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“Rudy Lied. Let’s Start With That”: Giuliani’s Hate-Mongering Shows The Right Wing Will Never Stop Trying To Scare Whites About Obama

Rudy Giuliani lied. Let’s start with that. After the heinous murder of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos a week ago, Giuliani spewed the following bit of hate about President Obama: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police.”

For the record, the president did absolutely no such thing. If you want the details of what he has actually said about law enforcement officers over the past four months — i.e., since Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — Politifact and the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker have compiled them as part of their respective evaluations of Giuliani’s claim (the WaPo‘s article also includes more, similar statements by Giuliani about Obama and the police, made after the initial one cited above). Politifact found the claim to be a “pants on fire” lie, while the WaPo gave it four (out of a possible four) Pinocchios. As I said, Rudy Giuliani lied.

But of course it’s about much more than just the lie, it’s about the kind of race-baiting lie he told, and how it fits into an eight-year-long campaign by the right to draw on the worst fears of white Americans about a black president, in particular a liberal black president. You see, Giuliani’s comments about the police killings weren’t even the worst ones uttered. Among others, Ex. Rep. Joe Walsh accused Obama of having “blood on his hands.” Erick Erickson said the president has “created a situation where Americans cheer police officers being gunned down.”

As egregiously wrong as these are, I want to focus now on some remarks made by Rush Limbaugh that didn’t get, as far as I can tell, any broader media coverage, but which were heard by his 12.5 million listeners (he’s still got the biggest talk radio audience out there). What Giuliani only implied, Rush came right out and said — after first echoing the point that the president has “blood on his hands” and placing his picture next to that of Al Sharpton just below that statement on his website’s show transcript:

We are all headed in an accelerated pace for anarchy. That is where all of this is headed. The primary agents of this anarchy are militant Islamists, militant civil rights coalition types, the New Black Panther Party and ancillaries. And who are their enablers? The Democrat Party and the American left, from college professors to pop culture false idols to elected Democrats, and of course the media, the left has and is, I believe — and I really believe this, and I’m not using a single word for exaggeration purposes — I really believe that college professors, these pop culture false idols, elected Democrats, the media, are literally making their followers, i.e., base voters, insane with rage and anger. I don’t think there is any other conclusion.

No, Rush is not exaggerating. This is exactly what is behind the statements — as hateful as they were on their face — made by Giuliani. And notice what Limbaugh has done here, building on Giuliani’s demonstrably false accusation that the president has been telling people to hate the police. He hits on racial boogeymen like the New Black Panther Party, a teeny-tiny organization (which the Southern Poverty Law Center has defined as a hate group) about which the right has long stoked anxiety among whites. But Rush also connects the New Black Panthers to civil rights activists (not to mention militant Islamists, triggering a whole other set of fears), and says that elected Democrats — led by the chief elected Democrat — have been “enabling” them and pushing our country into “anarchy.” Oh, and as a college professor myself I’m proud to note that he mentioned us twice. Finally, since this is a race-based, “civil rights”-based anarchy, Rush’s listeners know that he’s talking about the thing he’s talked about so many times before: a race war.

This is by no means the first time Limbaugh has invoked the specter of race war. Just after the president was inaugurated a second time, in January 2013, he declared: “We’re in the midst here of designed class and race wars,” and this was only a week after he claimed that Louis Farrakhan was “in preparation for a race war.” Rush also talked on July 30, 2009, about how the media were promoting a “race war.”

But Limbaugh doesn’t have to use the words race war to make his listeners afraid of big, bad, black Barack Obama and his radical, militant allies. In my book about President Obama and American national identity, I examine numerous examples where Rush (and other right wingers) practiced race-baiting. I’ve shared what I then called his most egregious example here on Daily Kos before (although what he said last week certainly gives this one a run for it’s money), but I want to cite it again here because it ties together all the hateful things — starting with the remarks by Rudy Giuliani — said about the president (not to mention Eric Holder and Bill de Blasio) since the murder of NYPD Officers Liu and Ramos. This is from my book:

Limbaugh summarized this perspective on June 4, 2009, in one of the most pernicious formulations heard from a major media voice since Obama became a national figure–one that could have no purpose but to sow the toxic combination of hatred and fear among white members of his audience and pit Americans against one another along ethnic lines: “The days of them not having any power are over, and they are angry. And they want to use their power as a means of retribution. That’s what Obama’s about, gang. He’s angry, he’s gonna cut this country down to size, he’s gonna make it pay for all the multicultural mistakes that it has made, its mistreatment of minorities.”

