AARP's Position on Social Security

Much Ado About Rush Limbaugh

On Saturday, a reader named Barbara left a comment saying she had hoped I would have something to say about Rush Limbaugh's attempted smackdown of Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke. Half a dozen others emailed with a similar request. So because there has been hardly any other news to read, see or hear, this is what I think (in way too many words).

Let's get the Constitution out of the way up front. Aside from a handful of exceptions recognized by the courts, in the United States all speech is allowed without government restriction or penalty. I am a First Amendment absolutist and I would, if necessary, defend Rush Limbaugh's statements in regard to Sandra Fluke.

That doesn't mean his words were not awful, contemptible, fetid, grotesque, loathsome, monstrous, odious, repellent, repulsive, repugnant, scummy, sexist, unspeakable and vile (shall I go on?) as is the man himself. But that's not new information.

(I am not going to repeat what Mr. Limbaugh said in regard to Sandra Fluke. If you've been under a rock since last Thursday, just Google Limbaugh.)

What enrages me as much as Limbaugh, however, is the tepid response from Republican leaders. A spokes person for John Boehner (not Boehner himself) said the House Speaker

“...obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation.”

The best presidential candidate Mitt Romney could come up with was, “it’s not the language I would have used.” (I cannot resist asking if that means Romney thinks the misogyny okay, only the words were poorly chosen.)

Here's what Rick Santorum told Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

“Well, he's taking - you know, he's being absurd. But that's, you know, an entertainer can be absurd. And - and he's taking the absurd, you know, the absurd - absurd, you know, sort of, you know, point of view here as to how - how far do you go? And, look, I'm - he's - he's in a very different business than I am.”

Newt Gingrich allowed as how Limbaugh was “wrong” to call Ms. Fluke a slut and a prostitute.

Ron Paul thought Limbaugh's words were in poor taste:

"It sounded a little crude the way it came across to me," Paul said. "I don't know why it has to be such a political football like this, so you have to ask him about his crudeness."

Inappropriate? Absurd? Entertainer? Wrong? Crude? Good god. The men who want to be leader of the free world are all brushing off a recitation of profound hatred of women like it's a social faux pas.

Personally, I think their responses show that they rank Rush Limbaugh's imprimatur of them way above the status and stature of women. If I were inclined to vote for any of them, these answers alone would disabuse me the notion.

Many liberal and progressive groups along with various social media called for Limbaugh sponsors to withdraw their advertising from his radio show and by the weekend, many had done so: Sleep Train, Sleep Number, Legal Zoom, Citrix, Quicken Loans among them.

I'm not impressed. Rush Limbaugh has a long history of vicious bullying, accusations and degradation of people he doesn't like. My question is why any company pays money to be associated with him. I guess 20 million “dittohead” listeners trump honesty, integrity and principle.

However, pressure on Limbaugh – or his advertisers – apparently gathered enough strength that by Saturday, the man issued an apology – if you can call it that. Here it is as it appeared on his website – every self-serving word of it:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

“I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

“Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

“Chose the wrong words?” “Absurd? “Humorous?” Don't you believe it. Rush Limbaugh said exactly what he intended to say and he and his 20 million believe it is acceptable to talk in this manner about women. This was no apology.

By the way and as an aside, it irritates the hell out of me that almost everyone in the punditry class makes a big deal of the million women in the U.S. who use oral contraceptives for conditions unrelated to birth control - as though that makes such use more acceptable or honorable than when used to prevent pregnancy.

There is nothing wrong with women engaging in sex as often and with as many partners as they want; frequency and slutitude are not synonymous and who cares if they are.

But I digress.

It appears to me that this ado will blow over. For reasons that are a mystery to me, Republican politicians grovel at Limbaugh's feet and do not dare to cross him. In 2008, then-Republican Party chairman Michael Steele apologized profusely to Limbaugh after criticizing him. Others have crawled up to lick his boots after their own transgressions.

Plus, take the case of Don Imus. In April 2007, he made terrible remarks of a racial nature against the mostly black players of a women's basketball team.

Sponsors pulled out of his show. Like Limbaugh, Imus apologized dishonestly and inadequately. Within days, he was suspended and then his show was canceled. But by December, eight months later, Imus was back on the air where he remains today.

