The liberal media went into quite a tirade Friday after conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made a satirical remark about the Democrats relegating House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to Nancy Pelosi's (D-Cali.) chauffeur when the new Congress convenes in January.
Not surprisingly, MSNBC's Ed Schultz devoted a good part of his program to this issue Friday - filled with accusations of racism, of course - and got into quite an argument with Republican strategist Ron Christie (video follows with commentary and full transcript at end of post):
Readers shouldn't be at all shocked that Christie's take on this issue - that in the full context of the entire segment, Limbaugh's remarks weren't at all racist - was right on. Here's what Limbaugh actually said Thursday:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Have you ever noticed when we end up talking about race it's always a bunch of liberals that are responsible for it, liberals in the media, liberals in the Democrat Party. This morning on MSNBC, The Daily Rundown, the cohost F. Chuck Todd interviewed former Democrat Congressman Martin Frost who's now some wealthy rich lobbyist. He does some commentating on TV. F. Chuck said, "Some speculation that Pelosi is trying to end the fight." This between Steny Hoyer and Clyburn, Hoyer wanting Clyburn to go back to the back of the bus, leadership battle here. "Clyburn has no interest in going down to the next leadership spot." He wants the whole shebang. "They are talking about creating a new spot, is that the right thing?" Here's Martin Frost, a former Democrat from Texas.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARTIN FROST: Here's the thing. The top two leadership positions get a car, a driver. They get more staff. They get security. They get an office in the Capitol.
CHUCK TODD: When it was the three in the majority, did Clyburn also have all that?
FROST: Yes, he had all that. When you're in the minority caucus chair doesn't carry any of the stroke or the perks that it carries even in the majority.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: Do you believe what we have here today to start? We got quarterbacks crying in Miami. We got television people on the air in Philadelphia trying to say that the head coach of the Redskins is a racist, and now we've got the Democrats worried that Clyburn's getting the shaft because he's not gonna have a car; he's not gonna have a driver; he's not gonna have security; he's not gonna have any of the stroke or the perks. That's what this is all about. So last night on PBS, the Tavis Smiley Show, Tavis is interviewing the Washington Post congressional correspondent Paul Kane. You all know Paul. (interruption) You don't know Paul? Fine. So nobody else does either. "You start to hear footsteps of a brown-black coalition that might be lining up behind Jim Clyburn. I only raise that because I am wondering how that might fracture or splintered the Democratic Party in the House, quite frankly, along racial lines."
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL KANE: Barack Obama is starting off his reelection campaign now. He needs to reenergize the African-American vote. All of those first time black voters from 2008, he needs to get that group of people back behind him 110%. He does not want to begin that by kicking the highest ranking black congressman ever out of leadership. That's just a recipe for disaster.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: What's Obama got to do with it? Obama's gone. You know, we're gonna extend the Bush tax cuts to everybody here, where's Obama? Axelrod is out there saying, "Hey, you know what? We have to deal with the reality that is." This means, folks, don't tell me we can't secure a veto of health care. I'll get to this in more detail in just a second, but now Obama's gotta get involved to save Clyburn? Obama's gotta get involved because the white Democrats in the House are gonna throw Clyburn overboard, take away his car, take away his driver, take away his perks, take away his stroke, take away his whatever, and put him to the back of the bus? And Tavis Smiley is in on this now? Last night Tavis Smiley responded to Paul Kane. He said this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TAVIS SMILEY: It's amazing what happens when black and brown people after years of not having any power start to demand some respect; all hell seems to break loose.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: In the Democrat Party. So there you have it. All hell breaking loose in the Democrat Party because now black and brown people, "Tonight we on the inside, we wanna get in there." You have the current white leadership responsible for the biggest shellacking in the history of the Democrat Party, well, since the thirties. You got Pelosi throwing a party to celebrate this yesterday afternoon. Pelosi threw a party at 3:30 to celebrate the achievements. The white racist leadership of the Democrat Party is trying to ace out Clyburn. Tavis Smiley says, "That's what happens when black and brown people after years of not having any power --" now, Clyburn has had power. Clyburn has had power, but they want to take it away from him here. Tavis Smiley is not down with this. Clyburn starts to demand respect and all hell seems to break loose in the Democrat Party. Hey, I have a suggestion. You know, I like to mediate these things. I like to bring people together. I like to unify people. I don't like seeing this kind of strife. Clyburn's worried about not having the car. Clyburn's worried about not having the perk of a big office, driver, and so forth. The way this can all be worked out, Clyburn's new position: Driving Miss Nancy. He gets to keep the car. He gets to go everywhere she goes, parties and everything else. He's not in the back of the bus. He's in the driver's seat, and she's in the back of the car being chauffeured. Solved problem.
