Via Adam Serwer, I see that there are a gaggle of conservatives who are actually outraged that Rush has been pushed out. The white populists over at the Corner just can't be taken seriously--as Adam notes, this is an outfit that, all at once, cynically compares Rush Limbaugh to Martin Luther King, and defends William Buckley's racism.
But like Adam, I think more of Jon Henke. And like Adam, I think he's way off on this one.
What would happen if NFL told Olbermann or @Maddow their political views made them ineligible for NFL team? End NFL anti-trust exemption.
Let's be very clear about what we're debating--Rush didn't lose because he's pro-Life, because he doesn't support the public mandate, or because of his stance on Afghanistan. Rush lost because he once claimed that Donovan McNabb, a quarterback who in ten seasons has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and is one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation was being overpraised because he was black.
Rush Limbaugh lost because think slavery had some merit. Rush Limbaugh lost because he claimed that NFL players, en masse, to gang-bangers. Rush Limbaugh didn't lose because he's a conservative. He lost because he's a white populist.
If Rachel Maddow, at various moments, claimed that Wes Welker was overrated because he was white, that NFL owners were little more than slave-masters, and that the Holocaust was overstated, then yeah, I'd expect she'd have some problems becoming an NFL owner.
Henke doesn't have to agree with the NFL, and maybe they should end the exemption. But he should have the courage of his convictions, and make the case. He should be honest enough to state the argument as it is, instead of as he wishes it were. He should be decent enough to accurately represent the facts, instead of arming himself with victimology and "woe-is-me"-ism. This movement deserves a better class of critique.
UPDATE: A commenter below rightfully notes that that Limbaugh quote deserves it's full context:
"I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark." [3/14/03]
The implication in my post is that Rush was defending slavery. That isn't what he said, and I was wrong for implying it....But not wrong for banning the dude who pointed it out :)
UPDATE #2: It's completely fabricated. Context isn't the issue. He never said it. I should have checked it before attributing it to him. I apologize to Rush Limbaugh.