will cheer each new "height" of nauseaous drivel. Expect it people, it will get much worse than this over the next couple of years. I think we just have to ignore it, and trust that the great majority of decent people will do likewise. If that is not the case, we are all foobarred anyway.

Posted by: eaglesmith on September 16, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

This morning I was reading the on-line obits at the Chicago Tribune (I lived in Chicago til 2 years ago) and in one lengthy obit of a man about 84 years old, was the startling (or maybe not so startling) statement that he was active in the Republican party and "enjoyed listening to Rush Limbaugh".

Who puts that in their parent's obituary? Who even admits it?

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on September 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Sullivan, the man who proudly brought us one of the most racist and bullshit books of the past 20 years -- The Bell Curve -- is certainly the guy to turn to for slapping around racism in this country. Remember, ol' Andy only wanted to further the discussion of why people with darker skin are inherently stupider than those with less melanin. Next time, just quote a Southern GOP member.

Posted by: HumboldtBlue on September 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Just wondering, what would have happened if someone had a gun at a Bush event. I seem to remember people being taken out for inappropriate T Shirts.

Posted by: JS on September 16, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Right. Meanwhile, every lib explains any criticism of Obama by citing racism (e.g., Maureen Dowd concluded (reluctantly, she pretends) that racism motivated Joe Wilson.

A fight on a school bus and it is "Obama's America", right? Trying to make those white people feel unsafe with a black president?

Joe Wilson was one of only 7 state legislators to vote against removing the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in South Carolina. No racism there, right?

Republicans only hope is the white vote. If whites don't vote overwhelmingly for them, they lose and they know it. And, of course, the best way to stampede the white folks is to scare the hell out of them. That's why so many conservative targets from Van Jones to Acorn to Obama himself are black.

It's cynical, hateful and bad for the country but Rush Limbaugh and Tom McGuire don't care about that.

Meanwhile, Obama has a 56% approval rating after the summer's right-wing onslaught. It isn't working, Tom. You've got your 30% all fired up, but you still only have 30% and you are still losers.

Posted by: Pug on September 16, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I honestly believe we will see another Oklahoma style attack within the next six months. The amount of irrational hate and outright calls for violence coming out the right is truly terrifying. I hope the Secret Service is keeping their eyes open.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 16, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

In 2009, a fist fight among teenagers on a school bus is now important national news, because the kid throwing the
punch was black, and the kid taking the punch was white.

This was no fight; it was a beating, a criminal assault. A fight implies participation on both sides. This was a kid sitting in a seat and being beat by someone for where he was sitting. The fact that it was a bus full of black students can lead some to the conclusion that it was racially motivated. Had the circumstances been the other way around there would have been many claiming that it was racism, most likely a result of the hate speech from the right.

Posted by: johnnj on September 16, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives are playing a very risky game. Their overheated rhetoric is striking a chord, but only with conservative, Christian whites. That's a large voter block, but it is no longer a majority in the US.

Can the rhetoric frighten enough independent whites to win a national election in 2012? I don't really think so. Unless conservatives can come up with a genial candidate (like Ronald Reagan) who seems to not be motivated by hate, they will be in the minority in 2012, and it will be another landslide for Obama. But they have a Catch-22 at work: you have to be mad as hell and a little crazy to get the Republican nomination in this environment. So someone who could win the general election couldn't get nominated.

I think the haters on the right are hurting themselves.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on September 16, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Someone should tell Andrew Sullivan that "de trop" means "superfluous, unwelcome, unwanted"; I think he was thinking "de regueur."

Posted by: DavidNOE on September 16, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele, who likely would have had no problem being at that Mad Men party where Roger Sterling serenaded his trophy-wife-to-be in blackface, has said this about "race in the mix":

This is a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president's wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose. Injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families doesn’t create jobs, reform our health care system or reduce the growing deficit. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.

Characterizing Americans’ disapproval of President Obama’s policies as being based on race is an outrage and a troubling sign about the lengths Democrats will go to disparage all who disagree with them. Playing the race card shows that Democrats are willing to deal from the bottom of the deck. Our political system has no place for this type of rhetoric.

As the leader of the Democratic Party President Obama should flatly reject efforts by those in his Party, including Jimmy Carter and Tim Kaine, to inject race into our civil discourse in ways that divide, not unite, Americans.

Talk about living in an alternative reality.

Posted by: TCinLA on September 16, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

From howard:

there is nothing serious to be said to clowns like you.

Well, you are the guy to not say it.

So you swallowed, without question, the assertion by the police that the incident was racially motivated?

I did? I said the incident was "racially charged", which seems safe and accurate, since we are talking about the race of the victim, the assailants and the spectators and not, for example, their ages (the vic was older, apparently - who cares?). Do I need to spell out that "racially charged" does not mean "racist"? (Hmm, ask a rhetorical question...)

The police chief, who may be aware of local racial tensions or recent history, said it was racially motivated and then changed his mind. Of course, if the same incident had been reversed (two white kids assault a nerdy black student while other whites cheer) I suspect one or two readers here would be able to detect racial motivation. Or maybe not.

