Rush Limbaugh, Race Baiter

I have to say, I try to keep my expectations for political personalities on the radio and television low. But this is pretty appalling:

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. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

Let me get this straight, according to Rush: 1) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for white kids getting beat up on school busses. 2) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for people cheering while white kids get beat up on school busses; 3) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for the idea that white kids are all racists and deserve to get beat up on school busses; and 4) Somehow there is a connection to be drawn here to Joe Wilson’s intemperate outburst during Obama’s speach the other night.

How do people listen to this stuff?

H/T: The American Scene

Update: Re-reading the transcript again, I still think Rush is race-baiting, although not in the sense my comments above suggest. I don’t think Rush was actually intending to make a direct comment on Obama, much less about busses and school children. Rather, he was engaging in a caricature of lefty  outrage over various political and racial issues (e.g. Jimmy Carter’s recent remarks) . I think this type of caricature is irresponsible and foments racial tensions, even if Rush’s intention was just to foment partisan outrage. Race is a highly charged issue with good reason given our country’s history, and the risks of misinterpretation are very high. Accordingly, I think it is irresponsible and, in some sense, race-baiting, to belittle these concerns and treat them as if they were trivial. While I don’t want to be humorless or disingenuous, I agree with Megan McArdle that 1) if so many missed it, it’s not a very good satire; 2) what Rush is actually doing is quite bad enough.

Also, for those interested, Michael Iafrate thinks that many of the commenters in this thread are racists. I have not allowed his comments to come through because I do not think they will lead to a productive discussion here, and I will delete any comments that respond to Michael’s accusation. If you would like to discuss these issues with Michael, he blogs at Vox Nova and Catholic Anarchy.

65 Responses to Rush Limbaugh, Race Baiter

  1. John Henry says:

    Thanks Don. Additionally, the link is embedded in the post on the word ‘this’.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Oops! Sorry John Henry, I didn’t notice. Perhaps Rush could have ex-President Carter on his show, since Carter appears to believe that the motivating factor regarding opposition to Obama is race.

    To its credit,the Obama administration wasted no time in denouncing the peanut farmer.

  3. Phillip says:

    Race baiting? Maybe just learning from Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Maxine Walters….

    This may be race baiting, but it is unfortunately part of our culture.

  4. Michael says:

    I hope Mr. Limbaugh’s comments were sarcastic.

  5. Phillip says:

    Given Mr. Limbaugh’s personality they may very well have been. Now its another thing for Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters…

  6. Donald R. McClarey says:

    One of the mottoes of Rush is illustrating absurdity by being absurd. I find some of his comments objectionable, but I think most of it was a riff on the latest mantra of the left that opposition to Obama is racist.

  7. Tito Edwards says:

    I believe Rush was making a point, but I don’t listen to Rush so it’s difficult to analyze from a distance.

    I’m with Phillip and Donald on this, it’s probably sarcasm.

  8. John Henry says:

    I don’t see it. Other parts of the transcript are clearly devoted to mocking people like Carter who claim that any criticism of the Obama administration is really about race.

    But that part of the transcript seems to be devoted to expressing a grievance. Maybe Rush is engaging in some sort of meta-level satire, arguing that if Republicans thought like Democrats, that rant is the type of crazy thing they would be saying….but I don’t think so.

  9. I read Rod Dreher’s piece on this earlier in the day (why I can’t recall, I normally never read Dreher.)

    Certainly, it strikes me as a dumb thing to say — if only because conservatives have got to realize that they’re (often unfairly) under a microscope in regards to potential charges of racism right now.

    Clearly, it would be totally inaccurate to say this incident represented “Obama’s America” in the sense that Obama somehow wants black kids to beat up white kids on a school bus. I’m sure that if Obama had been there, he would have acted like any responsible adult by stepping in and stopping things.

    Reading the linked Limbaugh page (which to be honest is kind of hard — talk radio comes off as very stream of consciousness when written down) it sounds to me like he’s not so much trying to do that as evoke a feeling that this is the result of the constant labelling of vast sections of the US as racist. And after all, if they’re racists, maybe they need a good beating to get them in line.

