Any idiot, except Rush Limbaugh, apparently, could identify Rush’s outrageous, uncivil, mean-spirited, and ignorant (does he really think a woman has to take more birth control pills the more she has sex?) rant against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke (who testified before Congressional Democrats to advocate insurance coverage of contraceptives) as indefensible. That is why I wasn’t going to insult anyone’s intelligence by stating the obvious by posting to that effect. But a commenter here reminded me of the Ethics Alarms post about Bill Maher’s misogyny when he called Sarah Palin a “dumb twat” on his HBO show, and I decided that it should be made clear that as despicable as Maher’s statement was, Rush’s was worse.
Yes, Maher’s words were uglier than Limbaugh’s, as El Rushbo only referred to Fluke as a “slut” and “round-heeled.” Sarah Palin, however, is a public figure. It is unfair and repulsive to insult her purely on the basis of her gender, but at least she is fair game to a political comedian like Maher. Fluke is a private citizen and student, properly participating in our system by testifying before Congress. For the nation’s highest-rated radio personality to attack her character and dignity in such personal and vile terms goes beyond unfair and cruel to outright bullying. It also smacks of intimidation,and an attempt to discourage political speech. Rush should have no defenders, None.
However, Democrats demanding that Republicans condemn Limbaugh’s remarks are over-reaching wildly. Republicans are not responsible for what Limbaugh says; I don’t see Democrats running to condemn the vicious nonsense commentators like Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann spew out on a regular basis, nor should they. If Democrats want to establish a tradition of party accountability for what partisan performers and talking heads say, it’s not too late for Nancy Pelosi and President Obama to condemn Maher for the “dumb twat” comment, and he just gave a million dollars to Obama’s Super-Pac.
Forget about the grandstanding efforts to tar Republicans with Rush’s crude incivility. Nonetheless, to any conservative or Republican—elected official or commentator–who does condemn Limbaugh’s attack on Ms. Fluke, I say…
Good, bravo, and thanks.