It's cynical, hateful and bad for the country but Rush Limbaugh and Tom McGuire don't care about that.

Uh huh. Of course, I was on the opposite side from Rush, since I was saying it is *not* Obama's problem and he ought to stay away from it, but whatever... The emphasis here is on allegations of racism, not reading comprehension.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on September 16, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA - da nile is the longest river in the world, and you will surely drown as you continue your attempt to swim it! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 16, 2009 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

kevo,

I don't think TC's italics continued through the whole quote. I believe only the first and last paragraph are his, and the rest is a quote Steele.

Truly, you're right about swimming in 'denial,' but I think Steele is the proper target.

Posted by: doubtful on September 16, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of reading comprehension, as howard pointed out, Maguire's imagining that MoDo speaks for liberals says all that needs to be said about his.

Posted by: Gregory on September 16, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

johnnh: "Had the circumstances been the other way around there would have been many claiming that it was racism, most likely a result of the hate speech from the right."

Had the circumstances been the other way around, it wouldn't have been a story. "Dog bites man" rarely is.

Posted by: converse on September 16, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Rush et al: the new nazis.

Posted by: rbe1 on September 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't it obvious that someone who preaches hatred towards whole classes of people in this country (blacks, liberals) is doing evil to the country?

Posted by: Boronx on September 16, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

A bit late to this discussion, but don't forget the pay-off at the end of all this: the fund raising letter to a list of like minded fools. . .

Posted by: DAY on September 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Prawn Vannity was in on this too yesterday, highlighting Serena Williams' on-court tantrum (which I couldn't hear on his audio, tho it was bleeped in places), Kanye's drunken MTV Awards ramble, and the school bus fight. All horrid examples, he said, of the 'coarsening of our national dialogue. Left unmentioned, but patently obvious, was the fact that all the people he was complaining about were black. He went on to assure his listeners that he thinks Beyonce is a lovely, classy woman and that he supported Congressperson Joe Wilson because he spoke the "truth". It was by turns shocking and vile.

Posted by: Jor-El Six-Pack on September 16, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

For anyone interested, I happen to already be writing a post on the supposed racism of Obama's critics:
History's Greatest Monster is Wrong

Here's an excerpt which applies to this post:

Besides, not only are not all Obama haters racist, but even the racists aren't really racists anymore. They don't hate blacks. They just hate blacks that are on the wrong team. But they hate everyone who's on the wrong team, regardless of race, creed, or color. Seriously, where is the racist who hates Michael Steele more than they hate Nancy Pelosi? I doubt you'll find one.

That's not to suggest that racism isn't real, as I know it is. But it's merely to say that, at it's core, racism isn't really about race. It's about hating someone for being on the wrong team. And even your hardcore blatant racists all know some "clean" negro who they respect, and wish the rest of them could be like that one. And sure, they say racist things when their target is a minority, but they say sexist things when their target is a woman, and again, there isn't a prominent Democratic white male who gets a free pass from offensive attacks. They hate us all! Racism is a by-product of their attacks; not the source of it.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on September 16, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm dreading the day when a gun-toting wingnut opens fire on a group of minorities and the police find his place littered with books from Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, et al, and his DVR hard drive full of recorded programming from these nuts.

My guess is that the MSM will mention those facts in passing and pretend there is no issue.

Posted by: bdop4 on September 16, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"He added that Limbaugh and his ilk 'are quite simply tearing the country apart.'" This is the old chess gambit. If you're losing, just take your arm and sweep the pieces of the table. Works every time.

Posted by: E L on September 16, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, where is the racist who hates Michael Steele more than they hate Nancy Pelosi? I doubt you'll find one. -Doctor Biobrain

You're analysis is lacking an explanation of the 'me too' cynicism of elevating Steele in the first place. It is inherently racist to assume that garnering minority votes necessarily follows putting a minority in a position of power. Additionally, I think you're mistakenly attributing tolerance for Steele to team dynamics when it's actually a function of ownership: the true leaders of the Republican party, the Limbaughs, the Gingriches, and the Armeys, see Steele is nothing more than a tool; he's a convenient shield to deflect accusations of racism, a trap which you have fallen in to.

No, I'm afraid a deep seated racism and a permeating dislike for all things liberal and progressive are driving their hatred. I don't think it's either/or. This is a clear cut case of both.

I'm dreading the day when a gun-toting wingnut opens fire on a group of minorities and the police find his place littered with books from Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter... -bdop4

Don't you mean you're dreading the day that will happen again.

Posted by: doubtful on September 16, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Doubtful - thanks for the heads up. Sorry about that TCinLA! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 16, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm dreading the day when a gun-toting wingnut opens fire on a group of minorities and the police find his place littered with books from Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, et al, and his DVR hard drive full of recorded programming from these nuts.

This has already happened with the guy who opened fire in the Universalist Church in Tennessee, except it was "liberals" who were his target, not minorities.

My guess is that the MSM will mention those facts in passing and pretend there is no issue.

That is exactly what happened.