    Now, I do think that the increasing tendency of leftists to label vast regions and demographic groups as all being evil, racist hicks is surely increasing the level of hatred and tension in our country. But I’ll agree it’s unfair to imply a direct causality between the left’s attempt to paint everyone who disagrees with them as a racist and a bunch of stupid high schoolers who decide to beat someone up in front of a video camera.

    So I don’t think Limbaugh’s remarks are accurate or warranted, but at the same time, I have to admit I have a time being nearly as troubled by them as Dreher is.

  10. paul zummo says:

    I was unsurprised to go to the link and see who wrote that post. Conor has a tendency to distort what guys like Levin and Limbaugh say to serve his own ends, and this is pretty much par for the course. I actually was listening at the time and, yes, this was Rush’s usual method of demonstrating the absurdity of race baiters like Carter and Jackson by being absurd himself.

  11. restrainedradical says:

    I listened to the audio. Rush’s point was that in Obama’s America (i.e., the America that he is trying to create) whites are always to blame because they’re all racists. Rush says he wonders if Obama will come to the defense of the black students. His point is that Obama hates white people. [sarcasm] But nice to see so many people coming to Rush’s defense. [/sarcasm]

  12. Art Varga says:

    Relax only 1221 days left or sooner if the birth cert turns up.

  13. Dminor says:

    John Henry,

    The following may help to put Limbaugh’s hyperbole into context – a battering of Newsweek and the race-card argument:

    I think this post and the comments indicate how effective (or not) he was in communicating.

  14. Tito Edwards says:

    So sarcasm it was, just as I thought.

  15. John Henry says:

    Um, either way I’d argue it was ill-advised and inflammatory. His use of the Newsweek article was a complete distortion of the article; and all this talk about “Obama’s America” has no relation as far as I can see to kids on school busses. What possible good can come from this type of nonsense?

  16. Joe Hargrave says:

    I second John Henry.

  17. Tito Edwards says:

    John Henry,

    Absolutely agree.

    It was sophomoric and unproductive.

  18. TomSVDP says:

    Rush is working overtime, maybe he came up with a lemon in that speech which I did hear. Perhaps some sarcasm in there. I don’t always agree with what Rush said. I know today he was calling Jimmy Carter something like a National hemmorhoid and I’d find that more objectionable, I really do. Maybe some sort of put down is okay but that is a bit overboard especially when essentially, he is going after all of them, Teddy, Byrd, Obama, Frank, Carter and should do better than Letterman going after Palin, etc. That’s what he gets for doing a radio show 15/20 hours a week. If he’d stayed to a more “conservative” discourse, he might have done better.

    Still, with all public discourse, some of these things are part of a vicious circle. I read the Huffington Post quote on the murder of Poullion and yes, they were disrespectful. A lot of disrespect was shown to Kennedy really. These things feed on each other. Keep the conversation civil. Still, Rush probably sees and understands those in power are running roughshod over us and can we trust them? With what has been going on with Acorn, etc.?

  19. Tito Edwards says:

    Where is the condemnation of the beating that kid took?

    I found the video and I found it disgusting!

    I could see why Rush was upset, though his commentary was uncalled for.

  20. TomSVDP says:

    Rush mentioned and does anyone remember this?? It is foggy in my mind but wasn’t their a bit of an event when Hillary ran versus Obama and former Pres. Bill Clinton, something went on where racism was mentioned, not sure if Bill Clinton was called racist or what but see, there was some sort of bruhaha with these people in the past. That was worth mentioning. Rush’s point being, something like well, even Bill C. was called a racist or something, it’s too late to look up the exact incident. Maybe Rush should do like Savage does, at least here and replay the same hour recording sometimes of course, that might not be popular with a show as big as his.

  21. TomSVDP says:

    Rush makes good points to isolate a minute’s worth of dialog you know. He made other good points, that is why he is so good, he hits the nail on the head.

