A few minutes ago on his radio show, Rush predicted that Colin Powell would vote for Obama again, despite refusing to declare anything on Face the Nation yesterday. According to Limbaugh, “Melanin is thicker than water.”
This openly racist claim that all black people support each other because of their genetics is a common refrain from Limbaugh. I've documented Limbaugh's bigotry extensively on my blog (www.limbaughbook.com) and my book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason. My book is now on sale for $4.61 at Amazon, which is both a great bargain and an indication that very few Limbaugh fans are inclined to read anything critical of El Rushbo.
When Republican Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president, Rush claimed it was all about race. Powell said: "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."i Rush responded: "I just think he's just mad at me because I'm the one person in the country that had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama. It was purely and solely based on race. There can be no other explanation for it."
Limbaugh declared, “Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with.” Of course, Powell did endorse an inexperienced white candidate whom he had some disagreements with, a man named George W. Bush. But Limbaugh could only see race.
Powell retorted on CNN, “And when you have non-elected officials such as we have in our party who immediately shout racism or somebody who is quite prominent in the media says the only basis upon which I could possibly have supported Obama was because he was black and I was black even though I laid out my judgment on the candidates, then we still have a problem.”
When Powell was a loyal Republican, Limbaugh had nothing but praise for him. In 1997, he said about Powell, “Look at him. He is dignity. He is honor. He's a four-star general. He is a man who is perceived to be the epitome of honor and integrity, and he's a leader.” How did Powell go from being the “epitome of honor and integrity” to being a racist? The answer is purely political: Powell endorsed a Democrat, and therefore Limbaugh used the accusation of racism he makes against every non-white liberal.
Yesterday, I appeared on Robert McChesney's excellent radio show Media Matters (listen to it here) and one of the callers was a Limbaugh fan who simply dismissed any possibility that Rush is a racist.
It's difficult to break through a corporate media stranglehold on public debate, one where discussing the racism of the leading conservative voice in America is simply forbidden. But it's important that we continue trying to raise these issues. A few weeks ago, I wrote about persuading a Republican defender of Limbaugh, D.R. Tucker, that Rush is a racist.
The declaration that “melanin is thicker than water” is the embodiment of a racist viewpoint, and we need to keep stating the obvious, and asking Republican officials if they agree with this claim, until the mainstream media and Limbaugh's supporters are forced to defend it. And when you have someone as indefensible as Limbaugh is, that would be a victory.
Crossposted at DailyKos.