who’s “behind” the ‘Magic Negro’ controversy?
I don’t know why this is, perhaps a character failing of mine: but that which seems so blatantly obvious to me ofttimes seems utterly opaque to those for whom I write.
This isn’t any slam on you, Dear Reader. I have always been cursed with this strange brain that sees a line of dominoes and instantly leaps down the Implication Steps, less a Slinky® than a kangaroo. So, perhaps I’d better be less opaque:
“Barack the Magic Negro” was created by Rush Limbaugh (see yesterday), and was, weirdly, given a free pass while Don Imus was being given a good old fashioned media feeding-frenzy “high tech lynching.”
Even at the time, if anyone actually READ the LA Times piece that Rush was using as cover for his racist rap, the rationalization was tissue-thin. So much so that when he began singing the tune to the melody of “Puff the Magic Dragon” internal evidence suggests that his person in the booth was waving wildly and gesticulating: NO! DON’T GO THERE!
She “got” it.
Instead, Rush bragged about how proud he was of himself.*
[* His ‘brilliant’ self — subject of so much self-loving over the years. There is, of course, a specialized term for “self loving” that more precisely captures the nature of Limbaugh’s self-congratulations, but this is a family column, today, and modesty forbids its inclusion in our narrative.]
What she “got” was the media firestorm that’s erupted because a Mike Huckabee operative, Chip Saltsman of Tennesssee, didn’t “get” it, either.
The obvious-to-a-five-year-old message was this: “Negro” sounds like “Nigger,” but we can’t say the latter. So let’s rationalize the former.
What’s the difference?
Damned if I know. Both are used with the same sleazy, racist vituperation.
I understand the firestorm. Damned straight.
But WHY aren’t we aiming the blame squarely where it belongs?
It is OBVIOUS to a blind fruitbat that the GOP is planning another four to eight years of the same sliming, the same “running out the clock” obstruction through hate and fake scandal that was used on Bill Clinton.
OK: We weren’t ready for that one.
But THIS time, we KNOW where this is going.
And, for the first time since he hefted his ample-and-cystedderriére into the saddle at KBFK in Sacramento, California, just after the death of the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1986, Rush Limbaugh is vulnerable, and entirely culpable.
This wasn’t the first racial trouble for Limbaugh, of course. Some may remember how he got kicked off of ESPN for his increasingly racist comments about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Here’s the audio of Limbaugh’s comments. Racist? Not a very tough call.
And what was the upshot? ESPN:
In the wake of his controversial statements regarding Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Rush Limbaugh has resigned from his position on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show…. (Thursday, October 2, 2003)
Well, take a cue from history: Limbaugh can’t weasel his way out of the charge, if anyone in the media bothers to notice that the “Magic Negro” slur begins (in the slur sense) with Limbaugh, and the rationalization comes straight from Limbaugh’s mouth through Chip Saltsman’s lips.
Mike Huckabee issues a statement saying that Chip Saltsman wouldn’t disparage anybody, SIGNIFICANTLY not in any wise condemning the “Magic” song, whatsoever.
Etcetera. The Song “writer” defends the song. The Rightie blogs launch into a defense. Prominent Republicans say they don’t seen anything wrong with the song, etc. etc. etc.
L to R — Limbaugh, grandfather, father c. 1972
But we are at a crossroads: is this the kickoff for four long years of racist trash talk from the professional haters, led by Limbaugh?
Or is this that Trent Lott moment when we say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
We can do the GOP a great favor. Moderate Republicans (who have been very lonely in the GOP for a long time, now) have the opportunity to return to their roots, or the Lovers of Southern Confederacy who have taken over the party can continue on just as we’ve seen them before.
This is the moment to justly make Limbaugh radioactive to that party, or else make them ‘fess up that they are a bunch of selfish racists, whose whole philosophy is geared to alpha white males, and everyone else be damned.
I’m not telling you anything new here. It seems too obvious to mention, if one thinks about such things, as most of the blogosphere alleges that it does.
But, if we give Limbaugh a pass this time, we give him a pass — and the GOP a pass — that stands in stark opposition to everything that Obama’s candidacy stands for.
Let the racist Limbaugh get away with it, and expect four more years of divisive obstruction from those who would rather burn the ship of state than surrender it. Don’t let him get away with it, and perhaps four years of civil discourse where we disagree on policy, but not on the right of our opposition to exist.
Debate or mindless hating unreason?
Before you make your choice, please note that Limbaugh is extraordinarily vulnerable in a time of sharply falling ad revenues. If he becomes radioactive, his masters will drop him like a burning coal.
It’s just as important WHEN you fight, as WHY you fight. We have the WHY. Now, what we have is the WHEN, had we the wit to seize the moment. This is one of those “crossroads” moments when a little leverage could have a huge effect.
The stakes here are higher than perhaps any of the players realize. This is that moment when an ounce of prevention goes a long way, and all we’re talking about is holding Rush Limbaugh to account for his decision to use the “N” word by pronouncing it “negro” and then trying to flim-flam us all that he really meant that WE were the ones who were racists for backing Obama.
Who the hell is stupid enough to fall for that rotten cheese?
Limbaugh isn’t so far from Limburger in more senses than mere spelling, after all.
And remember, nobody ever died of a reasoned debate.
The GOP is standing at a clear crossroads, and the sad damned thing seems to be that whether Chip Saltsman or Ken Blackwell wins the RNC Chairmanship, Rush Limbaugh will call the tune.
But, if that crypto-racism is repudiated here and now, more decent, more honorable men could form the core of the new GOP — a new GOP that must transform, as history shows, but will not disappear.
So, let’s do them a favor and help them to choose wisely, shall we?
It seems obvious enough.