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Are Republican Politicians Afraid Of Rush Limbaugh?

Not surprisingly, each of the Sunday morning talk shows spent at least some time talking about last weeks’ controversy du jour, the comments that Rush Limbaugh made about Sandra Fluke after her testimony before a panel of House Democrats. Perhaps the best comments, though, came from George Will on This Week who pointed out that the same Republican candidates for President who criticize the President for allegedly not standing up to America’s adversaries (a position that would surprise Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Alwaki no doubt) seemed to be afraid to offend a talk show host:

ABC’s George Will told me Sunday on “This Week” that GOP leaders have steered clear of harshly denouncing Limbaugh’s comments because “Republican leaders are afraid 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.”

(…)

While Rick Santorum said Limbaugh’s comments were “absurd,” he said the radio host was an “entertainer” and “an entertainer can be absurd.”

“No,” Will said about Santorum’s response. “It is the responsibility of conservatives to police the right and its excesses, just as the liberals unfailingly fail to police the excesses on their own side.”

In an ideal world this is would be true, but then in an ideal world it would also be true of people on the left. When was the last time you heard a Democratic politician call out the likes of Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann when they’ve made comments that went over the top? On some level, asking a candidate for President to comment on every stupid thing that a talk show host says is kind of stupid. There are far more important issues that the country needs to be discussing right now and yet the media, always more interested in controversy than substance, doesn’t ask about the economy. They ask about contraception, and they ask the candidates to comment on something that Rush Limbaugh said. Is this really necessary? Do we really need to demand that every Republican denounce something outrageous that Rush said, or that every Democrat denounce Ed Schultz when he used the same word Limbaugh did in reference to Laura Ingraham? On some level I don’t see what it really accomplishes.

At the same time, though, once the question is asked one has to wonder why it was so hard for any of these Presidential candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, to say what should have been said about Limbaugh’s comments about Ms. Fluke. How hard can it be to say that it’s wrong to call a young woman a slut, no matter who it is who said it? Well, as Tod Kelly pointed out last week, the problem for Republicans is that there is now a symbiotic relationship between the party and the Fox News/talk radio propaganda machine that makes it risky for anyone to risk alienating the guys with the microphones:

In the late 90s through the early and mid 00s, the GOP found that it could increase both number of voters and voter passion by aligning itself with a media machine that was initially created to build ratings from shock value. The wide success and popularity of conservative talk radio hosts in general, and of Limbaugh in particular, had already been widely acknowledged as the force that had delivered the house to the Republicans in ’94. Republican heavy hitters as well as Righty wanna be-s began to find that their success in the polls was often directly related to their exposure on these shows, where they were treated as mythic folk heroes. The advent of FOX News took that trend and increased it exponentially with TV coverage. The GOP found, much to its delight, that by using the segment of the media that it controlled, it could continually rally its base and win elections without dealing with the traditional difficulties of having to sell superior policy proposals. Rather than giving detailed stances on what they might do in power, they were instead able to focus on demonizing the opposition to self-selected media people that neither asked them to clarify their own plans or ever questioned the claims about their opponents. In a world as hard and difficult as politics, the GOP found a way to make everything easy.

But, as Terry Pratchett has oft said, the problem with the easy way is that eventually it makes everything so damn hard.

The media business model the Right chose to embrace was based on the shock-radio model. An inherent flaw with this type of model is that while it leads to quick ratings and advertising profits, it can be difficult to sustain. If you spend one week calling the President a liar and an idiot, it’s not going to be long before calling him a lying idiot isn’t really all that shocking. You have to continually push just a little bit more as you go, or risk being irrelevant in the shock-media world. This started happening in the 00s, with the rise into the mainstream of people such an Ann Coulter and Mark Levine. At first you could tell that the rank and file of the right were aware that their envelope was being pushed, but their response was usually some form of the following: “Yeah, Coulter is a little nutty when she says that Democrats actually want the terrorists to kill US citizens, but it’s OK because when she says it it really bothers the liberals.” And so, as time went on and claims became more and more outrageous, the excuse that if things bothered liberals it was OK grew within both the media machine and its base.

