About two-three years ago, I made the switch, pretty much, from listening to Rush Limbaugh, to listening to Mike Gallagher. Combination of several factors: one, Rush’s program isn’t as fun, or interesting, as it used to be. He’d deny it, but he’s changed the program and taken out a lot of the stuff that was fun (he used to have “updates” all the time…duhdelup, duhdelup, duhdelup; now he hardly has any). He’s so partisan that he sometimes drinks Kool-Aid for the Republicans (though not nearly as much as some folks think, because he’ll criticize Republicans just like he will Dems). And it’s gotten tiring to hear of him talking about social issues, because let’s face it: Rush has failed, not once or twice, but three times, at the most fundamental social contract that we ever entertain. It just harms his credibility. Oh, I’ll still listen sometimes, but I’m a good bit more discerning than I used to be.

I ditched him in favor of Mike Gallagher. Gallagher is more fun; he’ll take on a wider variety of topics; he doesn’t always “toe the party line”; he’s a genuine nice guy.

And I’m beginning to wonder if he’s a kook.

Today’s show sent me over the edge. He was talking about Mrs. Bill Clinton, and he played, over and over, a line she used (over the weekend) in talking about Barack the Wonder Boy. She said, and I paraphrase, that people had to decide if they wanted to vote for someone who was certainly a motivating speaker, but who hadn’t done the spade work, or someone who, I guess, had the experience necessary to lead (that’s laughable, but I’ll leave it alone).

Gallagher goes off on a silly rant about the term “spade work”, suggesting that Mrs. Bill was using “spade” as a coded term to speak derogatorily of Obama’s race. He went further and suggested that if a Republican had used the term, he’d not have gotten away with it, but that Mrs. Bill had been given a pass by the MSM, because nobody, apparently, besides him was making a big deal out of it. But he gave himself away when he admitted that he didn’t even know what the term meant.

I tried to call in, several times, because as cynical as I can be at times, “spade work” is just a term, Mike; you not knowing what it meant is an embarrassing revelation. But further, you using it to suggest something racial is just cynicism taken to its utterly silliest conclusion. I almost never side with Mrs. Bill Clinton, but when she said that Barack Obama hadn’t done the spade work, she was saying (correctly) that he lacked experience. Nothing more, and nothing less, Mike, and to suggest otherwise makes you sound off-the-deep-end conspiratorially kooky.

Maybe there’s a reason, Mike, that nobody else is making a big deal out of it: it’s nothing. Zero. Zilch. Take a chill pill, Mike…

7 responses »

  1. jim h says:

    Using the word “spade” in refering to any black person is fine – if you are a Democrat. Think if Rush had used the term in the same manner. There would be a call for his head.

  2. Byron says:

    Yeah, you’re right, Jim, if Rush used the term “to refer to a black person”. And deservedly so. The problem, though, is that it takes an extremely, over-the-top unwarranted leap to suggest that Mrs. Bill’s use of the term “doing spade work” was somehow a reference to Obama’s race. That’s just silly, and jaded as I am about Mrs. Bill Clinton, I can’t go that far. Gallagher admitted he’d never heard the term—if he’d stopped there, or even stopped there and said, “is it possible she’s speaking in race-code”, that’d have been one thing, but to take a term with a clear meaning (“spade work” is the behind-the-scenes, preparatory work done for planting, or by extension, the preparatory work done for any endeavor), one that many adults use, and then vest it with some racial meaning on the basis that it contains a word that is used on occasion as a racial slur, is just nuts.

    And if Rush had used the exact same term in the exact same context, and some loon on the left had tried to make it a racial thing, it’d have been laughable.

    Just as it is when Mike Gallagher does it.

  3. Jack Brooks says:

    It’s the difference between a “secret plan” theory vs. just pointing out the double standard. There was some sports commentator who got booted because he described the way some black football player scrambled on the field as “a little monkey.” Boot! Out he went, even though the black football player during that play indeed did scramble like, well, like a little monkey. Sure, it was thoughtless, but the guy probably doesn’t believe that black people are monkeys, or that it’s OK to call black people “apes” or other such derogatory terms.

    So HRC uses the phrase “spade work” in ref. to BO. How many younger people today (compared to Archie Bunker’s generation) even know that was a common racial slang term for black people? What are the odds that the Clintons, of all people, would use racist code-lingo with reference to a fellow Dem (let alone a black Dem), knowing that their entire party likes to tar and feather imaginary racists as a sport, let alone go after real ones? Her candidacy is sliding toward the edge of Wile E. Coyote’s cliff, and the Obama-ites are about to push her over to her final “poof”.

    I don’t think Gallagher is a kook. I think he’s trying to make mischief — plant suspicions into the minds of any liberals listening, like Chef Skinner thought Linguini was doing in Ratatouille: “Oh, I see the theatricality of it all now! Is the rat there, or isn’t he? Is he there? Is he there?” (snapping fingers maniacally; great movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it).

  4. jim h says:

    I am positive there was not intent other than to refer to “hard work” in using the term “spade work”. However, it a perfect example of the double standard at work in the msm. Had any one to the right of center used the term, the media would have jumped on the story and Rev. Sharpton would have appeared on Hardball demanding an apology or a firing.

  5. Byron says:

    I don’t know, you guys might be right, and I agree that there is a double standard, no doubt. That said, Mrs. Bill didn’t use the word “spade” in such a way that I can believe it was intended to be anything racial at all, as you say, and I’m not sure that just using the term “spade work” would have gotten a conservative in trouble, but I could be giving too much credit to the lefty race-baiters. Probably am. “Niggardly” got a guy fired, even though it only sounds like a bad word, so…

  6. enjoyed your post, byron, even if it comes at the expense of being accused of “kook” status — one of the follow-up posts nailed it, i was more focused on the inevitable double standard than any “code” for racial matters. c’mon, you don’t remember what happened to george allen or trent lott? there was nothing obviously racial about either one of their publicized comments but the mainstream press crucified them. you honestly don’t think that a republican would suffer a similiar fate in using the word “spade” when referring to obama? and is “spadework” a common reference in the political arena? hardly.

    anyhow, someone forwarded me your blog and i’ve enjoyed it very much. keep refusing to drink the kool-aid!


  7. Byron says:


    First, I’m honored that you’d take the time to write, and I like your show, usually. “Kook” is a little strong; thanks for being a good guy. Of course I agree that there’s a double standard, but here’s my argument vis a vis George Allen (and I tried several times to call you!): Allen used a slang word to refer to the individual; he called him a name. Now, I couldn’t have identified what a “macaca” was, but a.) it was a derogatory name of some sort, and George knew it when he used it, even if he didn’t intend a racial/ethnic slur, and b.) George should have had more sense than to use a word of which he didn’t know the meaning.

    Trent Lott, while I think he was innocent in the sense of meaning anything racist by his remark, at the very least should have thought before he spoke, but yeah, I agree that that was massive left-wing media overkill.

    But “spadework”? That’s not a term one hears all the time, but I’ve heard it before on more than one occasion, and my opinion is that simply uttering the word “spade” in that context (not, of course, in the context of calling someone a name) would either not have garnered a response, or would have been rapidly dismissed even by liberal critics who’d have seen it as grasping at straws.

    Then again, GWB got in trouble for calling Barack Obama “articulate”, so maybe you’re right. I actually think that that might be a better parallel than the George Allen case, because as I said, Allen did call the guy a name, even if he didn’t mean it racially.

    But hey, I don’t drink the Kool-Aid for anybody, not even you, Mike Gallagher! 🙂

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