I find it hard to come to the conclusion that what Limbaugh said was racist. But I find it much easier to conclude that what he said was dumb. From what I understand — and I haven’t been a close football fan since the late 80s — McNabb is much less of the affirmative action baby Limbaugh’s analysis would suggest. That doesn’t mean Limbaugh’s comments are outrageous, but if you’re going to bring race into one of the very few areas in public life today where merit and colorblindedness are pretty much the rule, you should really have a clear-cut case. Teams have stuck with underperforming white QBs before without white privilege being the issue, presumably — the shortage of black QBs notwithstanding — a black quarterback can be given an extra chance without white guilt being the motivation.
Again, I don’t follow the sports beat enough to say whether Rush’s comments about the media in particular are right, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. And how that comment could be construed as obviously racist is beyond me. After all commentators on the left, right and middle have partially attributed the success, popularity or favorable media treatment of all sorts of people — Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Jesse Jackson — to race plenty of times. The taboo here wasn’t about race alone, it was about sports and race. Because in the athletic realm both the left and the right believe the standard is merit. To suggest otherwise, as Rush sort of did, is to sully one of the few areas normally free of such stuff.
As for the Democrats feeding on all of this: What else do you expect from the party of opportunism?