In this brief, vitriol-laden rant, Limbaugh defined Obama and his nonwhite supporters (“they”) as anti-American and angry, and set their interests in opposition to those of whites, whose interests he defined as in line with those of America. It’s Obama and his people vs. America. Moreover, Limbaugh insinuated or perhaps tried to subconsciously evoke the idea that this was a street fight by using the term “gang.” In his view, the battle between Obama’s and Limbaugh’s gangs would determine whether whites or nonwhites will ultimately wield “power.”

Limbaugh did not choose these words lightly. His statement resembles rhetoric that goes back to the eighteenth century, according to which poor whites should rally together with slave owners around their shared whiteness, because if black slaves ever got free they would enact vengeance on all whites. It draws on the image of blacks as bloodthirsty savages bent on destroying the white civilization that has oppressed them for so long, without of course mentioning what that oppression says about how “civilized” are those who have carried it out. The greatest fear of the slave-owning elite was always an alliance of the common folk of all races. Limbaugh’s use of the trope of white racial unity as the only defense against retribution for past mistreatments is not original, but that makes it no less disgraceful.

And this is exactly what the right has sought to do to Barack Obama since before they had even heard of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Rudy Giuliani does it his way, and Rush Limbaugh does it his. But make no mistake, both of them — along with every other right winger who engages in this kind of race-baiting — have but one goal in mind, and that is to draw on and even heighten already existing fears held by too many white Americans that the day is coming for, in Limbaugh’s own words, “retribution.”

And they have the nerve to say Obama’s the one spreading hate.


By: Ian Reifowitz, The Blog, The Huffington, December 29, 2014

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Racism, Rudy Giuliani, Rush Limbaugh | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Letting The Mask Slip”: Richard Mourdock, The Latest Entrant Into The Republican Rape Insensitivity Bake-Off

Dear everyone asking what it is about Republican candidates and their clumsy talk about rape: This is a feature, not a bug.

The latest entrant into the Republican rape insensitivity bake-off is Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said tonight that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” He, of course, joins fellow Senate candidate Todd Akin, with his now-canonical “legitimate rape” comment, and Rep. Joe Walsh, running for election in Illinois, who claimed there was no reason a woman would ever need an abortion to save her life or preserve her health. The trailblazer was Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle, who failed to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada two years ago, and famously said that if a hypothetical teenager was raped and impregnated by her father, it was an opportunity to turn “a lemon situation into lemonade.”

Here’s why this is happening: The newer crop of Republican candidates and elected officials are, more often than not, straight from the base. They’re less polished than their predecessors; they’re more ideologically pure. As a result, they’ve accidentally been letting the mask slip and showing what’s really at the core of the right-to-life movement.

For years, the movement has fought plausible charges that it is anti-woman by repackaging its abortion restrictions, in Orwellian fashion, as protections for women. They’ve done it so successfully that until recently, when so many alleged “gaffes” went viral, no one really noticed. What is the so-called Women’s Health Defense Act? A proposed ban on abortion before viability. What are “informed consent” laws purporting to give women all the information they need before having abortions? Forced ultrasounds, transvaginal, and some of them involving the forced viewing of the ultrasound, at the woman’s expense, under the stated supposition that she has no idea what’s growing inside her unless someone makes her look. (Never mind that 60 percent of women who have abortions have already given birth at least once.)

