Sunday, September 21, 2008


I'm sorry, but the Obama campaign has stepped over the line with this one. Connecting Sen. McCain to Rush Limbaugh is beyond the pale. It was one thing, when their strategy was to paint McCain as "Bush III," but Mr. Limbaugh is even further from McCain than President Bush is, politically. In their zest to discredit Sen. McCain, Sen. Obama's campaign has done just this, with a "Spanish language" commercial using "quotes" from Rush to characterize Sen. McCain as hostile to Latinos.

However, the two "quotes" from Rush Limbaugh are actually his characterizations of other points of view, not his own opinion. Here are the quotes:

". . . stupid and unskilled Mexicans" and "You shut your mouth or you get out!"

This is an excerpt from Rush's WSJ piece about the "controversy." (link)

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.

Here's the thing: why is this only in a "Spanish language" commercial? The answer is cultural/political; Obama is targeting Latinos that don't know much about Republicans/conservative politics, politicians, or punditry. Rush's column justly imputes base motives in the ad, which itself imputes unjust motives to Sen. McCain.

Truth to be told, McCain's campaign is just as dishonest, in some ads. I just don't like the use of a such great American as Rush Limbaugh, under false pretenses. It was a dirty shot, in more than one way. Sen. McCain is the best shot for reconciling the issue of illegal immigration, and far more knowledgeable on the issue than Sen. Obama.

If voters who care about this issue want a solution, the choice is clear: Sen. Obama will side with the left, and fight against at least half of US public opinion. Sen. McCain is trying to "pick up" on a few of the "right's" issues (border security, deportation of criminal aliens), and compromise with the "left's" issues about keeping families together, and civil rights. Both sides of the debate have valid points, and Sen. McCain has been an agent for a "comprehensive compromise."

However, I have to report seeing an NBC "Latino" progam at 6:30 AM, and all of the guests were stridently "pro-Obama," for "the Latino community." It seemed a little "Stepford Wives" to me. I think there's more political diversity in all communities, including Latinos, and Obama's commercial will backfire. We'll see.

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