    Like how about what he said today, that the Illegal Alien (Hispanic type) lobby is now upset that the “coverage” of the bill was being taken out?? Some kinds of rumblings like that. Wilson said “you lie”, then the Democrats keep on saying death panel and illegal alien coverage is not in the bill. And now, this lobby is upset that the bill is being reworded so the Illegals can not get the health insurance through citizenship verification??

  22. Fr Charlie says:

    First of all, the attack on the bus was evil and while Rush has a point, he picked the wrong incident to make it. My take is that for centuries Blacks in America have been seething with (justifiable) anger. The election of a Black president is bound to unleash some pretty reprehensible and bizarre behavior (ie Rep B. Waters wanting to criminalize racism. Yikes!!)

  23. afl says:

    The sad part of all this is any attack as shown on UTube like this regardless of race, gender, belief, etc is totally wrong and should be not be tolerated or accepted by anyone. Why we continue to use race when viewing wrongful acts or calling something racist is wrong and will never be right. They can not continue to be two standards.

  24. American Knight says:

    Racism is a real problem but it is a more powerful political tool so it will be kept alive by a very tiny minority of actual racists and by a large majority of our elected idiots becuase it is politically expedient.

    In truth, racism is diabolical. It is a clear attack on unity. Racism used becuase of actual racism or just politics is a war tactic, divide and conquer. We should not stand for it. There is one standard for behavior and it has nothing to do with race even though all ten points of it were delivered by one of them Jews.

  25. Brian says:

    I actually appreciate your willingness to criticize Limbaugh.

  26. Elaine Krewer says:

    Also, in relation to this particular incident in Belleville, Ill. I understand the police chief himself said it was NOT racially motivated, plus, other black youths on the bus tried to STOP the attack.

    This is a perfect example of why I can no longer stand to listen to Rush even though I used to listen to his show years ago. His “demonstrating absurdity by being absurd” shtick only goes so far.

  27. Phillip says:

    There there are these published words of a prominent politician:

    “Should you refuse this defeat and lash out at your captors, they would have a name for that, too, a name that could cage you just as good. Paranoid. Militant. Violent. N—–.”

    “Any distinction between good and bad whites held negligible meaning.”

    And the same author on how Malcolm X’s autobiography “spoke” to him. One line in particular “stayed with me,” he says. “He spoke of a wish he’d once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged.”

  28. Yeah, I mean, let me be clear: I don’t enjoy Rush and I don’t listen to him, because while I can kind of see a lot of the points he’s trying to make, I don’t think the daily grist mill of absurdity and argument is really all that good thing a listen to very often. (Certainly, not for me.) So it’s not so much that I’m saying Rush is right to have said what he did — it’s certainly not what I would say — it’s just that I think the “Rush says it’s Obama’s fault that black kids are beating up white kids and that’s incredibly wicked of him” take that Dreher and a couple other commentators had is off base.

    I’d rate Rush as having made a stupid exaggeration, but not a wicked accusation.

  29. Phillip says:

    I will say that I do listen to him on occasion. I find him right on sometimes, over the top others and flat out wrong sometimes. I use my judgement to decide which case he falls into. Sort of like reading blogs.

    And so one judges politicians. The above quotes I post I would argue are not over the top hyperbole but flat out wrong racism.

  30. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I usually listen to Rush while I am driving to and from courthouses. Usually I agree with him, sometimes I do not. I often find him entertaining. I have always admired the steadfastness of his fight against abortion on his show. He is correct that one of the major motivating factors of RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) in the GOP is their support for abortion.

  31. Aside from immigration, I often found myself agreeing with many of Rush’s positions, I just burned out on the political talk radio genre and approach — back when I had a 50 mile each way commute in California. I’ll grant that of the major talk show personalities, he’s probably one of the best ones. I much prefered him to Hannity or O’Reilly or Ingram. But after a while, I just couldn’t see a whole lot of point to talk radio — I guess around the same time I stopped watching news on TV. Too much air time to fill, and too much harping whatever the issue of that day is.