Posted by: Pug on September 16, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

First: This has no more to do with Obama than any other example of racist thuggery.

Second: Should I be shown evidence that the white kid started it by doing more than claiming a seat, my mind could easily be changed, but this looked just as much like racist thuggery to me as any Klan rally.

I ride public transportation and am disabled with a bad back. Standing is painful for me. On more than one occasion I have been on a crowded bus (around the end of the school day) when one or more young black was sprawled across two seats while others had to stand. White kids may do it too, but I have never seen that. Notice that all the guys (the video is up now) who are single-seated are black. Then notice that most - if not all - of the black kids are cheering the "beatdown." Then ask yourself if you would consider it a racist incident if everyone's skin color was reversed.

There are several issues. Fortunately the thugs will be punished as thugs should be, white or black. In many - if not most - of our urban school districts white kids have minority status. It is just as important to protect them from the racist thugs as it is to protect minority kids in mostly white suburban districts.

Posted by: UnEasyOne on September 16, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I go on sex tours of the Dominican Republic! How can I be racist?

Posted by: Rush Limbaugh on September 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK
Should I be shown evidence that the white kid started it by doing more than claiming a seat, my mind could easily be changed, but this looked just as much like racist thuggery to me as any Klan rally.

If you really wanted evidence that this wasn't racially motivated, you'd go out and find it. And it's easy to do since the story is all over every St. Louis paper -- and they note that the white kid was, in fact, a bully. That's what it was about.

But you don't care about the facts, do you? Instead, you prove your lack of self awareness by posting this:

On more than one occasion I have been on a crowded bus (around the end of the school day) when one or more young black was sprawled across two seats while others had to stand. White kids may do it too, but I have never seen that.

Dear lord ... just ... wow.

Thanks for proving that you just don't get it.

Posted by: Mark D on September 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course racism still exists in America. I see it with Blacks, Whites, Mexicans, Asians and Jews.

To pin this on Obama is beyond ridiculous.

Go smoke a fat one Rush.

Posted by: Chris R on September 16, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

On more than one occasion I have been on a crowded bus (around the end of the school day) when one or more young black was sprawled across two seats while others had to stand. White kids may do it too, but I have never seen that.

As a veteran bus rider and Metro rider in DC I can tell you your assumptions are false. The person least likely to get up and offer a seat to an elderly or visibly handicapped person on the buses I've boarded is the white guy in Italian loafers, dress shirt and tie. Too busy reading his paper or Blackberry.

And when I've asked a black kid sprawled across two seats if I can sit, I've never been turned down and I'm a middle-aged white lady.

Posted by: lou on September 16, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

This was no fight; it was a beating, a criminal assault. A fight implies participation on both sides. This was a kid sitting in a seat and being beat by someone for where he was sitting. The fact that it was a bus full of black students can lead some to the conclusion that it was racially motivated.

So what. People get their ass beat in school every day. I mean, look - it sucks. But it's true. Bullying is a big problem.

Hell, the kid may have been beaten up because he was white. Certainly white kids get beat up by black kids for their color. And it CERTAINLY goes the other way. Of course, like bullying, it sucks. But it happens. Racism is a problem in this country, it's impossible to deny this.

People on the left get pilloried by the right for daring to bring up racism, the right likes to pretend racism doesn't exist anymore. It's one of the first things Stephen Colbert parodied on his show. Of course, if its black on white racism, or Hispanic on white, then it exists and is a huge problem.

The real story in all of this is that Rush Limbaugh was able to turn this shit into national news and pump it out there with his frame. The media ate it up, because the media is very much aligned with the right wing and Big Daddy Rush said it.

We all here know the crap about the "liberal media" is a huge fucking lie, and stuff like this is why: Influential GOP memebers can push their narrative out to the country at large without delay or counterbalance.

Posted by: Joshua on September 16, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

or a schoolbus in St. Louis.

Can't believe that I am the first to correct this, but the attack occurred on a schoolbus in Belleville, IL, *not* St.Louis, MO.

Posted by: Disputo on September 16, 2009 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, the Belleville mayor is getting so many violent threats from wingnuts across the country, that they have been forced to increase security at City Hall. Quote the Belleville Police Chief:

"You've got a lot of people with strong racial animosity or beliefs... Some of them I've heard played back to me, they are racist in nature and they're threatening to do harm if certain things are not done to protect the white man, and those kinds of things."
Posted by: Disputo on September 16, 2009 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kids of every color have been getting beaten up on school buses ever since buses were first used for moving schoolkids...

Posted by: Matt on September 16, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

matt, don't you understand? tom maguire is telling you that this is a uniquely racially motivated incident.

do you really need to know more than that? after all, tom maguire wouldn't lie to you, would he?

Posted by: howard on September 17, 2009 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

True, this was not racially motivated in all likelihood. What liberals are missing however is the root of the conservative anger: the fact that if the races were reversed, liberals would tolerate and excuse and sometimes even support irresponsible cries of racism by black leaders like Sharpton and Jackson.

Posted by: Markus on September 19, 2009 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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