Kelly makes a good point when he compares talk radio to shock radio, because there are a lot of similarities. The Limbaugh’s and Hannity’s of the world may not use the explicit language and explicit subject matters that Howard Stern does, but their styles are far more similar than they are different. Both styles have at their core the objective of attracting maximum attention by pushing the edge of controversy and propriety as far as they’re able to, and both have been very successful at attracting listeners. It’s a great way to make a living as a radio program host, and Rush Limbaugh has been successful beyond the dreams of avarice at it. I don’t care to listen to his show, but I give him credit for having a dream and succeeding at it, the same goes for Howard Stern. The problem for Republicans is that, at some point, they chose to ally themselves with this business model designed primarily to attract viewers (rather than win elections). Then when Roger Ailes decided to take a similar model to cable, the marriage become official. Republican fortunes were now tied to a business model built on the idea of using sensationalism to attract viewers. And now we’ve seen the results.

As Kelly goes on to point out, now that the GOP has become so entangled with this media machine, it’s very difficult to get away even when it’s clear that the relationship harms the long term interests of the party. For example, anti-immigration rhetoric plays really well in this media environment, but it’s political suicide in a nation where Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group. The same goes for anti-gay rhetoric.

But, there’s a bigger problem, and it goes to the real reason that Republicans who actually care about the future of their party should be concerned. In many ways, the GOP’s incestuous relationship with the “shock political talk” media machine makes it incredibly difficult for it to do what political parties have done in the United States from the beginning, adapt its message for changing times and changing circumstances. By reinforcing the base’s insistence on ideological purity, the Limbaugh’s of the world push the GOP further to the right in a nation that is, at it’s core, a centrist one. That is not in the long term interests of the party, and one would think Republicans would recognize that.

Kelly concludes:

For a while now the Right has held tight to the belief that if the ratings are high and whatever you do pisses off other people, you must be doing something right. And in a way, they are correct: Battling contraception and calling women that are on the pill sluts that should have to be taped having sex so they can whack to it does indeed increase ratings, and it does indeed piss off other people.  So they’ve got those things down pat.

What it doesn’t do is win elections, contribute to the dialogue we should be having, or make your party particularly relevant. But for what it’s worth, I understand that Obama is thankful. So there’s that.

There’s no doubt that he’s thankful, because when this campaign is over there will be some people saying that last week was the week the GOP lost the 2012 Presidential Election. And they might just be right.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jay says:

    “because when this campaign is over there will be some people saying that last week was the week the GOP lost the 2012 Presidential Election. And they might just be right.”

    Excuse me….I have to go grab my eyes which just rolled out of the back of my head.

    Sorry but it is completely idiotic to think this election is going to hinge on the comments of Rush Limbaugh. A month from now, when people are paying over $4.00 a gallon for gas, they’re not going to give a rat’s ass what Limbaugh said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

  2. @Jay:

    We’ll see. But in swing states where independent voters and women decide elections, even a small shift against the GOP could be enough to put this thing to bed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. anjin-san says:

    A month from now, when people are paying over $4.00 a gallon for gas

    Ah yes, the conservative vision for America. Pray for high gas prices. Can’t imagine why Fox/Republicans are beating the Iran war drums so hard…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    When was the last time you heard a Democratic politician call out the likes of Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann when they’ve made comments that went over the top?

    One of Doug’s famous they all do it. As far as I know none of these gentry ever suggested that say Palin or Coulter was a slut and prostitute that should be requred to appear on live sex shows on TV. Maher went over the top about Palin once and was roundly censured by Democrats. Doug I agree with the general sentiment you’re expressing but this equivalence is phony. This girl could have been your sister or my daughter and Limbaugh went completely over the line and as Will points out Republicans are more frightened of him than the consequences of starting a war with Iran. What’s significant in all this is the way firstly the Republican noise machine leapt to Limbaugh’s defense and secondly the complete cowardice of Republican politicians in the face of egregious behavior.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

  5. DRS says:

    How about this: Limbaugh went after someone who wasn’t in the public eye – not a politician or a spokesperson for an organization or a cause, but a private citizen who testified in front of a committee. Don Imus made the same mistake a few years ago when he insulted a group of college (or high school, can’t remember) girls who had won a basketball tournament.

    That’s over the line. There’s telling truth to power, which all these paid radio-mouths claim to do, and then there’s picking on people who can’t hit back. It really amazed me at the time that Imus didn’t appreciate the distinction.

