Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama's Lies: Part Three of ?

Last week, Barack Obama began broadcasting a vicious advertisement in four red states, all of which have large Hispanic populations. Over and above the bald-faced lie it is attempting to propagate, the ad employs a foreign language to engage in race-baiting and character defamation.

For those who don’t know, Rush Limbaugh is one of John McCain’s harshest critics and was especially critical of McCain’s support for last year’s immigration bill – the one often described as an amnesty bill. But despite the fact that Limbaugh and McCain could not be farther apart on that issue, the ad seeks to convince non-English-speaking Hispanic voters that they agree on it. Even worse, the ad strongly suggests that Limbaugh and McCain are bigots. Its goal is to make the targeted voters suspect the GOP of being the party of racists.

So what specifically does the ad entail? For starters, it purports to quote Limbaugh by displaying two incomplete sentences wildly out of context. The first is taken from a program in 1993 during which he criticized one of NAFTA’s provisions. What he actually said at the time was: “If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south…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.” However, Obama’s ad only displays the words “stupid and unskilled Mexicans.”

The second quote is lifted from something Limbaugh wrote two years ago, in which he pointed out that Mexico, unlike the U.S., requires immigrants to possess a certain amount of savings before entering the country; requires them to have certain work and language skills before entering; restricts their freedom of speech; restricts their freedom to purchase land; denies them social benefits, etc. At one point he mentioned that Mexico’s laws amount to that nation telling those who immigrate to it: “You’re a foreigner, shut your mouth or get out!” But of course, Obama’s ad only displays the words “shut your mouth or get out!” – and it does so right after displaying the “stupid and unskilled” snippet, so that viewers will think Limbaugh was telling Mexicans to shut up or get out of America.

So Obama’s slander troops went through two decades of Limbaugh’s comments looking for evidence of bigotry, and all they could come up with were two non-bigoted remarks that they needed to misrepresent in order to create the impression they wanted.

And although McCain has spent 26 years in the House and Senate, they apparently could not find a single remark of his that could even be misrepresented to suit their needs...for the next step the ad takes after suggesting that Limbaugh despises Hispanics, is to imply that McCain also despises them, but it does this without even bothering to quote any words that have ever left McCain’s mouth. Instead, it just states that he changed his mind about the immigration bill, leaving Spanish-speaking viewers to conclude that he is in league with Limbaugh – and to conclude that he must be a bigot since Limbaugh said Mexicans are “stupid and unskilled” and that they should shut up or get out.

The problem is, McCain did not change his mind. He remains in favor of the bill and Limbaugh remains against it. McCain’s only change of heart is that he now says he would make border security part of the deal because the American people have expressed that border security is their main concern. So after opening the ad by tossing a net of slander so wide it falls on each end of the Republican spectrum, Obama misstates the positions of two men by alleging they agree on a topic about which they are diametrically opposed.

The fact that this ad is broadcast only in Spanish makes its underhandedness all the more disgraceful. Its target audience is a segment of the population that is especially vulnerable to misinformation and very unlikely to hear any corrections that might be made after the fact. Remember, the states in which it’s running all went red last time: Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida. If this ad causes just one of those states to go for Obama this time, it will very likely decide the election for all of us.

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