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Rush: The Messenger

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Who does Rush Limbaugh think he is, Don Imus? You may remember CBS sacked Don Imus over an on-air racial slur in 2009. Rush Limbaugh made Imus sound polite with a sexist slur, calling a Georgetown student “a slut” and “a prostitute.” Rush does not work for CBS. His program is on Clear Channel, which coincidentally is owned by Mitt Romney’s old company Bain Capital. Rush is proud of himself, too. “That [comment] has sent them into orbit! Pelosi’s in orbit and Sheila Jackson Lee. They’re still talking about it on the House floor.”

Sandra Fluke testifiesHere is that comment. “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex – what does that make her?” Limbaugh said. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.” Then he added, “She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.” He continued the riff, “She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

Rather than outright condemnation, timid Republicans try to remain mum about Rush Limbaugh’s defamatory comments. National Republican Senatorial Committee vice-chairman Carly Fiorina called Limbaugh’s language “insulting,” “incendiary,” and “a distraction.” House Speaker John Boehner called his words “inappropriate.” However, such cowardly commentary demonstrates GOP antipathy toward the national good, which they rarely if ever mention. That has been replaced by a debate about contraception that Speaker Boehner calls “an issue must win.”

At a time when Republicans are being reviled for waging war on women, Limbaugh is not helping them.

Republican presidents have invited Limbaugh to the White House. He has been given honorary titles, is praised by conservative magazines, and defended by conservative bloggers. He has a host of apologists who insist that his radio personality has conservative cachet and that he is the leading voice of conservatism. He gets away with being coarse and his audience loves it. He has become wealthy and Republicans seem to fear him.

He thrives in controversy, especially when he creates it. Hardly repentant, the next day he stood by his statements and mocked the President. “The president called her toPresident Obama calls make sure she’s okay,” Limbaugh said. “What is she 30 years old? Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.”

His words are costing Rush his sponsors. Quicken Loans founder and owner Dan Gilbert announced on Twitter, “Due to Rush Limbaugh’s inflammatory comments along w/valuable feedback from our clients & staff, Quicken Loans has suspended ads on his show.” The Citrix computer systems company announced, “We have listened to our customers & have decided to cease our advertising on The RUSH LIMBAUGH Show immediately.” Two other sponsors, Sleep Train and Sleep Number, also announced that they had pulled their ads from the show. More sponsors are expected to pull their ads as well by customer reactions.

Can Sandra Fluke sue Rush Limbaugh, as Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has suggested? That legal action could be taken since Fluke is a private citizen and not a public figure, such as an elected official or an entertainer. The problem is that Fluke is an “involuntary public figure” as the result of publicity about her testimony, even though she did not want or invite the public attention.

As a messenger, Rush did not comment on an issue. He objectified women and slandered a person. I cannot imagine what action I would take if Limbaugh called my daughter “a slut.” But if that is the voice of conservatism, I will not listen to it. Any of it.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    El B –

    Good point.

  • Well, Doc, then your book has terrible standards. If Rush had come back the next day and said he crossed the line, that would have been fine. But he didn’t. He kept on for three days, getting nastier to spite the reaction he was getting. Then when he started losing sponsors and likely heard from those above him. He apologized for a couple of his word choices. But he’s not sorry about what he said or it wouldn’t have gone on so long. He’s sorry because he’s been forced to say he was sorry. If the person is insincere, then why care that an apology was given?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And go Canucks – they’re the closest thing I have to a hometown hockey team, and if what happened last year is any indication the fans have lots of attitude, so…go Canucks!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Zing –

    I’m not saying “Go Rick Go” and lay off of Limbaugh because of any touch-feely nice feelings on my part – I would call them both a waste of human flesh, but since that would not be in accordance with my personal code of conduct, I won’t do that – see?

    No, I think the greater the hold those two have over the GOP, the greater the victory we Dems will have in November.

    Go, Rick, Go! Ditto, Rush!

  • Zingzing

    He’s just waiting. Conservatives are a virus. Vancouver has been my team for years, but I should go with the rangers or minnesota, or maybe carolina. But the Canucks have my heart ever since NHL ’95 on super nintendo. I am loyal. My brother played Toronto. Fuck toronto.

  • Jordan Richardson

    We do indeed have a conservative, but he’s nowhere near as overtly batshit as some of the lunatics coming out of that Asylum down there.

    Go Canucks indeed. One point out of first, baby!