    And no Democratic politician has had to back down and apologize to Olbermann or any of the other liberals Doug named in his post. A couple of years ago no Republican criticized Limbaugh without having to eat their words. A big difference I think.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  6. G.A. says:

    The GOP has sold its soul.

    lol…Rush Is LUCIFER!!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Btw Doug it was a quite superb piece of analysis by Tod Kelly who I have never heard of before. Interestingly, unlike you, he thinks the entire anti women and contraception issue is going to be a big deal in November. I agree with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Latino_in_Boston says:

    There’s one more crucial difference between anyone on the Left and Rush Limbaugh, which is alluded to by Doug, but then somehow lost. None of the people he mentions have real power. They are, in fact, entertainers. If Ed Schultz told Democrats to vote for anyone, would they listen? Same goes for Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann. The only one in that list is perhaps Moutsalis, but he is nowhere compared to Rush (nor who has ever come close to spewing the toxic venom that Limbaugh does).

    Rush wields very real power within the party. In some ways, he is the establishment and can easily tip the scales for particular candidates or causes. For details, you could check out this book by David Barker, a political scientist at Pitt.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rushed-Judgment-David-Barker/dp/0231118074

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  9. @Brummagem Joe:

    He may be right. As I noted above, in swing states it doesn’t take much to turn the tide and the GOP already has a Gender Gap problem.

    As for the other comments. I was not intending to make an “all sides do it” argument with that comment. But, it is interesting that nobody asked prominent Democrats to comment when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut. As far as I’m concerned, it was unacceptable when Rush did it and it was unacceptable when Ed did it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  10. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    I am fairly engaged with politics, and I have no idea who Ed Schultz is. Rush is almost certainly the most influential man in conservative politics. Beyond that, DRS makes a good point. Invective is Ingram’s stock in trade. It may be tacky to respond in kind, but it is hardly shocking, and Ingram is well able to counterpunch. That incident is in no way comparable to the one we are discussing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    ‘He may be right. As I noted above, in swing states it doesn’t take much to turn the tide and the GOP already has a Gender Gap problem.

    Doug….this is exactly what I said two days ago.

    But, it is interesting that nobody asked prominent Democrats to comment when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut. As far as I’m concerned, it was unacceptable when Rush did it and it was unacceptable when Ed did it.

    I agree it should be censured but having said that Ingraham is a professional hatchet woman of the right as Schultz is a professional hatchet man of the left. And I’ve no idea whether any prominent Democrats were asked to comment and neither have you. Possibly not because this is cable show bs that no one in their right mind pays attention to. This girl may have been active in women’s politics but she’s a private citizen with no TV gig, there is huge difference and you know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. John Peabody says:

    “last weeks’ controversy du jour”….please tell me you were using this phrase ironically. Otherwise it’s like “this years’ story of the century!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  13. steve says:

    It’s numbers. Rush gets about 20 million listeners a week. Hannity a bit less. There is no one on the left who controls that many regular listeners. No one on the right will cross Rush because of the numbers he controls.

    “When was the last time you heard a Democratic politician call out the likes of Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann when they’ve made comments that went over the top?”

    It happens, you just forget. Just like people will forget about this. (Query- Do you really remember that Schultz got suspended for his comments? Do you remember NOW denouncing Maher?)

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Look, people shouldn’t be calling anyone slut in an effort to improve public discourse. We can agree on that.

    But Schultz, c’mon. He’s no one. No one bothers asking anyone to comment on the idiotic things that Eric Bolling or Greg Gutfeld say, either, nor should we.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. @Latino_in_Boston:

    Okay so you guys are going to obsess over one sentence in my post?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Absolutely. Republicans (sorry Doug Republican leaners) keep trotting out these nobodies as if they wielded a fraction of the influence in the Democratic party that Limbaugh does in the Republican party. It’s either completely disingenuous or suggestive of something else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Okay so you guys are going to obsess over one sentence in my post?

    That’s because it’s your original sin Doug. Overall it was a very strong piece of analysis that I agree with entirely so why disfigure it with Schultz equivalence bs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  18. Tano says:

    I am fairly engaged with politics, and I have no idea who Ed Schultz is

    Well, he does have an hour-long prime time slot on MSNBC, between Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow – i.e. the leftie competitor in Bill O’Reilly’s time slot. Not a minor figure…

    But I do agree with your larger point…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “Okay so you guys are going to obsess over one sentence in my post?”

