The Barack Obama campaign has a new Spanish-language ad that features racial demagoguery and a distortion of Rush Limbaugh quotes. You can see the ad here:
"They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance," the television ad's announcer says in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appears onscreen with quotes of him saying, "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified" and "Shut your mouth or get out."
"They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much," the ad continues. "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 radio ad goes on:] "Don't forget that John McCain abandoned us rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party. Many of us were born here, and others came to work and achieve a better life for their families -- not to commit crimes or drain the system like many of John McCain's friends claim. Let's not be fooled by political tricks from John McCain and the Republicans. Vote so they respect us. Vote for a change."
This isn't the first time that Obama smeared Limbaugh, and there's much to discuss about this ad. First let's deal with the misleading Rush quotes. The first quote is actually from 1993 (link):
"If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs NAFTA is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."
The Obama campaign misquoted Rush by omitting the context; the context certainly doesn't show Rush in a good light, but it's far different from what the Obama campaign is trying to do: pretend that Rush said that all Mexicans are "stupid and unqualified". The BHO campaign is lying.
The second quote is just as bad; it was actually from a satire in which Rush proposed a series of draconian immigration laws, only to reveal at the end that those were the actual laws of the Mexican government (link). "Shut your mouth or get out" was actually his distillation of one of Mexico's laws; see for instance this example of meddling foreigners being ejected from Mexico. For video of Rush's satire, see this.
And, the first quote referred to "Mexicans" in the sense of "Mexican citizens who live in Mexico". Democrats frequently have trouble understanding the fact that (according to our laws), Mexicans can't vote in U.S. elections. Only U.S. citizens can, including those of Mexican descent. Certainly, those U.S. citizens of Mexican descent will sympathize with actual Mexicans, but some in the former camp look down on, say, illegal aliens. Obviously, to the BHO campaign there's little difference between an actual Mexican and a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent.
And, of course, some segment of immigrants do come here to engage in criminal behavior, and all those in the U.S. receive a wide range of public benefits. Those who are low-wage workers - the great majority of illegal aliens from Mexico - do take more than they pay in. And, the crimes committed by immigrants would not occur if they weren't here in the first place. As is their habit, the BHO campaign is trying to shut down a discussion of vital matters rather than having an open debate.
As for who's helping Barack Obama spread his lies:
* The first link is to an Ed O'Keefe post at the Washington Post. Needless to say, he just passes the ad on without doing what I did: spend a few minutes searching. Please write the WaPo and ask them to stop helping BHO lie: ombudsman *at* washpost.com
* Ben Smith of the Politico likewise can't be bothered to do even basic research; he also refers to the largely non-existent "anti-Immigration wing of the Republican Party":
* Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune (mdsilva *at* tribune.com) also can't be bothered to do simple searches:
* Eric Kleefeld is yet another searchophobe:
UPDATE: Rush comments on this here; he also calls Obama a liar who took Rush's quotes out of context.
UPDATE 2: The end is nigh! Worthless hack Jake Tapper fact-checks the ad and the BHO campaign's response to his concerns, finishing by saying "the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad" (blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/from-the-fact-1.html).
* Mori Dinauer passes along the lies (prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=09&year=2008&base_name=lightning_round_fiorina_gets_w)
* Jeralyn Merritt does the same, only worse (talkleft.com/story/2008/9/17/172619/529)
* Alex Koppelman comes close, but does including Rush's objections to the ad (letters.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/09/17/obama_limbaugh/view).
* Eunice Moscoso of the Austin American Statesman does provide the McCain camp response to the ad (defending their previous support of amnesty, a support that continues) but fails to note that the BHO campaign lied. A comment I left has not been approved (link)
* Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal includes some of the response from Limbaugh here, but also downplays the extent to which the BHO campaign took the quotes out of context. A quote I left was deleted; I left it again and that might be deleted as well.
* Beltway lightweight Ana Marie Cox links to the Tapper piece, but fails to note that taking quotes out of context was involved, only saying "An ad attempts to tie McCain to some particularly unpleasant Republicanness [in this case, a closed borders approach to immigration], but it turns out McCain was not at all associated with that particular nastiness." (link)
* Kathleen Hennessey of the Associated Press discusses a BHO campaign stop and works this in as well: One [BHO] commercial airing in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado links McCain to comments apparently hostile to immigrants made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. (link)
UPDATE 4: Even a day after Jake Tapper called the ad misleading, others are valiantly struggling with the truth.
* Tim Gaynor of Reuters offers "Controversial Obama ad revives immigration issue". He includes the muted response from McCain and correctly points out that, at the end of day, BHO and McCain are basically on the same page on this issue. However, Gayner completely fails to point out the problems with the quotes. A comment I left was not approved. (link).
* "shovelhood" shows the level of thinking at DailyKos by noting that Rush says the quotes were taken out of context... then using other quotes in an attempt to show that Rush is a racist and without dealing with the quotes in the ad. Whether that's an intentional attempt at distraction or an issue with the thinking processes of "shovelhood" isn't clear. Some commenters don't care about the ad being misleading, but a couple do seem to expres qualms about the BHO campaign lying (dailykos.com/story/2008/9/18/154144/680/122/602969).
UPDATE 5: Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post - the blogger who first started promoting BHO's lying ad - offers a bit of a non-correction correction in "McCain Camp Decries Obama Spanish Ads" (link), which links to both Rush's comments and those from Tapper. I suppose the latter were key; when another member of the "club" points out that you've promoted a lying ad you just have to admit defeat.
UPDATE 6: The end is nigher! In an editorial, the New York Times says"Mr. Obama's retaliatory ad, also in Spanish, was just as fraudulent. It slimed Mr. McCain as a friend and full-bore ally of restrictionists like Rush Limbaugh, even though Mr. Limbaugh has long attacked Mr. McCain's immigration moderation. It quotes Mr. Limbaugh as calling all Mexicans stupid and ordering them to "shut your mouth or get out," which he never did.".
UPDATE 7: Rush offers "Obama Is Stoking Racial Antagonism" here. This has provoked a new round of those willing to lie for Obama at any cost to whatever reputations they had.
* Digby (digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/black-kettle-by-digby-limbaugh-is-so.html) offers "Black Kettle". It uses the "shovelhood" technique (see above) without even acknowledging the bit about the BHO campaign taking quotes out of context. The quote she provides as a distraction from the original lies is probably taken out of context as well.
* Jonathan Stein from MoJo links to the Rush piece, and continues to take his second quote out of context. (link) Unbelievable? No, just in line with his previous "thinking".
* Adam Serwer first admits that the quotes were taken out of context and that' was "stupid". Then, he launches into the "shovelhood" technique (link).
UPDATE 8:Joe Klein offers "Take It Down, Barack" (link). Klein is such an obsequious hack that even Jake Tapper calling BHO out wasn't enough. It took a far greater authority to spur him to action: "The New York Times editorial board--once again calling a lie a lie--slams both McCain and Obama for their Spanish-language ads about immigration policy. I've given up any hope of McCain running an honest campaign, but if Obama really wants to present an honorable alternative to McCain's non-stop sleaze, he should take down his immigration ad immediately."
UPDATE 9 (9/22/08):
* Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune (mdsilva *at* tribune.com) - even after all the above - continues trying to help BHO lie (swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/09/john_mccain_immigration_reform.html) by saying "McCain's Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, has been going after McCain lately on immigration -- attempting to tag the Republican with radio's Rush Limbaugh and intolerant words that the talk show host has had for immigrants in Spanish-language ads airing in hotly contested Western states."