If Clear Channel Communications, the company that syndicates Limbaugh's show, cancels him, I have no doubt he will be back on air long before the end of the year with, undoubtedly, many of the same advertisers. (By the way, it amuses me that Clear Channel is owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital.)

If you have watched any of Sandra Fluke's media appearances, you know she will be fine. She is a smart, level-headed woman imbued with a natural dignity who, I have no doubt, instinctively understands that Rush Limbaugh stepped in it this time and he cannot, did not harm her.

UNRELATED NOTE ON TOMORROW'S SUPER TUESDAY PRIMARY: Thanks to once-a-decade redistricting by a Republican state legislature in Ohio, two worthy Democrats are in a bitter fight against one another for their party's nomination for Congress from the 9th District.

There will be only one winner between Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur and that is a terrible loss for Congress.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: What Makes Me Laugh


AMEN, Sister!

I think I will go to the pool and take care of me.

Well, said!!! Ohio was gerrymandered brutally . There are attempts to fix it in the works but it takes time. I, of course, am outraged.

Limbaugh has once again shown us his true character, and his regular listeners are "ditto-head-ing" their character to us as well.

It seems as if a lid has been lifted off of too many men's age-old sentiments about women and the slime inside that awful pot is now being hurled into the air.

Women's health care, women's birth control, women's sexuality, women in general, well, why in the world don't we just sit down and shut up and be subservient like in the good old days when men ruled everything.

I think we're seeing a big push-back against women and the strides we've made. It's not just Limbaugh, of course. Witness the weak responses from the Republican candidates. Limbaugh just seems to be the terrible mouthpiece, saying what too many men appear to think but are scared to say outright like he does.

When will it stop? Do we have to go through again what we've already gone through?

Heaven help us.

I, too, believe that freedom of speech is a right that must not be weakened, but, to use the old analogy of shouting fire in a crowded theater being an exception to that freedom, I think public slander should be another exception.

Okay, it is not an exception and Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he wants, but Sandra Fluke has the right to sue him for slander and I think she should take advantage of that freedom. It might discourage future diatribes like the one we are talking about.

By the way, have you noticed that the media are no longer talking about the fact that the Republican party has not come up with a single proposal to solve the unemployment crisis? They are so good at changing the subject.

(Love the adjectives you used to describe Rush's words, Ronni. I think I will copy them for future reference.)

Your writing skills never cease to amaze me and I always learn new facts such as Clear Chanel being owned by Romney's Bain Capital. I have emailed this blog to many friends even though you you feel it will blow over and, hopefully, this issue will have an impact on the election.

My guess is it's what Rush said after the initial slur, his doubling down on it by suggesting the co-eds make sex tapes for his pleasure, that did him in with some sponsors. It's unfortunate that it's being buried under the one slur. The initial one is bad enough as it labels him a misogynist but the second one labels him something worse. I think the right wing wants that second part to be lost. Three days of that is out there though to prove him for what he is and it's a user and degrader of women. Any woman who doesn't kowtow to his dictates is a feminazi.

If you can believe it, one of the right wing pundits said Rush only apologized to save the conservative movement. Noble to the end, that's Rush or how some want to paint him. His talk of sex tapes and the audience who loves that talk, it's where you see the lowness of this man and his followers. It's a very ugly bunch. The question is how many of them really are there?

We're in a sorry state when 20 million or more people invest their time in listening to Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. I'm doubtful that there's much that can be done for people who have given up thinking for themselves and mindlessly absorb such drivel. The last time I remember hearing him on the radio was more than 20 years ago, when I was helping process a mass mailing. Someone had brought in a radio to help pass the time. I had never listened to the man before that, and I remember there was a young boy, maybe 9 or10, who had called in and was talking about getting rid of mice at his house. He said something about trapping one in a drawer and killing it with a hammer. Rush thought that was pretty funny and they both had a good laugh. I was sickened by him then, and I see that nothing about him has changed. Although I have chosen not to listen, I am aware of his reference to assertive women as "feminazis" and his ignorant criticisms of protection of endangered species and other environmental concerns. I wish everyone would just turn a deaf ear to him and let him dry up and blow away on his own.

Rush is a festering sore that never heals but keeps producing puss long after a sane person would stop picking at it and move on to something else.