    I think what I like about blogging by comparison is that most bloggers don’t limit themselves to whatever the news of the day is. You get anything from political theory, to a profile of a historical event or person, to news headlines, to general life and commentary.

  32. TomSVDP says:

    Someone mentioned Belleville Illinois as the scene of the fight, that must be a suburb of St. Louis, I don’t know but this is close to Rush’s backyard.

    But places like East St. Louis have horrendous crime rates. I myself would leave the conversation alone.

    He by the way, did have a black caller yesterday who was all upset by Obama’s acts, the unemployment rate and national debt. You know, if one has friends that are African Americans truly and supposedly, Rush’s sidekick is, the guy named Snerdley, it would be hard for me to go off on a tangent like he did. If the roles were reversed or involving other minorities, we would not want to have the same as well.

    So, yes, in a way, Rush does get in a mode of blame it all on Obama and the democrats. I guess he has such a stockpile of goodwill that for me, if this is a faux pas, it won’t mean much.

    The songs are good satire, I know in recent years, they have done take offs on “American Pie”, “The Weight” and others.

    I do believe in helping out the poor immigrant per the view of the Catholic Church. One also doesn’t want to kill the goose that layed the golden egg.

  33. c matt says:

    I don’t necessarily think he meant to blame it on Obama directly. By “Obama’s America”, I interpret him to mean in a society that would elect someone such as Obama – one that is according to Rush anti-white. Although the use of the possessive does make this interpretation somewhat probelmatic.

  34. Moe says:

    I agree with Fr. Charlie. Just half a century ago, there were water fountains for “colored only;” coloreds used the dirty, old escalators at the rear of buildings and entered buildings via back doors only, they sat only at the rear of the bus, there were “white only” movie theaters, public swimming pools, drive-in restaurants, churches, schools. It really was horrid. So why wouldn’t there be rage in some of the black population? The school bus incident in Belleville, Illinois was indeed labeled a racial attack initially. Only after the incident intensified in the news was it downgraded to “bullying.” This rage has been stoked by clever manipulators for greedy purposes for a long time and has erupted into chaos. Think ACORN.

  35. American Knight says:

    Being oppressed is no reason to be ‘angry’. The persecuting Romans gave early Christians plenty of reasons to be ‘angry’, yet the Christians were recognized by how they loved not their anger.

    Most black people in America are Christian. That means, if they are true to their faith, they belong to Christ before they belong to a racial identity.

    Has America been institutionally racist in the past? Of course she has, who in their right mind would ignore that fact? Are some Americans racist today? Yes — and some of them are white too! But the country is NOT racist. We have corrected the errors of the past. We stand for liberty and justice for all.

    Rush is usually correct, but I wonder which one of us filling 4 hours of daily airtime won’t be caught saying something wrong, offensive or simply out of context? Hmm . . . I remember learning something about casting the first stone.

    We really need to get beyond this race thing. I am so sick of it being used as a fund raising, attention getting, dividing tactic. I also find this hair-trigger retort of racist as a terrible distraction and overshadowing of ACTUAL incidents of racism. Furthermore, what the heck does it matter the reason anyone is mistreated? Does it make a difference if one commits murder because the victim is of a different race, had some money, stepped on my toe, or whatever — isn’t the crime of murder the actual problem?

    Bullying is the same. If one is bullied because he’s white, or gay, or black, or small, or restrainedradical — what difference does it make? Bullying is the crime PERIOD.

    The commandment is DO NOT KILL and in light of Christ DO NOT BE ANGRY, etc.

    Let’s get off this race thing. It is a branch not the root. Racism is a symptom not the disease.

    Keep in mind that the only form of discrimination that is accepted publicly today is discrimination against Christians, especially Catholics — no matter what color or sex or national origin or age or handicap they have.

  36. TomSVDP says:

    My last name is Slavic, Slavs were Slaves!

    I will make sure I maintain the rights to have grudges and gripes against everyone.