    When you have a regular history of responding to almost any criticism of Republicans by saying both sides do it, it is entirely appropriate to respond to it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  20. @Brummagem Joe:

    Only to point out that calling women sluts is wrong no matter who does it or who it is directed against

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  21. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s something of a hobby for internet commentators, I think.

    I do give you credit for the rest of the post, it’s good analysis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    @anjin-san:

    Ah yes, the conservative vision for America. Pray for high gas prices.

    Well the prayers for the destruction of the US economy didn’t work out ( Republican’s line to God must be out of order at the moment) so now our patriots are praying for high gas prices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Only to point out that calling women sluts is wrong no matter who does it or who it is directed against

    Er…I just said that but there’s a fundamental difference between a professional cable shouter and a private citizen AND YOU KNOW IT.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tano:

    Not a minor figure…

    He’s pretty minor….one step up from people selling exercise equipment

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  25. Septimius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, don’t you realize that there is no such thing as equivalency in this forum. Republicans are always bad and Democrats are always good.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 17

  26. @Brummagem Joe:

    Yes I do. And I think the remaining 99.99% of what I wrote acknowledges that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Septimius:

    and Democrats are always good.

    Absolute nonsense. I can give you a long list of Democratic scumbags…they just don’t happen to be major forces in the Democratic party unlike Limbaugh and a few others I could mention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes I do. And I think the remaining 99.99% of what I wrote acknowledges that.

    Honors even. As you and Tod point out the Republican party is married to this guy. Who knows they may get lucky and enough of his sponsors jump ship that they drop his show….but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    When Ed Schultz — who is a 1 on the 10 point power scale — used the word slut he was hammered and instantly apologized profusely.

    There is no left wing equivalent of Rush Limbaugh because liberals don’t enjoy being hectored and talked down to. The most influential media voice for liberals is NPR and I’m sorry but Ira Glass and Diane Rehm are just not the kinds of people who call people sluts.

    As for the GOP being utterly subservient to Fox and Limbaugh, well, duh. This isn’t news. This has been obvious for a decade now. Roger Ailes is by far the most powerful conservative in this country and Rush Limbaugh is second. The rest of the so-called GOP leadership are pathetic poltroons who might conceivably occupy positions of power well down the list, but are nowhere near as important as Ailes and Rush. Ailes, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck . . . and then the GOP leadership. Maybe.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 1

  30. anjin-san says:

    @ Tano

    I only watch cable news for about three months every four years – during Presidential cycles. I figure if there is a hell, I will have plenty of time to catch up on cable. I did watch the coverage when Bin Laden was killed, and remember thinking that the coverage was beyond awful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. G.A. says:

    Okay so you guys are going to obsess over one sentence in my post?

    lol, ya I thought you was against the social issues as a strategy?

    The GOP has sold its soul.

    Plus, how can you make such a charge when you don’t even believe in such things?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  32. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Considering that the election is not going to be close, does it really matter if one part of the Republican Party alienates from portion of the small group that can be considered swing voters.

    Since the real question for November 2012 is whether President Obama gets more than 53% of the popular vote, why care if Rush Limbaugh alienates some swing voters. Anyone who cares if an elite progressives who are Ivy League graduates, feminist activists, and Tier I law school students is most assuredly an automatic party voter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  33. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: ” But, it is interesting that nobody asked prominent Democrats to comment when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut. ”

    I think that’s probably because Schultz is pretty much a zero. Unlike Maddow or Matthews, no one seems to pay much attention to his show. He certainly doesn’t have Limbaugh’s audience or his influence on a political party. So no one really cares what the hell he says.

    Oh, except his network, which suspended him for a week or so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  34. @superdestroyer:

    Since you seem to already know exactly how the election will turn out, why do you read any articles about it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. G.A. says:

    Absolute nonsense. I can give you a long list of Democratic scumbags

    Do any of them comment here? lol……….Dang I got to see this list! What are the Pro life or something?

    The most influential media voice for liberals is NPR

    lol…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This has been obvious for a decade now. Roger Ailes is by far the most powerful conservative in this country and Rush Limbaugh is second.

    Absolutely Mikey. Hearst and Colonel McCormick would be green with envy of Ailes. And Murdoch doesn’t give a damn as long as the net income line looks good. There is simply no towering figure in the GOP in the same way that Taft, Eisenhower, Reagan or Nixon were even if you didn’t agree with them. It’s basically Ailes, Limbaugh, Hannity and a descending ladder of media shouters plus a few invisible zillionaire string pullers like the Kochs and Adelson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It is interesting to see what people think about it. It is kind of like reading sports writers writing about the school that has to play the SEC team in the BCS championship game.