  • Zingzing

    Hey, Jordan… Remember it’s only half of us that are dumb, ignorant fucks. That part of America does not make the whole. And you have a conservative… Whatever you use. Prime minister? It’s Canada, so no one cares. Go Vancouver canucks! I love Vancouver.

  • Zingzing

    Now, now, Glenn. Let’s not get complacent. Whomever the GOP nominee is, we’ve all got to go out and do our best to form a human landslide over his corpse. Fucker.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s also good for our nation, Glenn. We could always use another good laugh at your expense. 🙂

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Now, now, I really think we should all forgive Rush and encourage all his advertisers to go back to him. I really think that would be a good thing for the nation, just as Rick Santorum winning the GOP nomination would be good for the nation, too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Bingo, Glenn. Guy’s a classic abuser in many ways. He only gets leeway because he’s got a platform afforded to him by other knuckle-draggers who think his shtick is amusing/enlightening.

  • Zingzing

    That link Glenn provided is ridiculous. Rush acts as if how much sex you’re having relates to the pill. The thing has to be taken regularly to be effective and he seems to believe that has nothing to do with it. It’s pure ignorance. Has he never gotten laid?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    But you know what?

    I think we should ALL get off Rush’s back about this. Yes, absolutely we should! Of course, this wouldn’t be anything related to the reasoning I want Rick Santorum to be the GOP nominee…of course it wouldn’t….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Doc –

    Here’s “70 sexist smears by Rush Limbaugh”. Granted, some of them aren’t bad, and many of them are against celebrities…but it’s enough to show a pattern of conduct.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    No? How many times has he pseudo-apologized in the past? Several. And not a one of them has been sincere.

    btw, I have heard Ed Schultz give a sincere apology.

  • Point taken, Jordan, but this is not that extreme a case.

  • Jordan Richardson

    An apology is an apology in my book and should be accepted, however insincere.

    Seriously? So when an abusive husband apologizes for the 800th time after smacking his wife around, apology accepted? Sincerity is everything when it comes to apologies, Doc.

    Rush is an abusive asshole and refusing to “howl about it” only lets the rotten bastard continue to get away with this type of nonsense.

  • Zingzing

    He’s been doing this same thing again and again for years. He can apologize, but there comes a time when you have to say enough’s enough, and I guess that’s what it’s come to. Besides, he’ll probably make out alright. He definitely knows what he’s doing. He’s a misogynist prick, but that’s part of why he’s famous and will have a job as long as he wants to. Hopefully, the right won’t lionize him anymore though. If all they have is old white men on their side, they’ll fall apart.

  • Tommy, El B, Glenn:

    An apology is an apology in my book and should be accepted, however insincere. The manner in which the apology is given says a lot about the person giving it, but continuing to howl about it sinks to Rush’s level. Not to mention that it just gives ammo to conservatives whining about witch-hunts.

    The irony, of course, is that Ms Fluke is now a cause c�l�bre and will probably not be allowed to return to being a private citizen. Any future personal attacks on her will therefore be fair game, as she will now have become a public figure…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hey – El B and I agree on something! Wonders never cease….

  • You understand wrong if you think either the written statement over the weekend or the one he gave on his show were sincere apologizes.

  • Commenting on an issue is different than slandering a person. Limbaugh purposely directed his words at a person. He apologized for his words. He did not apologize to the person. He defamed the person. He did not apologize for the defamation.

    Clear Channel Network’s has attorneys who have dealt with Limbaugh stunts in the past. They doubtlessly directed him to issue an apology in name. I am sure that they are also looking at his contract as well, since it expires in 2016. The question they will be looking into is whether or not Limbaugh has damaged Clear Channel, which could constitute a breach of that contract. His advertiser cancellations may have weight in that matter.


  • When Limbaugh makes comments like the one that caused a lot of hoo-hah just after Obama’s election in ’08, in which he expressed a hope that the president “failed”, or something to that effect, I think he’s quite entitled to make them. He’s a Republican and Obama is a Democrat pursuing Democratic policies which Limbaugh naturally thought would be detrimental if implemented. Fair enough.

    This, however, was not cool. A private citizen expressing an opinion, even as an issue advocate, should not expect to be subjected to personal insults by a high-profile media figure.

    As I understand it, Limbaugh has now apologized and that ought to be the end of the matter. Hopefully both parties are mature enough to dust themselves down and move on.