Where does rape come into this? If you doubt that the abortion obsession in this country is about sex more than it is about “babies,” just look to all this agonized public parsing about “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape.” Americans are, at least in theory, sensitive to survivors of rape, whose bodies have been cruelly used against their will, and they see a forced pregnancy as further suffering. The corollary, of course, is that pregnancy is the just punishment for consensual sex, or, if you think an embryo or fetus is the same as a person, that rape justifies capital punishment. But most people don’t think in those consistent absolutes, which is the reason that the antiabortion movement has sometimes conceded to rape exceptions, as Mitt Romney has — they’re willing to suffer them, occasionally, as a sort of gateway drug toward stigmatizing and marginalizing all abortion.

For now, antiabortion absolutists have some explaining to do, and they’re doing it very, very badly. That’s because they aren’t used to cloaking their views in the rhetoric of compassion, something George W. Bush was so much better at. They’re used to how the base talks about this stuff among themselves, when it’s open about seeing women as vessels whose decision-making is subsumed to God’s plan or to baby making. (Paul Ryan is ideologically aligned with this crowd, but usually has the political skills and earnest manner to keep him out of trouble. When he got asked in the debate about religion, he answered by talking about “science.”)

But every time a Republican politician says what he (usually he) really thinks about all this, we can ask ourselves the following: What are you if you think women have no idea what they’re doing when they have an abortion, that they need the law to bully them, if not to change their minds, then to make things as difficult as possible for them?

What are you if you think a woman’s right to her own body should be entirely subordinate to the possibility of an hours-old fertilized egg, and thus want to ban emergency contraception, as Akin does? What are you if you essentially render a pregnant woman an incubator, as Akin did when he described pregnancy as, “All you add is food and climate control, and some time, and the embryo becomes you or me”? What with all of the double-talk, I’ll be plain. You’re a misogynist.

By: Irin Carmon, Salon, October 24, 2012

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Incrediably Stupid Joe Walsh”: Life Of The Mother Is Never A Reason For Abortion

During a televised debate Thursday on Chicago’s WTTW, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) reiterated his opposition to abortion in any circumstance. It’s similar to the Republican Party’s national platform, which doesn’t have any exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Walsh is taking it a step further — banning abortion to save the life of the mother.

“I’m pro life without exception. Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception,” he said.

Tammy Duckworth, Walsh’s Democratic opponent in Illinois’ 8th congressional district race immediately denounced Walsh, saying the incumbent congressman would let a woman die rather than permit her access to abortion. Walsh contradicted her, saying she was unfair.

Walsh didn’t have time to explain his stance more fully during the event, and reporters questioned him afterward. CNN says Walsh claimed “there’s no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has been, has become a tool for abortions any time under any reason.”

When questioned by WGN radio, Walsh seemed to indicate that women no longer face life threatening pregnancies: “Absolutely. With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance.”

Walsh’s biological knowledge of women’s reproductive health is off, notes the Huffington Post, which points to statistics from the National Institutes of Health. One risk women may face during pregnancy is a life threatening ectopic pregnancy; this occurs when a fetus forms outside the uterus. The fetus cannot survive. The NIH estimates an ectopic pregnancy can “occur in 1 in every 40 to 1 in every 100 pregnancies”.

Walsh’s statement is reminiscent of controversial Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). Earlier this year, Akin triggered an uproar by remarking that women can’t get pregnant if they’re raped. He said, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. Akin later apologized, saying he “misspoke” by failing to communicate the empathy he has for rape and abuse victims.

Update at 1:41 p.m. ET. Pregnancy Not ‘Risk-Free Life Event’:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement about this issue a short while ago. They say Walsh’s comments are simply not accurate. Pregnancy, they say, is “not a risk-free life event.”

The statement continues:

“Despite all of our medical advances, more than 600 women die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related reasons right here in the US. In fact, many more women would die each year if they did not have access to abortion to protect their health or to save their lives.”

These inaccurate comments are yet another reason why The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (The College) message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out of our exam rooms.”

