Among the things that conservative firebreather Rush Limbaugh deservedly loathes, it's sanctimony from an ostensibly neutral news anchor.
Gwen Ifill, moderator of "Washington Week" and co-anchor of "PBS NewsHour," was among the panelists who appeared on "Meet the Press" this past Sunday. The discussion inevitably turned to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the civil unrest that followed. (Audio clips after the jump)
Guest moderator Chris Jansing asked Ifill if President Obama "should do more" and Ifill promptly downplayed his significance (audio) --
JANSING: Certainly the reaction in the community and the interviews that we heard, the fact that the attorney general went there, what he had to say, his own personal experience that he shared about being a young black man and being stopped, helped to calm the fears. But there is a question that's still out there, Gwen, about whether the president should do more, questions raised about the tone of the remarks he made. What do you think is the president's role in all of this?
IFILL: I think that we get caught up in, the mayor (referring to fellow panelist Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta) used the term layering, layering on our issues. In Washington, we're used to layering on questions about governance and process and what happens next before the grand jury and what happens next with, you know, the trial, we like to cover it like a soap opera. But there's something else that's been exposed here which no president, no attorney general, can get to, which is there's this bruise that we keep poking at in this country about race. We don't know how to deal with it unless there's a flareup. What we've seen is that we're dealing with it again and again, you can name the list of names that sparked it.
But also more important is watching what's happening behind it. There's a new civil rights movement which has sprung up. We've been looking backward 50 years for the last couple of months, of 50 year signings of bills and laws. These young people in the streets, these young people who created a social media movement around Michael Brown, they're not saying pass a law, they're saying enforce the current ones.
Except, of course, those against rioting and looting. More from Ifill --
They're not saying we're going to wait for a single, singular leader to tell us which way to go. They're saying we're going to lead ourselves. And there's something which we can't miss in what feels different to me than Trayvon Martin, it feels different to me than Rodney King, these are all situations in which justice was questioned. But it feels to me like Americans, not just African-Americans, are picking themselves up and saying, the first pictures we saw out of Ferguson, the common response was, is that America? And I think people are saying, let's address that, let's address ourselves and not expect one person to figure it out.
As I recall, liberals for years proclaimed Obama to be that "singular" leader, a man uniquely capable of healing racial divisions at home and the planet as a whole simply on the wings of his celestial rhetoric. How painful for them to finally realize that he's James Buchanan and not Nelson Mandela.
Limbaugh wasted little time mocking Ifill's remarks by asking the same question in response to the endless horrors from the Obama administration (audio) --
Gwen, let me tell you something -- when I discovered that Obama wants to grant amnesty to 12 million (illegal) Americans, that's when I asked myself, is that America?
When I saw the IRS specifically targeting conservative groups and denying them tax-exempt status, when I saw the federal government being used as a weapon against a particular belief system, I said, it that America? That's when I asked, is that America?
When I learned the full breadth and scope of Barack Obama's desire to totally change the American health care system, which is the finest in the world, and when I watched a woman on ABC prime-time TV ask the president if he would permit her mother to get life-saving surgery when she was 99 years old, that's when I said to myself, is that America? I can't believe this! A citizen is actually asking the president if her mother will be allowed to get live-saving surgery under his health care plan and then he says, no, give her a pain pill! That's when I started asking myself, Gwen, and a lot of other people did too, is this America?
When our ambassador in Benghazi and three others were murdered in an attack on our consulate and I heard the president and the secretary of state blame it on a YouTube video that nobody had ever seen, that's when I said, is this America?
When I saw the president propose his stimulus package of nearly a trillion dollars for shovel-ready jobs that was going to get the economy going and start hiring people, wait a minute, you can't, is this America?
And when I saw these jobs summits at the White House with columnists and reporters from the New York Times as lecturers, at a White House summit on jobs, is this America?
Gwen Ifill, my point is, a lot of people have been asking, is this America? Is that America?, long before Ferguson, Mo., happened.
To which I'd add, "Is that America?" is the liberal version of a tea partier demanding, "I want my country back."