Rush calls for segregated busing

My word, could it be any clearer that conservatives want to wind back the clock?

Published September 17, 2009 7:36PM (EDT)

There he goes again.

On his show today Rush Limbaugh called for segregated busing, justifying it as necessary in "Obama's America." Raw Story has a good write-up of the comments:

Referring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”...

Limbaugh’s comments came after a called complained to say that local law enforcement said the attack probably wasn’t racially motivated. The incident had been hyped by the conservative Drudge Report, which posted a video of the fracas.

“Police initially said the beating of the white student by two black students appeared to be racially motivated,” the Associated Press wrote. “But police on Tuesday backed away from that.”

“In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, ‘Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” Limbaugh also said. “I wonder if Obama’s going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard.”

Comparing school bullies, whatever their race and no matter how out-of-line their behavior, to a Harvar professor, whatever his temperament, is simply absurd. Kids beat up other kids in school all the time, unfortunately. Not as viciously as this, grant you. But not caught on tape, either.

Calling for segregated busing is such a regressive, even revanchist view I'm not sure even what to say about it. Perhaps Limbaugh will clarify that he meant segregation of kids who have a record of violence on school grounds from the rest of the student body. (Note that he merely said "segregated," not "racially segregated.") But we all know that the historical meaning of "segregated" busing means segregating by race.

So it's just stunning to hear him suggest this, even in passing. How long before Limbaugh or some other talk radio host cites the recent--and, yes, appalling--ACORN scandal as justification for a return to when African Americans couldn't vote?

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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