RUSH: I really don’t want to harm Clarence Page by quoting him here. When I happen to quote favorably people in the mainstream media, their colleagues sometimes think they’ve sold out. It’s called the Raspberry Effect. But regardless, I have to share with you what he said today in the Chicago Tribune. ‘Satire About Obama Isn’t the Same as Imus’ Flub.’ I’ll read you some excerpts of this. ‘Remember when media pundits were asking whether Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was ‘black enough’ to attract black voters? That was the old media narrative. The new one goes sort of like this: ‘Maybe he’s too black.’ Take, for example, his conservative adversaries, such as talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, who seems to take gleeful delight in reminding everyone of how black Obama is — and even more delight when the rest of us notice.’
Now, that is a bit over the top because I’ve been very supportive of Obama. My suggestion to Obama was he call all these people that are mentioning race and get it out of the stories. It’s they who were questioning his race. What I ‘delight in reminding everyone of’ is how it’s the Democrats, it’s the liberals, who are judging his blackness and his authenticity, whether or not he’s down for the struggle. That’s the fun of this. I’m not questioning his race or anything of the sort.
‘Back in mid-March, for example, el Rushbo began to air a satirical song titled, ‘Barack the Magic Negro.’ He didn’t make up the term. He hijacked it fair and square,’ and he goes on to mention it came from the LA Times and so forth. David Ehrenstein, the author of the LA Times piece, ‘who is black, described ‘white guilt’ as ‘the minimal discomfort’ that the white film characters feel about the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history. Limbaugh, in the fashion of our times, chastised liberal ‘racism’ for bringing up race in this fashion, then proceeded to air a song about it. Repeatedly. Sung to the tune of ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’ by voice impersonator Paul Shanklin, imitating Rev. Al Sharpton, the song goes in part like this,’ and then he quotes some of the lyrics and says, ‘If Limbaugh…’ Get this line: ‘If Limbaugh was looking for something to prove that he’s worth caring about, he struck pay dirt.’ I’m worth caring about? Meaning, you know, ‘You people on the left, you better start paying attention here.’
‘It probably says something…’ This is one of the most fascinating lines in the piece. ‘It probably says something about how isolated Limbaugh may be from the rest of us,’ meaning in the media, ‘that the song didn’t generate much mainstream media controversy until last week. That was when Obama became the first presidential candidate to qualify for Secret Service protection besides Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton… It was the earliest assignment of Secret Service protection since another black candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson, ran for president in 1984 and ’88. … Citing the large number of wackos in the world, a lot of people on the Web and on talk radio, particularly listeners to Sharpton’s radio show, think Limbaugh should meet the same fate as Imus. I don’t. I may not be in sync with Limbaugh’s politics, but the two cases are quite different. As satire, Limbaugh’s song passes three critical tests that Imus’ offhand comment flunked: (1) it’s funny, (2) it took at least half of a brain to think up and (3) it contains a nugget of truth.’
Now, this line: ‘It probably says something about how isolated Limbaugh maybe from the rest of us, that the song didn’t generate much mainstream media controversy,’ is right on the money. I would rewrite it. I don’t think I’m isolated from them. I think they are isolated from me. They are the ones that don’t listen to this show. Clarence Page obviously does, but most of them don’t. They get what ‘happens’ on this program from websites like Media Matters and others. They miss the context. They purposely avoid listening to the program — and to me, that’s the critical line. He understands. He really understands what’s going on. This is up for two months before anybody raises a stink about it, and it wasn’t my audience that raised the stink about it, so he says, it ‘says something about how isolated Limbaugh may be from the rest of us,’ meaning they have purposely tuned out on purpose.
‘Limbaugh’s target is a wildly popular presidential candidate, which is precisely the sort of political expression that the 1st Amendment was written to protect. I may not agree with Limbaugh’s politics, but he has a right to express them. Besides, if the potentates of political correctness come after conservative commentators like Limbaugh today, they’ll come after liberal commentators tomorrow. If voters think Obama can close that divide, they really do believe in magic.’
So that is Clarence Page.
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