Limbaugh’s latest smear

LIMBAUGH’S LATEST SMEAR…. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears that Rush Limbaugh is blisteringly stupid when it comes to race and ethnicity.

Rush Limbaugh baselessly asserted of Sen. Barack Obama: “Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood?” Limbaugh continued: “He’s Arab. You know, he’s from Africa. He’s from Arab parts of Africa…. [H]e’s not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American.”

Limbaugh concluded his little rant by telling his audience, “Everything seems upside-down today in this country.”

The irony was rich.

As Media Matters reported, this “Obama is actually Arab” line has been making the rounds in right-wing circles, and has been featured in a variety of conservative settings. It’s also demonstrably ridiculous.

First, it’s probably worth noting that Obama is not “Arab” “from Africa,” he’s American from Hawaii. (You know, the place Cokie Roberts mocks for being “exotic.”) Second, his father is from Kenya, and Kenya isn’t an Arab part of Africa. Third, “African American” generally refers to black people in the United States of African lineage. “The last thing that he is is African American”? Please.

But let’s not overlook the point here — far-right hacks aren’t quite done with the smear. The efforts to label Obama “Arab” is just the latest twist in a larger effort launched by those motivated by fear and bigotry.

“Everything seems upside-down today in this country.” Especially for those who listen to right-wing radio.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.