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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama Race Baiting

Rush Limbaugh, who I'm no fan of, has accused Barack Obama of race baiting ,(link to WSJ article) with hispanic voters the target of some vicious, and absolutely contrived comments.

What Obama's campaign has done is take one and two second snipets out of longer comments by Limbaugh to make them sound very anti-hispanic, and then linked (here's the punch line) John McCain to Limbaugh through these.

First the punchline. Anyone with half a brain, who's listened to Rush in the last 6 months knows that off nearly all the possible GOP candidates, McCain is the one he hates. He's spent time equating voting for McCain to voting for Hillary Clinton, saying we'll get the same goverment. So the idea that McCain is some huge, Limbaugh fan, linked to everything he says is, well, a joke.

Now to the ads themselves. As Rush says in his editorial piece on the Wall St. Journal (linked above) the ads are both deceptive, and truly race baiting. Here's the narrative of one of them:

"They want us to forget the insults we've put up with . . . the intolerance . . . they made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much."

Then the commercial flashes two quotes from me: ". . . stupid and unskilled Mexicans" and "You shut your mouth or you get out!"

And then a voice says, "John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote . . . and another, even worse, that continues the policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families. John McCain . . . more of the same old Republican tricks."


Now, both quotes, "Stupid unskilled Mexican's" and "You shut your mouth or you get out" sound pretty bad. Actually, when taken in context, which Obama didn't do, they aren't. One (unskilled) was from 1993 when Limbaugh was railing about NAFTA opponents, and turning their arguement back on them, specifically that the loss of low skill jobs here was okay, because we'd have better one's:
"If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs Nafta is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."

Limbaugh wasn't calling Mexican's stupid and unskilled, he was mocking the folks who argued that the only jobs that would leave were the one's that would be filled by stupid unskilled people, so NAFTA would be okay. If anything, considering their rhetoric about NAFTA this year, the Obama folks should be embracing Limbaugh's 1993 rants about the agreement.

The "Shut Up" comment, though, is even more telling of Obama's race baiting. It had nothing to do with hispanic immigrants in the US. It was, instead, about the Mexican immigration laws, and their government's hypocrisy about immigration.

As for the second sound bite, I was mocking the Mexican government's double standard -- i.e., urging open borders in this country while imposing draconian immigration requirements within its own borders. Thus, I took the restrictions Mexico imposes on immigrants and appropriated them as my own suggestions for a
new immigration law.

Here's the context for that sound bite: "And another thing: You don't have the right to protest. You're allowed no demonstrations, no foreign flag waving, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. You're a foreigner: shut your mouth or get out! And if you come here illegally, you're going to jail."


To take it farther, while the Mexican goverment is looking for full rights for it's citizens who move north, moving south is nearly impossible, unless you are rich and can buy a large business. Even then, their goverment restricts property rights, voting rights, and the other things Limbaugh railed about.

Taken in context, it's obvious that Limbaugh isn't making charges or talking down to mexican immigrants, he's talking about the hypocrisy of their government, and the laughability of the NAFTA arguements.

As much as I hate it I have to agree with Limbaugh, that to take the comments in the context that Obama's camp has is nothing less than a full out race baiting attack designed to attract hispanic voters.

These are definitely not the politics of hope, and the politics of change. Instead Obama is practicing the politics of fear and lies at it's lowest level.

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