Rush Limbaugh's bid to become a partial owner of the St. Louis Rams failed Thursday, after the NFL-- and many others --expressed concern that the radio host's incendiary commentary about race wouldn't be good for the league. Columnists on the left joke that his rejection is a perfection demonstration of the free market at work, while the right replies with accusations of a political witch hunt. The latest:
  • Gotta Love the Free Market Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is not a known cheerleader of the Chicago School. But he says it worked just fine for him this week. The Rush controversy, he assures, is "about the free market and individual rights -- which I thought conservatives were supposed to worship." Robinson lists some of Limbaugh's offensive remarks, which include referring to Native Americans as "injuns," but he seems to do so for good measure only. Then he's right back to savoring the success of the free market again. "That's the way the free market works in this great country of ours. I know that Rush will join me in a chorus of 'God Bless America.'"
  • The Right Is Being Marginalized The editors of The Wall Street Journal say it's not racism, but Limbaugh's "outspoken political conservatism" that liberals want to censor. "Rush Limbaugh lets his listeners blow off steam and then get on with the rest of their day. But if the people who claim to worry about such things want to see a truly angry right develop in this country, they should continue to remain silent while the left tries to drive Rush Limbaugh and others out of American political life."
  • Touchdown, Capitalism At The Root, David Swerdlick says the markets have spoken, and suggests that conservatives swallow the "bitter pill" of their own medicine. "Just like Limbaugh's business depends on white male angst, football is a business that aggressively markets--and guards--a product dependent on black male talent. Limbaugh's ouster wasn't censorship. It was a cartel sensing they'd hitched their wagon to the wrong ass."
  • A Conservative Witch Hunt  The editors of the National Review calls the attack against Limbaugh "hateful," and says it's part of Democrats' "McCarthyism" against conservatives. "Baseless accusations of racism are modern Democrats' McCarthyism. And one cannot help but notice that other critics of the Obama administration, such as those who rallied against its health-care power grab over the summer, are being denounced by the same slavish media as racists." Limbaugh isn't racist, they write, but was "punished" for talking about race in ways that were "unexceptional and obvious."
  • The Real Outrage Should Are the Fake Quotes Attributed to Rush  At The Wall Street Journal, James Taranto admits that "Race is a subject about which many Americans are highly sensitive," and notes that "Limbaugh does talk about it in ways that, depending on your point of view, are either refreshingly edgy or obnoxiously inconsiderate." But Taranto says the most despicable aspect of the incident is the false quotes that the mainstream media have mistakenly attributed to Limbaugh. "Those journalists who have attributed fake quotes to Limbaugh have not only done him wrong but have fallen short of the most basic professional standard," he writes. "They owe Limbaugh an apology, and they owe their audience a correction."
  • It's Not About the Politics, It's About the Racism   At The American Prospect, Adam Serwer tries to cut through the noise. "The players and NFL officials who spoke up didn't complain that Limbaugh was a Republican, they didn't even complain about his 'views.' They complained about actual things he said about black people that made him an inappropriate candidate to own a team in an organization with such a large contingent of African Americans." Serwer says conservatives are too often "incapable of identifying actual racist behavior." And he's unimpressed with the debate so far. "While the right was focused on debunking racist things Limbaugh didn't say, they pretty much ignored Limbaugh's record of racist commentary, which includes not only a habit of comparing black athletes to gang members but a general hostility toward black people."