As Christie said, in the context of the entire segment, the Driving Miss Nancy remark was by no means what Schultz and others in the media made it out to be.
Limbaugh further explained his point Friday:
LIMBAUGH: The opening of yesterday's program where we quoted, we played audio sound bites, Martin Frost, Democrat, claiming that the race between Hoyer and Jim Clyburn for the number two leadership post in the House is all about a car and a driver and so forth. Well, if you read the media today you would think I'm the one that said that because they are so ticked off over Driving Miss Nancy. There's a website out there, Talking Points Memo: "Even for Limbaugh, this was just beyond the pale. This is outrageous." I didn't do anything but react to what the Democrats are doing and make a little humor out of it. Clyburn, instead of being at the back of the bus let him drive Nancy Pelosi around, if that's what leadership is about in the Democrat Party, perks, a car, driver. Get in the car, let him drive it, Pelosi in the back, Driving Miss Nancy. I knew it was gonna irritate 'em, and it did. They knew it was gonna irritate them, and they let it irritate them. But now you would think that I'm the one who said, not Martin Frost, I'm the one who said that this is all about perks, a car and a driver. Am I bothered by it? No, folks, this is part and parcel of the way things are. I actually love it.
After playing the audio of Todd and Frost from the previous day, Limbaugh continued:
LIMBAUGH: So this is Martin Frost, a former Democrat member of Congress, former leader. He's now a commentator He's from Texas, and he's the one that pointed out: "The top two leadership positions get a car, a driver, they get more staff, they get security, they get an office in the Capitol." I didn't say it. Martin Frost did. So, anyway, I just wanted to illustrate, once again, how all of this takes place and how all of this happens.
Indeed. And as Christie said to Schultz, in the context of the entire segment, what Limbaugh said wasn't at all racist. But you wouldn't know that from all the carping and whining about this issue in the mainstream media.
For those interested, here's the full transcript of this "Ed Show" segment:
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Now, let`s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.
Rush Limbaugh has unleashed his trademark racism on the highest- ranking African-American in Congress, House majority whip Jim Clyburn. And George W. Bush admits he personally authorized the use of waterboarding prompting renewed calls for a criminal investigation.
With us tonight XM Satellite`s black eagle, Joe Madison, one of the most listened to African-American radio talk show hosts in America. And also republican strategist Ron Christie, a former special assistant to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. And the author of the new book, "Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur."
Gentlemen, Rush Limbaugh. I want to let you go first, Joe, what did you make of the comments that we played earlier in the program tonight?
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Racially insulting. And you heard him. I heard them. My audience was so upset they even talked about boycotting Disney because I guess is affiliation with ABC. Look, you know, to sit up there and paint this image of a Morgan Freeman "Driving Miss Daisy," you took a man, Jim Clyburn who won is extremely honorable, one of the most progressive legislators, here is the guy who supported -- went against Bill Clinton when it came to the China trade act because of human rights violations and environmental violations. He stuck with unions. He`s spoken out for working men and women. He was the third most powerful individual and you reduced him in a matter of 45 seconds to a chauffeur. It was racist. Call it what it is and Limbaugh has been doing this and ever since he`s been doing talk radio and why he gets away with it.
SCHULTZ: Ron Christie.
MADISON: I don`t know.
SCHULTZ: Well, he does get away with it. Ron Christie, your thoughts.
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: This is one of those instances that I was actually listening to "The Rush Limbaugh Show" and I`m sure you guys didn`t hear the entire thing before the segment, during the segment and after. In the segment actually referred to a segment, not on a network that we don`t know. It was on MSNBC where they were talking to former Congressman Martin Frost. And Frost said that the leadership battle that`s going on in the House of Representatives right now frankly has been reduced to perks, and whether or not Clyburn, if he is forced from his leadership position, will have to give up his driver, his security detail and of course the car. And Limbaugh said.
