Rush Limbaugh Makes Me Sad.

Rush Limbaugh is happy that Obama is having political troubles, which is as it should be. But this remark is kind of odd:

"This is the first time in his life there is not a professor who can turn his C into an A, or to write the law review article for him he can't write. He is totally exposed. There is nobody to make it better," Limbaugh said.

Does Limbaugh really think that Obama just isn't that smart, and he got where he is because people gave him a pass? You'll recall that conservatives also like to mock Obama for the fact that when he has a prepared statement to read, he uses a teleprompter. He does this in some situations, like at the start of a press conference, when previous presidents would read the statement off pieces of paper placed at the lectern. Yet those conservatives who like to joke about this take his preference for looking up at his audience rather than down at his lectern as evidence that Obama isn't smart enough to talk extemporaneously.

It would be no use to offer evidence that Obama is, in fact, a pretty smart guy. I doubt Limbaugh believes that he isn't -- it's just a handy opportunity to call Obama an affirmative action hire and poke at his white listeners' racial scab, the one that tells them they're the real victims of racism, that their troubles come from the fact that unqualified black people who can't get good grades or write well are being pushed ahead by the liberal elite. But why is it that more of those listeners, or other sympathetic conservatives, don't say, "C'mon, Rush -- I agree with you that Obama is a dangerous socialist, but you can't say he's a dummy."

Some do, of course. But when you look at things like the Daily Kos poll of Republicans and see that only 24 percent will answer "No" to the question, "Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?" and only 36 percent will answer "No" to the question, "Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people?", it can make you question whether anytime soon it will be possible to have a reasonable public debate about anything.

-- Paul Waldman

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