Rush and Donald Trump are the two most important faces of the Republican party. How any woman or latino could vote for anyone, anywhere who calls him or herself a member of the GOP is beyond me.

Amen, Brother!

It's the old double standard, he makes the woman wear the Scarlet Letter. Did he mention the male students? It takes two to tango.
Shut him down

Bob, you forgot Grover Norquist, who appears to be the true leader/backbone of the GOP. I don't much enjoy listening to language that slurs anyone, so I'm shaking my head - listening to either side - when I hear something I know is over the line of civility, illogical, or taken out of a context that clarifies what was intended. Limbaugh is entitled to his bitter belief system, but he has no right to slur an individual.

I'm not certain if it's true, but I heard that he's had four wives and no children...

Birth control??

Nicely stated Ronni. And though you briefly hit on Clear Channels' connection with all of this I think they condone any remarks he makes as along as their profit margins don't tank.

I've got a post coming out on my blog tomorrow that goes after Clear Channel on this since they are essentially his boss.

Right on Ronni. Equal parts passion and logic. Powerful and persuasive.

During the nationwide crackdown on indecent material following the 2004 Super Bowl, Clear Channel launched a "self-policing" effort, and declared that there would be no "indecent" material allowed on the air.

Where is Clear Channel's "policeman"? The first day's comments were reprehensible, the second's simply lascivious and pornographic.

Redistricting - the 2010 election will go down as the single biggest mistake of the Obama administration - the first term, anyway. (Bombing Iran would trump that many many times.) It will define the direction of the country for the next ten years and beyond.

I call it an Obama mistake because of his infernal passivity and bipartisanship. If he had fought back instead of trying to accommodate the right wing I do not believe the election would have been such a disaster on so many levels.

Sorry for my rant. Just reading/hearing the word sets me off.

I refuse to dignify that awful man by being surprised by anything that comes out of his horrid mouth.

"Humourous" is a code word a person with certain values uses to permit other persons to use a bludgeon, and get away with it.

Beware of the riot police! Richmond is lending them out to any misogynist.

Same sentiments, different words sounds much like there is no problem with the concepts.

It's the only logical conclusion from such remarks.

I have been trying to figure out why redistricting is President Obama's fault. States do the redistricting.
Also trying to figure out what makes some people blame everything bad on Obama without crediting him for the good things he has accomplished.
I will be kind and not share my conclusion.


Rush Limbaugh isn't the only misogynist!!

Did you know there is a war on women?

Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened.

Considered against the backdrop of what is going on around the country, a virtual war on women: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/transvaginal-ultrasounds-coming-soon-state-near-you
it's clear that something is amiss. Also, please consider the single thing that improves the lives of women in Third World countries is access to birth control. It improves their health, education, economic status, the health of their children. This is about much more than one bloviating blowhard.

I, too, finally went off on Limbaugh today. I've had it up to here with him and the conservatives who won't denounce him. Your list of adjectives makes mine look ... less than adequate. But honestly, I've about run out of adjectives for those perpetrating the current war on women.

I seldom agree with George Will on anything other than baseball but here I found myself agreeing with him when he berated the GOP for being such weaklings when faced with the rantings of Rush Limbaugh. “[House Speaker John] Boehner comes out and says Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using the salad fork for your entrée, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff,” Will said. “And it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”

For the first time in my life, I went to Rush Limbaugh's website. He puts transcripts on there of his radio broadcasts and I read some of them.

His manner of speech sounds like he is trying to hypnotize mildly sedated people. I'm not kidding--it was fascinating. He says these simplistic things, in a sing-song way, over and over. Some of his statements are misleading propaganda almost to the point of being out-and-out lies, but it comes across like he is talking down to young children or someone who is not very smart. Go look for yourself!

I'd say you outdid yourself on this matter and described the whole situation perfectly.

Whats-his-name doesn't make common sense, or any other kind of sense, I realized years ago when I listened to his words. Scares the heck out of me that so many people in this nation take his views seriously.

The real shame is that Rush was so lamebrained, and the issue of freedom of religion got lost in the agitation over a girl smart enough to get into Georgetown Law School, but so stupid she could not find a clinic where these pills are handed out free. BC clinics can be found everywhere in DC. Dianne (graduate of Georgetown University 1977)

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