By: Korva Coleman, NPR, October 19, 2012

October 20, 2012 Posted by | Congress, Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Crass Deadbeat Sperm Donor”: Rep. Joe Walsh’s “Ashleigh” Moments

When Rep. Joe Walsh looks back on his brief and inglorious career in Congress, he will have many moments to blame for his demise, but none more colorful than Thursday afternoon, when he managed to utter the word “Ashleigh” 91 times over the course of a 12-minute interview.

This bizarre verbal obsession had origins in the freshman tea party Republican’s town hall meeting in Illinois a few days earlier, when he unfavorably compared his opponent, who lost both legs in combat in Iraq, to John McCain, who Walsh claimed was reluctant to talk about his military service.

“He talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That’s what’s so noble about our heroes,” Walsh said. “Now I’m running against a woman who, I mean, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.”

So Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, who earned a Purple Heart in 2004 when the helicopter she was co-piloting was hit, is not “noble” or a “true” hero because she talks about her military service? It was similar to what Walsh told Politico a few months earlier: “I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country. Ehhh. Now let’s move on.”

If this isn’t enough to persuade voters to “move on” from Walsh, the lawmaker continued his self-destruction by appearing on CNN and declining host Ashleigh Banfield’s invitation to cast his remarks as a “slip-up.” Instead, he scolded “Ashleigh,” using her first name repeatedly when he wasn’t calling the 44-year-old anchor “kiddo” or asking the recently naturalized citizen whether she served in the military.

“No, no, Ashleigh. No, Ashleigh, this wasn’t a slip-up. I don’t regret anything I said,” Walsh declared.

Banfield tried to read a list of things Duckworth has talked about other than her military service.

“No, she hasn’t, Ashleigh. No, Ashleigh, no, she hasn’t.”

“Do you want to hear it, Congressman? Do you want to hear it or do you just want to rail on me?”

“Hey, Ashleigh.”

“I’ve got the list here.”

“No, Ashleigh, Ashleigh.”

Banfield read part of the list.

“Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh,” Walsh replied. “Hey, Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh.”

All indications are that Walsh’s first term in the House may be his last, as challenger Duckworth, a failed candidate in 2006, is favored to win Illinois’s 8th District, redrawn to favor Democrats.

But Walsh’s antics should be of concern to Republicans far beyond the congressional district, both because they are the type of tea party histrionics that raise doubts about the GOP’s readiness to govern, and because they point to a potential Republican vulnerability among veterans, usually a reliable voting bloc.

Polls are conflicting, ranging from a Gallup survey in May showing Mitt Romney with a 24-point lead among vets to a Reuters poll the same month giving Obama a seven-point lead. (McCain won vets by 10 points in 2008.)

Regardless, Obama tends to do better among veterans under 60, and his campaign, seeing a potential inroad, is planning to make veterans’ issues central to the Democratic convention in Charlotte. Obama’s pitch to veterans is that he has sponsored various jobs programs for them and proposed steady increases while Romney backs the House Republican budget, which would cut domestic discretionary spending by 19 percent — likely costing vets tens of billions of dollars.

Walsh is a ripe target for reasons well beyond his crass putdown of Duckworth. During his term, he failed to show up to a court hearing on his ex-wife’s claim that he owed $117,000 in child support (there were earlier tax liens and a foreclosure). His driver’s license was suspended last year for the second time in three years. He called Obama a “tyrant” and accused the president of “lying.” He even squared off with the other Joe Walsh, of the Eagles, over unauthorized use of the song “Walk Away.”

And now there’s Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh.

Walsh acknowledged to Banfield that all veterans are heroes, but he defended his claim that Duckworth isn’t a true hero because she spoke about her service. He made this argument primarily by repeating the host’s first name 91 times by my count.

After many such Ashleighs — “Hey, Ashleigh, well, Ashleigh, look Ashleigh” — the interviewer responded in kind with “Yes, Congressman, Congressman. Yes, Congressman.”

“Whew,” Banfield said after the final “Ashleigh.” “I need to take a big breath.”

So should Illinois voters — and send a true hero to Washington in Walsh’s place.


By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, July 6, 2012

July 7, 2012 Posted by | Elections | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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