Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 8, 2011

LIMBAUGH'S JEFFERSON DAVIS ANALOGY.... Well, at least we know the budget fight can't get any dumber than this quote, offered by Rush Limbaugh on the air today.

"If the troops still engage in battle, if they go to war and execute the orders issued by their commanders, if the troops are thus not paid by their commander in chief, are they his slaves? What would you call it? Can those serving in the military just walk off the job? I don't think so. So if Obama does not sign the bill to pay his troops, then it sounds sort of like forced labor to me. I mean, it's one thing, folks -- and we can all agree on this -- it's one thing to have to pick cotton. But to be forced to risk your life overseas without being paid, that's the worst kind of forced labor to me. Are you kidding me? [...]

"If the president refuses to fund the troops, if the commander in chief refuses to pay the troops - and congressman Jim Moran in Virginia tells a voter who wants to know why the troops aren't being paid to shut up and sit down, and if these guys expect these troops to stay on the job, it sure sounds like Obama has more in common with President Jefferson Davis than he does with President Lincoln."

Seriously, that's what he said.

Though it's tempting to let the inanity of comments like these go without additional scrutiny, I'd just note for anyone who cares about the substance that (a) House Democrats offered several measures yesterday that would have funded the troops in the event of a shutdown, and Republicans rejected all of them; and (b) the surest way to make sure the military is funded is for intransigent House Republicans to take "yes" for an answer, avoid the shutdown, and move on.

As for Limbaugh's preoccupation with race, comparing President Obama to Jefferson Davis, and equating servicemen and women doing their duty during a shutdown with slaves, is insane, even by right-wing standards.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

limbaugh presuming to speak for u.s. troops in a war zone is the supreme irony, seeing as how he rode a boil on his ample backside to avoid service in vietnam.

Posted by: jim filyaw on April 8, 2011 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, I wonder if Rush realizes that he just unequivocally equated the Civil War with slavery, and not states rights.

Posted by: sue on April 8, 2011 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure the soldiers in the Confederate Army would have been surprised to learn they were slaves. Or is Rush saying Robert E. Lee commanded an all-black army?

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on April 8, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

We knew it was coming. Conservatives are nothing if not predictably reprehensible.

Posted by: June on April 8, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Rush is auditioning to replace Glenn Beck.

Posted by: Mudge on April 8, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "... the inanity of comments like these ..."

With all due respect, Steve, Limbaugh's comments are not "inane".

They are deliberate, vicious, reprehensible, despicable LIES.

I know you enjoy mocking right-wingers as "confused" or "unserious" or "inane".

But there are times when mockery is inappropriate -- when what is called for is outspoken, forthright condemnation of deliberate evil.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 8, 2011 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

These are the same people who compared Obama and Hitler because both gave eloquent speeches. They are not operating in a world where rationality and evidence matter. This is rage, in all its hideous stupidity.

Posted by: Raenelle on April 8, 2011 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yawn. Another day, another outrage.

Limbaugh is a bully. Bullies do what bullies do. They kick sand in your face until you stop them.

Somewhere along the way, and I don't know if it is out of personal cowardice or a political calculation to not be perceived as an "angry black man." But Obama clearly decided that he is not going to react to Republicans who kick sand in his face, particularly on racial issues.

Now, politicians have to have thick skin. And -- unlike Sarah Palin, who goes apeshit over every perceived slight on her or her family (see Letterman, David) -- it is important not to overreact to criticism. But it is also politically useful to let people know that there is a line that you cannot cross. Every once in a while, you need to get outraged and unleash your surrogates to counterattack your critic. Bush obviously did this to great effect on MoveOn regarding the Hitler video.

Posted by: square1 on April 8, 2011 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

"It's one thing to have to pick cotton...."

Jayzus, what a horrible human being.

Posted by: filkertom on April 8, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

@SecularAnimist

Don't take this the wrong way, but I love you.

I've said before, and will say again, one of the greatest weaknesses that we Progressives have is our habit of being too civil.

The Repugs don't have those standards. They will call us traitors, un-American (how often did we hear that between 2001-2009?), socialists and worse. They will lie (Kyl for one) and use the most atrocious language.

I understand that we on the Left do believe (generally) in raising the discourse and being polite, but right now we are in a fight verses plutocrats and oligarchs who don't have any scruples at all as far as I can tell.

There is nothing impolite about the truth. The truth is often cold, hard and it does not care at all if your feeling are hurt. Truth is truth, and lies are lies. If we don't call them out, who will?

Posted by: Mitch on April 8, 2011 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

yeah mitch. i agree with you. i think the time has come to stop being so nice, and just call these people out for who they really are. and if they whine and squeal, well, so be it.

it's time for hard ball. sorry.

Posted by: just bill on April 8, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

@square1 - Why would making the choice to not react to Republicans on racial issues be a matter of "personal cowardice." That whole paragraph of your post reeks, intentional or not. If you would like to have a better idea of why Obama has chosen as he has, read or re-read "Dreams from My Father," "The Audacity of Hope" and re-visit his prominent speech on race in America.

There was really no need to go there with the "personal cowardice" stuff.

Posted by: June on April 8, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it sure sounds like Limbaugh has more in common with a rutabega than he does with fucking leach.

At least the leach has some sort of a brain.

No,wait, I'm wrong - what they have in common is that they're both leaches.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 8, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think I just heard the statue of Jeff Davis on our capitol grounds say WTF?

