Rahm Emanuel has been rightly criticized for his description of liberals activists as “f—ing retarded”, including a call from Sarah Palin for him to be fired as White House chief of staff.
“Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities — and the people who love them — is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.”
That’s just what you’d expect when it comes to the self-styled “friend and advocate” of special-needs families. Of course the fact that Emanuel’s comment enabled Palin to criticize her political opponents had nothing to do with it.
Palin also appeared to have taken a dim view of Rush Limbaugh’s repeated use of the word “retard” in discussing the Emanuel controversy on his radio show.
Here’s some edited highlights of Limbaugh’s “satire” for those that missed it. The full transcript is also available .
“But our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are “retards,” “retards.”"
“So now there’s going to be a meeting, there’s going to be a “Retard” Summit at the White House.”
“Obama is taking a short bus, little yellow bus full of “retards” — “F-ing retards” — to Las Vegas for the weekend.”
Limbaugh was clearly taking the opportunity to draw attention to the inappropriate language used by Emanuel, but his obvious revelry in doing so suggests, and the following discussion with a caller to the show demonstrates, that he simply does not get it.
CALLER: The reason they were so offensive is because by using the term “retarded” or “retards” as a term of opprobrium or derision is insulting to all persons with mental disability… I just felt as though your comment, it seemed to me to underline the idea that the insult was to the Democrats, and it’s not, the insult is to the people with disabilities.
RUSH: No, no, no. I know the insult is to retarded people but those are not my words.
Either way, as Palin’s spokesperson stated “it doesn’t matter who says the “r” word: it should no longer be part of our lexicon”.
“I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with “f’ing retards.” And we did know that Rahm Emanuel — it’s been reported — did say that. There’s a big difference there.”
She’s right, there is a big difference between someone using an off-hand remark, albeit a highly inappropriate one, in a private conversation and then apologizing for doing so, and someone repeatedly using a phrase they apparently understand to be offensive in order to score cheap political points.