It's like a Kafka story, really

A late-breaking development in the Limbaugh-Emanuel-Palin Retard(ed) Imbroglio of '10 (or LEPRIOT, as I will now call it).

[Side note: We have scintillatingly inept DC-area local news teams. During our recent insane snowfall, the local news broadcast (ineptly) around the clock. There were thousands of risible technical difficulties ("Oh, sorry. We can't seem to connect to Chuck reporting from outside Pizza Palace in Alexandria. Let's go to Eleanor in Bethesda...oh, no. Can't reach her either...Here's some footage shot by a viewer stupid enough to be driving out in the snow." etc). Some of the most enjoyable TV I've seen in a while. What amused me most was they kept calling the storm "The Blizzard of Oh Ten." But I digress.]

So the latest claim in LEPRIOT is from Sarah Palin (h/t Andrew Sullivan). Not only did she brush off Limbaugh's use of "retard." She denied it.
I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel has been reported, did say that. There’s a big difference there. But again, name-calling, using language that is insensitive, by anyone, male, female, Republican, Democrat, is unnecessary. It’s inappropriate. Let’s all just grow up.

Here's what Limbaugh said:
Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards. I mean these people, these liberal activists are kooks. They are looney tunes. And I’m not going to apologize for it, I’m just quoting Emanuel. It’s in the news. I think their big news is he’s out there calling Obama’s number one supporters f’ing retards. So now there’s going to be a meeting. There’s going to be a retard summit at the White House. Much like the beer summit between Obama and Gates and that cop in Cambridge. (Emphasis and disgust at immaturity mine)
Actually, he did indeed call a group of people with whom he does not agree "retards." And he went one step further. He actually called cognitively disabled people "retards." On what planet is that not actually MORE insulting?! Only Planet Palin.

Which is the Kafkaesque bit. Sarah Palin has it set up so any criticism of her redounds to her credit. You can try to argue something, point out where she's wrong, point out her mistakes. Use logic. And nothing will ever get through. I think what conservatives don't understand is it is THAT which drives progressives so insane. Not the hunting. Not being pro-life. But the inability to even have a conversation that makes sense; to use similar standards of judgment about claims that are made. She actually has different truthmakers!


  1. *sigh*

    The important phrase in Rush's remarks is I'm just quoting Emanuel. Read what you quoted; when he uses the words "effing retards" he's not expressing his opinion! And for the life of me, I can't see where he calls any cognitively diabled person a retard. Could you point out where you think this happens? Thanks.

  2. "Retard summit." You're welcome.

  3. Re: your last paragraph -- Bingo.

  4. Elizabeth, please help me out a little more. Who are the cognitively disabled people being referred to in the phrase "retard summit?" My understanding is, like the Gates-Crowley summit (beer summit), the Pres. would get Emanuel and activists together in an attempt to make peace. I wasn't aware that any of the activists were actually cognitively disabled.

  5. They were: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/02/rahm-takes-pledge-not-to-use-rword.html. Ricardo Thonton definitely is. Not sure about Julie Petty, but it does say she's a self-advocate.

  6. GJ, how would you explain the first sentence of the quote Elizabeth posted? He refers to calling "people who are retards" by that term. I do not understand your confusion.

  7. OMG. So, and let me get this straight, the people Mr. Emanuel called "f**king retards" included actual cognitively disabled people? So how the hell does he avoid the plank? If Mr. Limbaugh is guilty of calling the cognitively disabled 'retards', a fortiori Mr. Emanuel is guilty of at least the same offense.

    Dan, I took it as the sense I felt Mr. Emanuel used it -- a nasty term for people he strongly disagreed with -- and so I understood it as I understood the "people who are kooks" line. I had no idea that Mr. Emanuel mocked the cognitively disabled, and so I had no idea Mr. Limbaugh did as well.

    How can either of you possibly argue that Mr. Emanuel should stay on as CoS? Would you defend him if he called someone a 'nigger' or 'macaca'? I condemn Rush for doing what he did, but G-d's little fishes in trousers, we should demand higher standards from the President's CoS than we do for some private citizen, even if said citizen has a radio program.

  8. OK, GJ, I'll give this another shot, then I'm calling it a day. Consider this my "retard controversy" swan song.

    When people use a word like "retard," they give us evidence that they are assholes. I happen to think there is compelling evidence that Rahm Emanuel is a raging asshole. I count it an argument against entering politics that one frequently has to deal with assholes such as Emanuel in that particular milieu, and must pretend to like them.

    However, we don't expect people to resign because they are assholes. If we did, the greater DC metro area would suffer a real estate crisis the likes of which we have never seen.

    If Emanuel had said "I think we should cut funding for retard assistance programs," then I would be loudly calling for his ouster. But, in the (assholish) manner in which he used it, it was something of a dead metaphor, in that he did not mean it to refer to the genuinely mentally handicapped.

    When people use the words "nigger" or "macaca," on the other hand, they only use them to describe members of racial minorities. The racist connotation (if not a metaphor per se) is very much alive, and one can reasonably assume that if a person uses "nigger" to describe someone, that person is likely to be racist, and harbor racist views that are anathema to our current social and political norms, as well they should be. That person has no business being in public office.

    Now, when Limbaugh used the term "retards," he did so in the phrase "people who are actually retards." He used the term qua a description of the mentally handicapped. And he did it specifically to inflame and offend, since inflammation and offense are like oxygen and water to him. Do I think he should "resign"? No. What I think should happen to him is too uncharitable to post in a public forum.

  9. gj is just being willfully obtuse. Rahm said it in a private conversation, the asshole Rush on public radio, Rahm apologized profusely (lets not forget that David Axelrod has a special needs child and I am sure he gave his own hell to Rahm) Rush reveled in his chance to say it.

    Rush is just a obscene pig and Sarah Palin is a world class ditz. Why anyone would defend either of these idiots is beyond me, Rush for it being a pig and Sarah for her contortions of logic.


  10. Why is racism bad? Because a person can't help being Black, or Asian, or White, it is just in their genes. But cognitive disability is also a genetic problem. People can't help being what their genes program for, and to mock them for something that is beyond their control is wholly uncivilized.

    Defend Mr. Emanuel if you wish, but in my humble opinion, he is no better than some bigot who uses niggar or faggot to mock people he hates. While I think he ought to be forced to walk the plank, if Team Obama keeps him, well, let's just say they are probably going to see more of the same awesome effectiveness that the Administration has displayed for the last year.