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Rush Limbaugh offered some thoughts on race in "Obama's America," where black kids, he said, get cheered for pounding white kids. Limbaugh was responding to charges that anti-Obama criticism by Joe Wilson and others is race-based. He pegged his argument to an incident in Illinois, where a black student attacked a white student on a school bus. Limbaugh said:

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives. [...] I wonder if Obama's going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard.

Limbaugh also suggested a return to segregated busing. The reaction has been swift and sharp from the left and the right:

  • Andrew Sullivan: "There is no nuance or doubt here. This is a man who wants a race war. Until the GOP throws him out, they deserve oblivion. He's a racist through and through, and if no one on the right stands up to this, they are complicit"
  • Jesse Taylor: "Why is it so much easier for so many conservatives to get angry about Communism and czars than it is about actual bigotry that has an actual impact on their lives? Simply put, it’s because Communism and czars are big fake things that they’ll never have to worry about having any impact on their lives. It’s easy to take responsibility for keeping dragons from burning down your home, because dragons don’t exist and you can do whatever crazy shit you want while claiming absolute anti-dragon success."
  • Rod Dreher: "But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He's plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people? I won't have anything to do with it, not even tangentially."
  • Megan McArdle: "Race-baiting is not a team sport that anyone should want to join.  And I assure Limbaugh, from vivid memory, that horrible bullying also took place in Ronald Reagan's America, and every other America since at least 1978."
  • Conor Friedersdorf: "And finally, note the hypocrisy. Mr. Limbaugh accuses others of exacerbating racial tensions and obsessing about race. Sometimes he is right to do so. Yet here he is obsessing about race and ratcheting up racial tensions. It is difficult to think of hypocrisy more abhorrent."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.