News & Politics

Sarah Palin Lets Rush Limbaugh Off The Hook for “Crude and Demeaning” Comments About “Retards”


Last week, Sarah Palin was appalled that President Obama was, she said, making light of Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word “retards” by letting him keep his job. Obama, she said, was “doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic.” When it comes to long-time supporter Rush Limbaugh, though, Palin’s not so much into pointing fingers…

Palin announced on her facebook page that she was for zero tolerance in the case of Emanuel

Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking…

As my friend in North Andover says, “This isn’t about politics; it’s about decency. I am not speaking as a political figure but as a parent and as an everyday American wanting my child to grow up in a country free from mindless prejudice and discrimination, free from gratuitous insults of people who are ostensibly smart enough to know better… Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

But then Greg Sargent, of the Washington Post’s Plumline blog, contacted Palin’s spokeswoman Meg Stapleton to ask about Rush Limbaugh’s response to the Emanuel controversy. Which response was, specifically, this:

First place, there’s Rahm Emanuel out there who is in big trouble for calling liberals, for calling liberal activists F-ing retards. Sarah Palin demanded that he be fired. Instead, he is apologizing to liberal activists. He was getting mad at them about health care. The liberal activists kept blaming the White House for all this health care debacle not happening and not getting done. Emanuel’s getting ticked off out there saying, (paraphrasing) “What are you blaming us for? We didn’t do anything about it, you F-ing retards.” I think the big news is the crack-up going on. But our politically 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. I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m just quoting Emanuel. It’s in the news. I think the big news is that he’s out there calling Obama’s number one supporters “F-ing retards.”

Which, you know, let’s leave aside the fact that a guy who went deaf abusing drugs is saying that someone else’s political opinions are kinda like an involuntary cognitive dysfunction, shall we? And move on to Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton’s response to Sargent’s question, which was

“Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”

And the crowd goes wild. But not completely in a good way, at least if you’re Sarah Palin, who (on the brink of the Tea Party Summit, where Ted Nugent is her opening act) faced a number of stories about her “feud” with Limbaugh.

Anyway, Stapleton certainly wasn’t happy with the situation, because she went racing to Fox News to tell them that Sargent was being wildly partisan to interpret Palin’s condemnation of Limbaugh as a condemnation of Limbaugh

The Washington Post is trying hard to take the pressure off the White House by creating a side controversy, but it is missing the point: as the Governor has said, it doesn’t matter who says the “r” word: it should no longer be part of our lexicon

Sargent takes exception to the implication that Palin’s statement didn’t specifically refer to Limbaugh:

As you know, the Sarah Palin camp is claiming that yours truly misrepresented her quote yesterday about Rush Limbaugh’s repeated use of the term “retard.” Her spokesperson is now saying that she wasn’t singling out Rush and that I falsely presented it as a response to the talk show host…

So here’s the email I sent to Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton asking for comment directly on Rush’s “retard” crack

Palin has also embraced moderation in the case of Dave Carney, a campaign consultant for political ally Rick Perry, who apparently also uses the r word a lot.

In fairness, given the things the press could be asking her camp about, Palin’s probably best off going with this.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 6, 2010


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