  37. Phillip says:


    The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and conducted the Bataan Death March. We should be very angry with them. Perhaps it even justified the Bomb. Or maybe not.

  38. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Being part Cherokee I am still waiting for a formal apology from the US. That, and a mansion in Georgia, will allow me to lay down my ancestral grievances. 🙂

  39. Phillip says:

    Ah! You are a Southerner.

  40. Moe says:

    My point, gentlemen, is that our tragic history of racial enmity is continuing to be stoked by manipulators over racial indignities that blacks endured and feel that they are continuing to endure. In enumerating the injustices we perpetrated on the colored, I was attempting to remind us, me included, of these injustices and to elicit a particle of empathy, but it is quite obvious that I failed. I’m part Cherokee too. If the government mandated that my employer hire a certain percentage of Cherokee Indians, perhaps, I too, would feel obligated to harbor rage and have the luxury of wallowing in the injustices that my ancestors endured in the Trail of Tears.

  41. Phillip says:

    My empathy does not extend to saying rage for past offenses is justified. Particuarly if such rage results in further injustices.

  42. Phillip says:

    But perhaps my empathy is limited by my being part Yaqui – the only Mexican Indian tribe not conquered by the Spanish. You Cherokees are too easy to beat it seems.

  43. Moe says:

    The Yaqui endured their share of injustice and brutality, also. I googled and read where 150 Yaqui were burned inside a church in 1868. Others were sold as slaves.

  44. Phillip says:

    Yes. By Mexicans alas and not Spanish. As indians killed and enslaved other indians. So I should rage. Right?

  45. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “You Cherokees are too easy to beat it seems.”

    Depends upon the Cherokee. Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender during the Civil War. Of course by that time my Cherokee ancestors had already become yankees in Illinois.

  46. afl says:

    Where does this stop. Now Mrs Pelosi is equating the people who are against the health bills to those who were anti gay in 1970’s San Francisco that cause the murder of their Mayor. etal…I do not care what color, creed, status, etc. if one disagrees with another they have the right to free speech, but I agree they can use a civil tone. Here is another politician trying to evoke another response by her rhetoric and use her wiles for political gain. This so called pseudo Catholic is a disgrace.

  47. Tito Edwards says:

    Hey I’m part Cherokee too!

    Maybe we should change the name of the website to Cherokee Catholic!

  48. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Nah Tito, the “palefaces” among us would feel left out! 🙂

  49. TomSVDP says:

    In the past few years dealing to the best of my recollection, Denmark apologized for an invasion by the Vikings against the UK.

    This was a famous raid, I believe it is one where some Monks were killed on Scottish territory I believe. That raid also happened around the year 1000.

    I mean, how far do we take things? And apologies, this is now way off of the topic of Rush. But so it goes.

  50. Moe says:

    Is it a perceived insufficiency of an apology, or political correctness that is a large part of the problem? A study at Northwestern University showed that whites will tend to avoid blacks out of fear and anxiety over appearing racist. The study concluded that political correctness was making things worse. There’s been two instances in the media where blacks have taken offense at the word, “niggardly”, when, in fact, it has no relationship to the other similar-sounding word. We can’t say “black hole” for fear of offending the sensitivities of some. It just goes on and on ad nauseum.

  51. TomSVDP says:

    I know Moe, if one listened to Rush today, you’d think he folowed this conversation, Honestly though that sounds farfetched OR, he simply addressed this situation again.

    Belleville Illinois mentioned in it?? Yes.

    Called St. Louis his home?? It sounded like he did. Now, he worked for the Kansas City Royals from what I think I’ve heard, so I don’t know where Cape Girardeau is.

    Anyway, I thought he elaborated on it too much, not a big deal.

  52. Harold says:

    Let’s be perfectly clear. Rush’s intent and purpose as a bloviating bigot is to arouse the basest inclinations of the masses. His sweeping generalizations and ad hominum attacks on the president have racist undertones which he exploits at every opportunity.

    I was wondering if Rush was still on the drugs and therefore not responsible for his comments.

