The Spectacle Blog

Haiti and Political Hay

By on 1.15.10 | 8:33AM

Two quick thoughts on progressive politics and the tragic situation in Haiti:

1) The usual suspects on the left have pounced on remarks by Rush Limbaugh, accusing him of telling listeners not to donate to Haitian relief efforts. In point of fact, if you listen to what he said in context he was making two separate points, both of which are true.

The first point Limbaugh made was in response to a caller who asked why he should donate to Haitian relief through the White House -- as President Obama has suggested -- when he could donate directly to the Red Cross for that purpose. Limbaugh pointed out that donating through the White House would likely get you on mailing lists for political contributions in the future. Does anyone, anywhere doubt that this is true? At no point did Limbaugh discourage donations to the Red Cross.

The second point Limbaugh made was also true: Historically, Haiti has been an rat hole for economic aid. The money does the people little good, and it tends to be skimmed by a perpetually corrupt government.

In other words, Limbaugh told two truths. The juxtaposition of them, however, enabled Limbaugh-haters to construct a false paraphrase: Limbaugh says don’t help the people of Haiti. He said nothing of the sort.

2) Given the agonizingly slow pace of getting rescue workers and equipment on the ground in Haiti, why is no one asking that familiar question: Would the relief effort be quicker if the people of Haiti were white?

Think that question would be wafting across the airwaves if Bush were still president?

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