Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Voice and Face of The GOP: Rush Limbaugh

You won't believe what Rush Limbaugh just said. He accused President
Obama of intentionally trying to wreck the economy, saying that Obama
wants to put more people on welfare and food stamps, and implying that
he wants to redistribute the country's wealth to Black people.[1]

This is not just an ugly attack on President Obama from Rush Limbaugh
-- these are words from the man who is being held up as the face of
the Republican Party. Virtually no Republican leaders have been
willing to denounce his divisive rhetoric, or even disagree with
him.[2] Instead, they say he's an important part of their party, and a
friend.

When Republican leaders refuse to denounce this kind of race-baiting
from someone they call a leader, the message they send is that they
embrace it. It's time to force Republican officials to say where they
stand.

Here's what Rush said about President Obama's economic policies:

"The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp
benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective
is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the
nation's wealth and return to it to the nation's quote, "rightful
owners." Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want
to understand what actually is going on."[3]

It's a direct appeal to racial fear and paranoia, and it's deeply
insulting to the President, to Black people, and to anyone who cares
about the future of this country. We've seen this kind of thing from
Rush before.[4,5] But now, Republican politicians are refusing to
denounce what he says, or even disagree with him. When they do, they
usually take it back the next day, begging Rush to forgive them.[6]

Colin Powell is perhaps the only prominent Republican who has
consistently stood up to Limbaugh and urged other Republicans to turn
away from his divisive rhetoric. Powell recently said this: "I think
what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or
inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be
better to do without."[7]

The response from Limbaugh and other Republicans? Rush repeated an old
attack on Powell, accusing him of supporting Obama during the election
solely based on race.[8] Meanwhile, Dick Cheney took to the airwaves
to attack Powell and make it clear that he stands with Rush Limbaugh
when it comes to the future of the Republican Party.[9]

Rush speaks. Republicans in government do the work.

You might think Rush and Cheney merely represent the party's extremes,
but that misses the larger context. The Republican Party has made it
clear that they don't want Obama to succeed--even if it means further
damage to the economy and to the lives of everyday Americans. It's
evident in the 'no' votes Republican members of Congress cast against
Obama's budget, the refusal of Republican governors to allow stimulus
dollars to flow into their states, and their leadership's refusal to
denounce the rhetoric coming from Rush and others. Rush has said
clearly that he wants Obama to fail, and Republican elected officials
have been clear in their actions.

Please join me in demanding that Republican leaders say publicly where
they stand. Do they reject Rush Limbaugh's divisive fear-mongering, or
do they stand with him? If they refuse to denounce what Rush said,
they'll be making it perfectly clear what the Republican Party stands
for.


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References

1. "Rush Limbaugh: 'The Niggers Are Coming for Their Reparations!'"
Jack and Jill Politics, 05-13-09
http://tinyurl.com/oy9x6g

2. "The Man Who Ate the G.O.P." Vanity Fair, May 2009
http://tinyurl.com/dljy8x

3. See reference 1.

4. "Limbaugh on Obama: 'Halfrican American'," Media Matters, 01-24-07
http://mediamatters.org/research/200701240010

5. The Today Show, NBC News, 05-21-07
http://tinyurl.com/okdvhf

6. "Forgive Me Rush, For I have Sinned," Talking Points Memo,
http://tinyurl.com/cmtxkx

7. "Cheney backs Limbaugh over Powell on GOP future," Associated
Press, 05-10-09
http://tinyurl.com/oloatk

8. See reference 7.

9. See reference 7.

1 comment:

TenFeet2Hands said...

I enjoyed reading your opinion piece and found little to criticize--good job!

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