Friday, September 19, 2008

Limbaugh Fires Back at Obama for Quotes in Ad

There has been a back-and-forth between the Obama campaign and Rush Limbaugh that was started when Sen. Barack Obama released an advertisement that used some of Limbaugh's quotes concerning NAFTA and immigration.

Here is the commercial, which is in Spanish:

Here is the English translation from The Associated Press:

English translation of "Dos Caras," or "Two Faces": Obama: "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message." Announcer: "They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance. They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much. John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One tells lies just to get our vote, and the other, even worse, continues the failed policies of George Bush, putting the interests of powerful groups above working families. John McCain, more of the same Republican deceptions."

The "Two Faces" ad aired by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee shows photos of immigrants as a picture of Limbaugh appears at the bottom of the screen. Limbaugh is quoted in text as saying, "Mexicans stupid and unqualified" and "Shut your mouth or get out!" As the announcer speaks of Republicans with two faces, a Spanish newspaper headline appears: "They caused the failure of immigration reform." Photos of McCain with President Bush appear.

Here is Limbaugh in April 2006, where the quote on immigration was taken:

And here is Limbaugh's response today in The Wall Street Journal:

And more to the point, these sound bites are a deception, and Mr. Obama knows it. The first sound bite was extracted from a 1993 humorous monologue poking fun at the arguments against the North American Free Trade Agreement. Here's the context:

"If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs Nafta is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."

My point, which is obvious, was that the people who were criticizing Nafta were demeaning workers, particularly low-skilled workers. I was criticizing the mind-set of the protectionists who opposed the treaty. There was no racial connotation to it and no one thought there was at the time. I was demeaning the arguments of the opponents.

As for the second sound bite, I was mocking the Mexican government's double standard -- i.e., urging open borders in this country while imposing draconian immigration requirements within its own borders. Thus, I took the restrictions Mexico imposes on immigrants and appropriated them as my own suggestions for a new immigration law.

Here's the context for that sound bite: "And another thing: You don't have the right to protest. You're allowed no demonstrations, no foreign flag waving, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. You're a foreigner: shut your mouth or get out! And if you come here illegally, you're going to jail."

At the time, I made abundantly clear that this was a parody on the Mexican government's hypocrisy and nobody took it otherwise.

The malignant aspect of this is that Mr. Obama and his advisers know exactly what they are doing. They had to listen to both monologues or read the transcripts. They then had to pick the particular excerpts they used in order to create a commercial of distortions. Their hoped-for result is to inflame racial tensions. In doing this, Mr. Obama and his advisers have demonstrated a pernicious contempt for American society.

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