Rush Limbaugh has made so many racist and borderline racist comments throughout his career, that it shouldn't come as a big surprise when he goes way over the line. But it's still jarring to hear it.
After all, this is man who told an African-American caller, "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." Who said, "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?" Then later said, "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."
He has also complained that the media roots for Donovan McNabb because he is black. And my favorite, the media also roots against Rex Grossman because he is white (that's why you never hear a kind word about Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Brett Favre, the media just hates white athletes in this country).
On some of these occasions Limbaugh has claimed he was joking, though most people didn't find it very funny at all. On many of these occasions, he wasn't even pretending to be joking. He means exactly what he says. But this week, he has no excuses. What he said was completely serious and completely racist.
This is Rush Limbaugh from his radio show earlier this week:
LIMBAUGH: Yeah. This is -- you're not going to believe this, but it's very simple. And the sooner you believe it, and the sooner you let this truth permeate the boundaries you have that tell you this is just simply not possible, the better you will understand Democrats in everything. You are right. They want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur.
LIMBAUGH: There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur?
CALLER: Uh, yeah.
LIMBAUGH: It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble.
CALLER: Yes. Yes. The black population.
LIMBAUGH: Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela -- who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.
So far, most of the criticism of Limbaugh for these comments has been focused around the Darfur comments. But look at what he says about Nelson Mandela and South Africa. Who is against Nelson Mandela? Communist? What century is Limbaugh from? But put all that aside, he criticized the idea of replacing the white government of South Africa.
I think he has officially become toxic. How can anyone want to be associated with a guy who wishes we still had the white government of South Africa holding down millions of black people? It's an unbelievable comment. As a person who grew up without much exposure to racism, I literally have a hard time believing that people can be this racist.
And if Limbaugh thinks that it was a great idea for the white people of South Africa to deny black citizens all of their rights, you have to wonder how good an idea he thinks it would be here as well.
Remember Republican politicians -- including Dick Cheney earlier this year -- still go on Limbaugh's program. Anyone who does so from now on, should face a litany of questions about legitimizing a man like this. Do they share his sentiment?
I argued against firing Don Imus. I leave it to you to conclude what you think should happen to Limbaugh's job. But I think it is self-evident that what Limbaugh said is far worse than what Imus said. And at the time, every politician who had ever been on the Imus program was asked whether they supported him and would go back on his show after hearing his comments. This is exactly what should happen to the politicians that have been on Limbaugh's program -- at the very least.
Do you stand with Rush Limbaugh or don't you? I can't wait to hear what Republicans have to say about that.
PS -- By the way, our producer, Jayar Jackson, had the best line about the Darfur comments. Commenting on Limbaugh's statement that black Americans are pressuring politicians to go into Darfur, Jayar said, "Black folks can't get them to go into New Orleans!"