For two decades, going back to the Willie Horton ads of 1988, we've heard liberals accuse Republicans of race-baiting. Throughout this campaign, there have been endless whispers, suggestions and outright accusations that GOP could/would play the race card because Obama is half-black. Now Barack Obama has found his bizarre version of Willie Horton, and it's . Rush Limbaugh.
Obama sneakily tried to air a Spanish-language TV ad telling Latinos that Limbaugh thinks all Mexicans are stupid, Mexican immigrants should all shut up and go home, and that Limbaugh and John McCain are identical twins on immigration.
None of it is true. Now when Obama talks about reaching across the aisle and healing a divided Washington, we'll fall to the ground laughing.
How far we've come since January, when moderate McCain won in South Carolina, and the liberal media were declaring that this showed that Limbaugh and his right-wing views were politically dead. Tom Brokaw huffily declared on "Meet the Press" that McCain's win showed Americans had rejected "dogma" and were a "nomadic herd" hungering only for "solutions," something conservatives apparently can't offer.
What Obama was trying to do in this ad, obviously, was play to racial fears. "They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance," the ad announcer proclaimed in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appeared onscreen with quotes of him allegedly saying, "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified" and "Shut your mouth or get out." The announcer added: "They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much."
From there, the Democrats turned to tie this phony cartoon of Limbaugh to McCain: "John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote, and another, even worse, that continues the failed policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families."
The script first broke into the national media on a Washington Post blog called The Trail. It was first corrected on an ABC News blog by political reporter Jake Tapper. The mangled "Mexicans are stupid" quote came from 1993, during debate over the NAFTA trade agreement, when Rush suggested that America shouldn't worry about losing low-skill jobs: "let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."