Posted by: martin on April 8, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, there were over 65,000 slaves who served in the Confederate military, without any anal cysts. Some served as slaves, others served as regular soldiers. In fact, there were two all-Black units serving in the Jackson Brigade. Funny thing about pay. The Blacks serving in the Confederate Army received better pay than their counterparts who served under the Stars and Stripes. Often, slaves were brought in as cooks, but, many unit commanders saw their fighting worthiness and moved them into units which "Saw the Elephant", that is, at least 13,000 of them saw combat.

BTW, the Confederacy had the first Conscription laws enacted in the Civil War. Had Rush been a young man in Cape Girardieu, he could have displayed his anal cyst to escape that first conscription of April, 1862. No "Elephant" for Rush in that hour or any thereafter.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 8, 2011 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Beast needs to be fed, every day, and Rush profits from serving up red meat, however tainted.

-not too different from Steve's movable feast here at the PA Cafeteria, just better quality cooking. . .

( although some us us keep begging for more spice!)

Posted by: DAY on April 8, 2011 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rush's working theory is "if I say something stupid enough, people who disagree with me will write about it."

And yet, Steve, you wrote about it.

This is why conservatives, no matter how wrong they may be, continue to win the ideology game.

Posted by: Mike on April 8, 2011 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Limberger put a tad too much Oxycontin in his coffee this morning.

Posted by: ottercliff on April 8, 2011 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

FYI, having seen the actual video from the town hall last night, Jim Moran (my congressman) only told the wingnut to sit down after he responded to his initial idiotic question by saying that he didn't care for his caustic tone, at which point the wingnut interrupted and complained that he didn't like his tone being described as caustic, and wouldn't stop interrupting when Moran said "you had your turn to talk, now I'm going to talk."

The town hall was to inform federal workers and others dependent on the federal government (of whom there are a lot in the district) about what to expect and what help they could get, not for wingnuts to vent about "why are you here and not up there making a deal?" (Because all 435 members of Congress don't personally negotiate the budget, idiot.)

Posted by: Redshift on April 8, 2011 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

With Beck on the way back to the funny farm Limbaugh reigns unopposed as America's biggest jackass.

Posted by: max on April 8, 2011 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

1. Who the hell listens to this blowhard?
2. Who has shown himself to not support the troops?

Posted by: goterpsgo on April 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, there were over 65,000 slaves who served in the Confederate military, without any anal cysts. Some served as slaves, others served as regular soldiers. In fact, there were two all-Black units serving in the Jackson Brigade.

This is entirely false. No reputable historian believes this. It is a fabrication created by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a book by their "historian."

Posted by: Redshift on April 8, 2011 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

We would do so well to turn away from the hater named Limbaugh!

His mind is but a cancerous boil at the tailbone of our body politik! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 8, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I was wondering when and how he was going to try for headlines once again; it's been pretty quiet over in limbaughland for a while.

Posted by: jjm on April 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I really wish the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would sit down and demand to go home
That would make a huge difference in the beficit.

Posted by: Petie on April 8, 2011 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Redshift, historians may disagree and I could care less for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans or any other Southern post-civil war group, but, Rush was trying to say by not paying our troops, Obama was treating them as a slave unit such as Jeff Davis's rebs. The Rebs were paid. The total amount of slaves in the Confederate military, were a small portion of the total number of Rebel troops. For someone, such as Rush, to say this after growing up in a former Southern enclave that glories in their Rebel past, is ludicrous.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 8, 2011 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

"This is why conservatives, no matter how wrong they may be, continue to win the ideology game."


Liberals spent years ignoring everything Limbaugh said. How did that work out?

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on April 8, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

@June: I am not a mind reader and don't pretend to be one. I don't know why Obama lets people kick sand in his face. It might be a calculated decision. Or he might just be weak.

But, whatever the reason, his failure only emboldens his enemies. That is only human nature. I am simply pointing it out.

Unfortunately, Obama has let this go on WAY too long. Pretty soon, if someone says something insulting and you don't act insulted then they are going to start assuming that there is some truth to the attacks. This happened to the Clintons. The GOP started saying horrible stuff about them and Vince Foster. The Clintons didn't react. Pretty soon it was acceptable to openly hint that the Clintons had Foster murdered. My guess is that if Bill Clinton had initially let loose a well-timed "Vince Foster was a close friend of mine that tragically committed suicide. It is outrageous that the very people who drove himself to despair are now, SHAMELESSLY, trying to score political points with CRAZY conspiracy theories. Every journalist who humors these people should be ashamed." Instead, the Clintons just played rope-a-dope.

The White House should have gone postal on Donald Trump for raising the birther issue again. If I was Barack Obama, I would be like "The state of Hawaii says I was born there. But more importantly, my mother said I was born there. Is Donald Trump calling my mother a liar?"

It is insulting to have someone question your citizenship. Start acting insulted.

Posted by: square1 on April 8, 2011 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

"The state of Hawaii says I was born there. But more importantly, my mother said I was born there. Is Donald Trump calling my mother a liar?"

THAT would be the most beautiful thing to come out of Obama's mouth since 2008. I am being brought to tears by the mental image of it. It will never happen, but by God it would be heavenly.

Posted by: Mitch on April 8, 2011 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Truly brave military men and women die in conflict zones, both liberals and conservatives, while getting paid less than third of what Rush Limbaugh makes to keep the homeland they died for in a continual state of confusion and misinformation under the guise of "entertainment".

Obama by far is not the only one who needs to speak out loud and long.

Posted by: Skip on April 8, 2011 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK
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