by Guest Contributor Jenn Fang, originally published at Reappropriate
This past Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell broke with the GOP ranks to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president. Citing in part McCain’s negative campaigning as part of his decision, Powell said of Obama:
Sen. Obama has demonstrated the kind of calm, patient, intellectual, steady approach to problem-solving that I think we need in this country.
As political analysts posted wave upon wave of comments on this latest development in the ‘08 presidential election, Politico posted an email from Rush Limbaugh saying that Powell’s endorsement had nothing to do with Obama’s qualities as a candidate and everything to do with race.
“Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race,” Limbaugh wrote in an e-mail. “OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”
How racist of Limbaugh to see a Black man showing support for another Black man and to automatically assume it’s all about skin colour. Forget that Powell spoke at length about Obama’s qualifications as president: Limbaugh can’t fathom that Obama could be endorsed for any reason other than race.
This morning, Limbaugh defended his comment, saying that because Democrats are remarking on Obama’s race as reason for his candidacy’s historic nature, that Limbaugh is in the clear.
“I thought it should be about race,” he said. “I thought you liberals thought this was a historic candidacy because finally we are going to elect a black guy…why hide behind this, why act like it’s not about race?”
“This was all about Powell and race, nothing about the nation and its welfare,” Limbaugh added. The talk radio host also criticized members of the media for not addressing his claim that Powell likely hasn’t endorsed white candidates who, according to Limbaugh, have similar political leanings and experience as Obama.
It’s ironic that Limbaugh is making this argument; just last Thursday, I got into a discussion/heated exchange with some local Democrats over Obama and race. They were making the argument that Obama should be praised for not making an issue of the race and racism he has experienced on the campaign trail — like Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play for the then all-White Major Leagues, Obama was to be credited for not “turning it into a race issue”. Continue reading