  53. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Harold, I guess your concern for civility does not entend to those who propound views you disagree with does it?

  54. Mark Baird says:

    I find all of conflict or car-chase media objectionable as I do with MSM. Anyone that only listens to Rush or does not insist on hearing two points of views all the time are self-indoctrinating kool-aid drinkers. They are no better then those they complain about on the left or in MSM.

    I will never listen to others that will claim the other side is evil and we are not.

  55. Mark Baird says:

    What is the difference between talk radio and a radical muslim cleric standing on a corner yelling and controlling the conversation? What would you tell a young Muslim boy attending a west Pakistan madras hearing rhetoric every day that the Great Satan is destroying all that is good in the world? Is this not what we are doing to ourselves in this country?

  56. Phillip says:

    If the talk radio host is mocking and the imam is serious, a world of difference.

  57. TomSVDP says:

    Harold: Let us be clear as well, in what you say, then in turn, the episode with the Cambridge police, going to Reverend Wright’s church, some Czar appointments, connections with Bill Ayers likewise would put the Democratic side very much in question as well as to regards to racism and other issues, wouldn’t it?? I’d like to see the side run by satire at the same time and then see if we’d be calling it that. This Maher fellow and his reporting on the Drudge Report recently?? And no matter how often I read the Drudge I did not see the exact banner headline or caption to a story that he was quoting from. It makes me wonder. Anyone?? Maher said Drudge used a short for “negatives” and that could be construed in a racist way.

  58. Matt McDonald says:


    I will never listen to others that will claim the other side is evil and we are not.

    so no side can be considered evil in your mind?

  59. TomSVDP says:

    Respectfully and in fair-play, since this has been updated, I see now, there is a video calling into question as to whether what Obama said in 1995 is race-baiting. My computer has a slow download, so we can leave it to others, to question if this merits being called “race baiting” as well. It did not take long. I do see an angle but I’m not sure how strong it is.

    2 wrongs don’t make a right.

  60. Mark Baird says:

    “so no side can be considered evil in your mind?”

    “Evil” is a very strong word. I reserve that for truly evil people. If people are claiming that one side is infected with a false conscience or evil and are going to “destroy” all that is good and then they claim that they are the true saviors of the world, then no I will not listen to them.

    Seen it to many times in history. Osama Bin Laden talks about the great satan and that he will save the world. Then we have the religious right that believes us seculars are destroying all that is good and that the religious right or Christian Nationalist will save this great country.

    I will not fall for such BS from the left or the right.

    When we start to fear the future as we do now we all grab hold of the strongest tree, the tree with the strongest roots, our faith and ethnicity. We then start to blame the problems of the world on “others” and herd up like animals.

    Does that sound all to familiar across the world and in this country?

  61. Mark Baird says:

    “If the talk radio host is mocking and the imam is serious, a world of difference.”

    And you see “mocking” as a quality to be respected by anyone. I suppose an imam could tell everyone that he is an entertainer.

    I see no difference. I see two men that have anger and hate and they are speaking to individuals that are not interested in the opinions of others.

    Neither are interested in the truth, only their own egos. And those that solely listen to Rush or conservative or liberal media are no different then a young Muslim man that hangs on every world of the Imam and does not seak to broaden their knowledge of the world. I see no difference.

    This type of discourse does this country no good.

    I would rather be a positive force for change then a negative force for change. Being angry and negative only takes away from the moment and all the wonderful diversity that is to be found in this world. I live for the moment, I do not fear the future, nor look back as to many do. I do not have time for people like Rush, they are a waste of energy.

  62. TomSVDP says:

    Mark Baird: What you don’t like is reflected in your own belief system, “the richness of diversity” vs. the Americanism of Rush, Secularism vs. Christianity, etc.

  63. Phillip says:

    Actually mocking is a valid form of rhethoric. I have no proplem with it whatsoever especially when some are so easily using the racism card. That’s the real hate.

  64. […] all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives. – Rush Limbaugh, Sept. 15, […]

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