By MARCUS FELDMAN
With the 2012 presidential election approaching, Rush Limbaugh has stepped up his efforts to “otherize” President Obama, engaging in dog-whistle politics intended to push the idea that Obama is foreign to the American experience.
In 2008, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote of a deliberate effort to exaggerate differences between Obama and other Americans, with the goal of “de-Americaniz[ing]” him in the eyes of American voters. This effort, which Kristof described as a “campaign to ‘otherize’ ” Obama, has had many voices, but perhaps none more prominent than Limbaugh.
Since as early as 2007, Limbaugh has attempted to portray Obama’s life story as foreign to the American experience, often exploiting racial and religious prejudice to sow distrust and fear of Obama. Limbaugh’s past remarks include accusing Obama of being “more African in his roots than he is American” and guilty of “behaving like an African colonial despot.” He has also called Obama a “Halfrican American” and questioned Obama’s faith, asking, “Obama says he’s a Christian but where’s the evidence?” Limbaugh also asserted that “Imam Hussein Obama” is probably the “best anti-American president the country’s ever had,” and then a day later trumpeted a poll showcasing the mistaken belief that “Imam Obama is a Muslim.”
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