Rush in the Wall Street Journal

Good choice of venues for his thoughts on what transpired this week. Limbaugh can be clownish at times but this piece in the Wall Street Journal seriously addresses the issues that came up as a result of his bid for the Rams.

After pointing out the dripping hypocrisy of the racialists Jackson and Sharpton, as well as the ignorant smears by sportswriters and NFL players, Limbaugh gets to the meat of the controversy:

The sports media elicited comments from a handful of players, none of whom I can recall ever meeting. Among other things, at least one said he would never play for a team I was involved in given my racial views. My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race? Where football players should earn as much as they can and keep as much as they can, regardless of race? Those controversial racial views?

The NFL players union boss, DeMaurice Smith, jumped in. A Washington criminal defense lawyer, Democratic Party supporter and Barack Obama donor, he sent a much publicized email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that it was important for the league to reject discrimination and hatred.

When Mr. Goodell was asked about me, he suggested that my 2003 comment criticizing the media's coverage of Donovan McNabb-in which I said the media was cheerleading Mr. McNabb because they wanted a successful black quarterback-fell short of the NFL's "high standard." High standard? Half a decade later, the media would behave the same way about the presidential candidacy of Mr. Obama.

Limbaugh is not a racist. He eschews political correctness and speech codes which drives the left absolutely batty. Are some of his real comments (not the made up ones) offensive? I suppose to those who believe that we can't talk about race in any context except if it is discussed using their ground rules and their definitions, he is seen as "divisive" and some of his comments may cross their line of demarcation regarding all things racial.

The exercise of free speech is often divisive. That's the meaningful part of what makes it "free." Liberals who utilize free speech and are divisive are rarely, if ever, called out for it by the media and their fellow liberals. Instead, they are lionized for speaking "truth to power." It is only conservatives exercising their constitutional right of freedom of speech who are lambasted for their trouble.

And Limbaugh pulls no punches in his conclusion:

As I explained on my radio show, this spectacle is bigger than I am on several levels. There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives that reflects the blind hatred espoused by Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson. "Racism" is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don't share the left's agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.
These intimidation tactics are working and spreading, and they are a cancer on our society.

A blind man can see it. By their overuse of the term "racism," the left has cheapened the term to the point that soon, it will be nearly meaningless. Calling people "racists" who clearly aren't - especially when applied to ordinary Americans, will only backfire on the left in the end.

I don't particularly like Rush Limbaugh. But he is dead on right in this article.

Note: It seems that many in the comments are taking me to task for saying "I don't particularly like Rush Limbaugh" and that his antics are sometimes "clownish."

Most believe I should have left those observations out of the article. Among the many thousands of AT readers are some who visit my personal blog and are well aware of my views on Rush Limbaugh and talk radio conservatives in general. Not including my personal views on this issue would have been dishonest -- as someone who, in fact, visits my blog would have no doubt pointed out to me.

Of course, my personal view of Limbaugh did not prevent me from coming to his defense for what I believe were baseless smears. Nor did my disagreements with Rush prevent me from writing that his op-ed in the Journal this morning was "dead on right" about the left and their shameless use of the "racist" tag to attack anyone who disagrees with them.

By the way -- my personal view of Mr. Limbaugh does not reflect the views of the vast majority of contributors or editors at AT.

Update from Thomas Lifson (hat tip: Susan L):
Al Sharpton is threatening to sue Rush over the op-ed. From the NY Daily News:

The civil rights activist, angered by a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece written by Rush Limbaugh, threatened a defamation lawsuit Saturday against the conversative talk radio host.

"Unless Mr. Limbaugh apologizes and clarifies his statements, attorneys for Rev. Sharpton will move forward with a lawsuit," said a statement from Sharpton. Limbaugh lashed out at Sharpton over his failed attempt to purchase a piece of the St. Louis Rams.

Sharpton "played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews 'diamond merchants') and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot," Limbaugh wrote. ...

Sharpton pointed out that he was never in Crown Heights until after the violence that broke out following a traffic accident that killed a young black boy.

And the reverend said the killer in the Freddie's Fashion Mart shootings and fire was a Sharpton critic.

I see this as part of the legal chess game that must be going on now, as Rush evaluates his options.