Obama has not built 'em the new kitchen that he promised or led them to believe that were gonna get in Tampa. And there are no new cars for everybody. And white people are not shining the shoes of black people. Well, I remember that Tampa fundraiser, that Tampa town hall, we had audiotape of some black people who said, "From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us." Remember that? That's what the election meant to some people.
Obviously, the idea of “white people” shining the shoes of black people was what the 2008 election meant to Rush Limbaugh, and he hates it. But for most Americans, the 2008 election was not seen through the prism of racial paranoia that Rush Limbaugh uses.
Limbaugh's racist fear of “white people” subservient to black people drew surprisingly little criticism, except from Media Matters and a few bloggers on the left.
On his April 25, 2011 show, Limbaugh said nothing about his lies about Henrietta Hughes or Obama and his supporters, nor did he over any evidence to support his fictional claims. But Rush did express outrage that Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, pastor of a church Obama has attended, in a sermon earlier last year “saw fit to compare me to the modern-day KKK.” It is indeed an outrageous comparison. The KKK is widely denounced for its racism by nearly everyone today; Rush Limbaugh's racism, on the other hand, is rarely criticized in any mainstream media outlet.
In fact, I can't find anyone in the mainstream media who bothered to report on the astonishing fact that the leading conservative talk show host in the country declared that Obama was elected to make white people serve blacks.
But Limbaugh's shining example of racism was only the beginning of his bigotry. I investigated his claim that black people said, “From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us.” It appears to be completely fabricated.
Here's the evidence. First, if you search for that quote on the internet, nothing comes up. I searched on Limbaugh's own website. I found no quote with the words “waiting on” or even “serving us.” It doesn't appear that Limbaugh has ever mentioned this quote before or anything like it. And if such a quote did exist, or anything resembling it, it's quite certain that Limbaugh would have played it. I've asked Limbaugh for any explanation or sources for his quote. He hasn't responded.
Next, I tracked down the event that Limbaugh is referring to where this quote was allegedly uttered by “black people.” In his Friday comment, Limbaugh says it was a “Tampa town hall” and refers to “new cars.” Because he's made this claim before about a Tampa town hall and new cars, it was easy to identify. And the story reveals another side of Limbaugh, his meanness and stupidity as well as his racism.
There was no town hall in Tampa. But there was an Obama town hall on Feb. 10, 2009 at Fort Myers, Florida (120 miles from Tampa) which Limbaugh often refers to when talking about “new cars.”
At this town hall, a black woman named Henrietta Hughes told Obama: “I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in. We need urgent. And the housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.”
Limbaugh immediately misunderstood what Hughes said: “There's another bite coming up here, a crying woman named Henrietta asks Obama for a car, for a new kitchen and a bathroom. I am not kidding!”
Limbaugh was completely wrong. Hughes had been living in a pickup truck with her son for a year, and she was explaining that she only had that small vehicle to live in, using park facilities for their bathroom.
She wasn't asking for a car, let alone a new one. She wasn't asking for a new house or a new kitchen or a new bathroom in her house. She was asking for help getting a place to live so that she could have a kitchen and a bathroom, and pointing out that the two-year waiting list for housing assistance meant that she would be homeless for a long time with no hope of getting any help.
Limbaugh declared, “It was a disgrace what was on display in Fort Myers, Florida, yesterday. It was an absolute saddening, shocking, depressing disgrace. And you have created that segment of America that has no faith in and of itself, no faith in this country, and thinks the only reason to talk to a president is to ask him for a kitchen, to ask him for a car.”
Limbaugh's condemnation of the woman (and his fabricated claim that she asked for a new car) was the real disgrace. Limbaugh repeatedly (and falsely) smeared this homeless woman's desperate plea for help, mocking her as a 21st Century welfare queen. On February 17, 2009, Rush said: “You saw evidence of it at Fort Myers town hall. 'Mr. Obama, get me a car, get me a car, get me a kitchen, get me a new house...'” On February 25, 2009, he said: “the dropouts of America thought they were going to have handed to them a plate load of goodies, like Henrietta Hughes over in Fort Myers.”
On March 23, 2010, Limbaugh had once again lost track of where the town hall happened and simply invented a fake quote: “Shortly after Obama was immaculated, he did a town hall in Atlanta and a woman stood up and said, 'I need a new kitchen in my house and I actually need a new car, what are you going to do for me?'"
Limbaugh turned the Fort Myers event into a vast parade of black people demanding free cars: “Last time he was in Tampa all kinds of people showed up wanted a new car, they wanted a new dishwasher, they wanted a new kitchen. Remember that?” The story of one homeless woman asking for help finding a home had been turned by Rush into “these people” demanding all kinds of vehicles and appliances: “He went to Tampa and these people actually asked him for a new car and a new kitchen, a new dispose-all.”
When Limbaugh says “these people,” he means black people. Rush gave his particular racist interpretation of the Fort Myers town hall by describing what he thought Obama said ("My people don't want handouts, they want to work hard") and the crowd's reply ("Amen, bro, amen, amen"). Limbaugh's fictional “my people” and “bro” were obviously meant to refer to race. Obama actually said “people” aren't looking for a handout, not “my people.”
So it's clear that when Limbaugh on April 22, 2011 made this reference to Tampa and new cars, he was talking about the Fort Myers town hall. But that brings us back to the quote, “From now on you all are gonna be waiting on us,” which Limbaugh claims to have on audiotape. Nothing in any of Limbaugh's numerous comments about the Fort Myers town hall reveals any quote even remotely close to this statement. Nothing in any of the news stories and conservative attacks on the Fort Myers town hall shows that this quote ever happened.
The quote appears to be a complete fabrication, and it's time for Rush to put up or shut up. The media should be demanding evidence from Rush about this alleged audiotape, and they should be demanding an explanation for all of the fake quotes he's put in the mouth of Henrietta Hughes over the past two years. I challenge Limbaugh to prove what he says.
In my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, I devote many chapters to Limbaugh's fabrication of the facts, and a full chapter to provide clear-cut examples of Limbaugh's racial hatred. I defy anyone to read that chapter and these examples, and offer any rational proof that Limbaugh is not a racist.
Limbaugh engages in vicious racism and the complete fabrication of quotes to serve his bigoted agenda. It's time for the media and his conservative supporters to stop defending Rush's racism and instead acknowledge his bigotry and deceit as real.
Crossposted at DailyKos.