SCHULTZ: He referred to her as Miss Nancy, Ron. Come on.
CHRISTIE: Hang on a second, Ed. I will not let you guys try to denigrate him here.
SCHULTZ: Nobody`s denigrating you and you`re not calling the rules on this show. Wait a minute.
CHRISTIE: I`m not calling the rules. I actually listened to the entire segment, Ed. I dare say you didn`t listen to the whole thing. I did.
SCHULTZ: How do you know I didn`t?
CHRISTIE: Did you, Ed?
SCHULTZ: Ron Christie, you do this every time when we challenge you on this program. Now, I`m asking you to be a gentleman about this.
CHRISTIE: As always I will.
SCHULTZ: He referred to her as Miss Nancy. He talked about the back of the bus. Now how do you defend that? He put this on his Web site. Stop parceling out the racism this guy throws out and throw your ideology out the window and tell us how you feel.
CHRISTIE: Well, Ed, and I would say the same thing to you. I don`t like the picture that`s on the screen at all. I don`t. I actually listened to the entire segment which I said that`s why I asked you whether you heard it from start to finish. Let me just say this, if you want to talk about throwing ideology out and racism, it`s frankly ironic that the president of the United States, when he was talking to a group of Hispanics said that if the Republicans want to be in the car of the nation and move forward.
SCHULTZ: I`m not talking about that.
CHRISTIE: .they`d have to be in the back of the car. Ed, you said, if we`re not talking about people being in the back of the bus, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Ron, we are not talking about Rush Limbaugh.
We`re talking about Rush Limbaugh and how he wheels his racism.
CHRISTIE: I absolutely.
SCHULTZ: From time to time and how do you support that?
CHRISTIE: As a gentleman from one gentleman to two others, I would say to you for having heard the entire segment in its context, he was making an allegorical reference that the whip, the current majority whip of the United States House of Representatives, if he was being pushed out of his leadership position, it was a former democratic member of Congress saying that this was an issue about perks of a car, a driver, and a security detail. My point to you is, if you listen to it from the start to the finish, he was not being racist in his intent.
SCHULTZ: You know, Ron.
MADISON: Can I jump in here?
CHRISTIE: He was not being racist in his intent in my opinion.
MADISON: Can I jump in here for a moment?
SCHULTZ: Not being racist, wow.
MADISON: Can I jump in here for a moment? And I`m going to tell you, I usually don`t try to get angry but, Ron, let me tell you something, he didn`t talk about Nancy Pelosi wanting the perks. He didn`t talk about Steny Hoyer wanting the perks. He didn`t talk about Boehner wanting the perks. They`re the same darn position, but yet when it came to an African- American, all of a sudden he wants the perks. Now I`m going to tell you something, Ron, I love you, I respect you. But quit being on an apologist. This was a racist comment. He reduced this man and his position and all he`s done to a chauffeur. That is racist.
CHRISTIE: My affection goes back to you equally.
MADISON: And I don`t have anything else to say. That`s it.
CHRISTIE: Let me finish my point.
MADISON: You`re double talking.
CHRISTIE: Equally the same but as you`ve said.
MADISON: You`re double talking.
CHRISTIE: Rush was saying that.
MADISON: Oh, Rush was -- insulted him.
CHRISTIE: Sometime this was a deal that related to the perks, not Rush.
MADISON: Oh, Ron.
CHRISTIE: That`s what he said.
MADISON: I swear. I wish I was on satellite radio because I got a real -- I got one of those whoopees choice words to use and you`re full of it.
CHRISTIE: Well, gentlemen, I`d only wished, and Ed I challenged you this from the outset. If you had heard the entire segment, Rush was not trying to be a racist.
SCHULTZ: How do you know I didn`t?
CHRISTIE: There are too many people who are trying to play the race card. The far more racist that the president of the United States says that the Republicans should be in the back of the car of the nation when Rosa Parks was so brave with her bravery of what she did and the first African-American president of the United States wants to call Republicans worthy of sitting in the back. That is racist and no one has challenged the president on that and that`s pathetic.
MADISON: It wasn`t to be challenged.
SCHULTZ: Joe Madison, Ron Christie, great to have you with us tonight.
CHRISTIE: Take care, gentlemen.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your time. Thanks for being on, you bet.