Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Is Their Specialty

Who would ever indulge in racial stereotyping while claiming it of his political enemies? Who would give voice to his characteristic, nearly unsurpassed racial bigotry while pretending it's coming from the opposition?

Why, if it's Main Street Liberal, it must be Rush Limbaugh (but not him alone). While Herman Cain was yet again changing his story on whether he had been told how many women had accused him of sexual harassment and whether he had any clue of a settlement, Rush was busy going on the offensive. He could have waited for the facts before exonerating Cain of any wrongdoing, but then, he wouldn't be the Blowhard of Bigotry. Accordingly, he remarked

What's next, folks? A cartoon on MSNBC showing Herman Cain with huge lips eating a watermelon? What are they gonna do next? No, Snerdley, I'm not kidding. The racial stereotypes that these people are using to go after Herman Cain, what is the one thing that it tells us? It tells us who the real racists are, yeah, but it tells us that Herman Cain is somebody. Something's going on out there. Herman Cain obviously is making some people nervous for this kind of thing to happen.

But, alas, Limbaugh is not the only right-wing Republican talk show host charging racism without knowing the facts. Reporting on reactions to its story, Politico quotes Laura Ingraham, law clerk to Clarence Thomas in the 1990s, commenting on her radio gig

Doesn’t all this sound familiar? A black man who thinks for himself, who ends up surprising everyone, including the establishment, who ends up a point ahead of the guy who has raised millions and millions and millions of dollars, and has been running for president for the last five, six years. This upstart guy ends up a point ahead of Romney in Iowa…He needs to be put in his place, a lot of people think. Time to put this man in, hate to say it, the back of the bus.

The real analogy is Ingraham to Limbaugh. For Rush, it's implying the left will be putting lips on a watermelon to depict the black candidate; for Ingraham, it's inferring that someone wants to put Cain in "the back of the bus." Neither has evidence of the charges they clearly imply, but have not the courage to make directly. And both partisans were more than happy to spread racial stereotypes (or in Ingraham's case, an item apparently on her racial wish list) and project them onto others.

Politico assumes that Ingraham was attempting to draw a parallel to Thomas, though she oddly implies, however unintentionally, that Thomas once ran for President ("ends up a point ahead of the guy who has raised millions and millions and millions of dollars and has been running for president"). Even odder might be her failure to realize that overwhelming evidence now demonstrates there is little doubt that Clarence Thomas lied when he defended himself before Congress against charges that he sexually harassed Anita Hill.

But then, the only people who really know what happened at the National Restaurant Association are those who were there- the accusers, Herman Cain, Rush Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham.

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