    A strong Republican leader who has had a career of success could take on Rush Limbaugh. However, the 8 years of the Bush Administration destroyed the credibility of virtually any Republican to try to exercise any form of leadership. And the performance of the Republicans since Jan 2009 had not helped either.

    I can think of no Republican whose career demonstrates the achievement or leadership ability to take on Rush Limbaugh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  38. Jay says:

    Limbaugh is a pompous, self-important jackass clearly on the wane in terms of influence who’s obsessed with the sound of his own voice. Years ago, he was a boon to the GOP. Now he’s nothing but a sanctimonious millstone around the neck of his party. He and Sean Hannity have long outlived their usefulness. It’s time for talk radio to replace these laughable fossils with people concerned about other things besides saying stupid things so as to pad their bottom line. For all their rabid defenders, no, I’m not advocating censorship. I’m just saying the Limbaugh/Hannity end of the media spectrum could benefit by people less laughably inept than those egomaniacal clowns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  39. Hey Norm says:

    Are Republicans afraid of Limbaugh? Of course they are. They’re afraid of their f’ing shadows.
    They don’t even have the courage of their convictions…much less any other sort of courage. Republicans are PU$$ies on so many levels. They are scared $hitless by anyone who is different from them. They don’t have the cajones it takes to accept responsibility or accountability for anything.
    Look at Romney. He doesn’t even have the balls to stand up for his biggest achievement.
    The Bush administration was without doubt the biggest collection of cowards ever.
    And yeah…they’re all afraid of a big fat blowhard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Look at Romney. He doesn’t even have the balls to stand up for his biggest achievement.

    Again absolutely the guy’s signature political achievement (for which he’s to be applauded) and he has to disavow it. Bizarre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jay:

    Limbaugh is a pompous, self-important jackass clearly on the wane in terms of influence

    Except he’s not on the wane. The Republican noise machine leapt into instant action to defend him and Republican politician’s criticism amounted to as Will elegantly put it eating steak with a salad fork.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. Ron Beasley says:

    As I said in an earlier post the Republican Party is owned by right wing media.

    The problem is that the Republican Party and the word conservative have been captured and occupied by the FOX/Limbaugh infotainment industry neither one of which is in it for ideology but for profit. No hope until that changes.

    Of course they are afraid of Limbaugh – he’s the boss. He’s not the only boss, there is also Murdoch. But let’s not forget the non-media bosses like the Koch brothers. Many bosses with many interests. It should not be too surprising that the party is a bit schizophrenic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  43. An Interested Party says:

    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.

    Iran won’t cause Republican politicians to recieve primary challengers in their next election…

    A month from now, when people are paying over $4.00 a gallon for gas, they’re not going to give a rat’s ass what Limbaugh said.

    You can certainly pin your hopes on a worsening economy, but if you think that many female voters in particular won’t remember what Limbaugh has done, as well the pathetic response from Republicans, in addition to the GOP’s seeming war on contraceptives, you’re quite delusional…

    lol…Rush Is LUCIFER!!!!!!!!

    Limbaugh could only hope to have that kind of power…no, he’s more like Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Walter Winchell, and other demagogic windbags….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  44. Tlaloc says:

    When was the last time you heard a Democratic politician call out the likes of Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann when they’ve made comments that went over the top?

    When? Uh pretty much every time. Let’s take a look at the right’s favorite example- Maher calling Palin a cunt. With two minutes of google-fu I come up with condemnations by
    shakes
    NOW
    DailyKOS

    None of which are politicians but then again I doubt there’s more than a handful of Dem politicians who have any idea who Maher is. He’s not the Rush Limbaugh of the left. No dem politician has ever had to grovel before Maher the way dozens of GOP congresspeople have had to before Rush.

    Could the left be better at policing their own? Absolutely. Are comparisons between the left and the right on the matter still utter horseshit? Yep.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  45. @Tlaloc:

    Here is the point I was trying to make with that comment.

    With all the problems that this country is facing, the economy, the unemployment, the deficit and national debt, the international crises and potential crises, is the news media really doing its job when it spends its time obsessing over what some radio show host said?

    Personally, I don’t think they are

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  46. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    However, if the media was wanting to change the subject from unemployment, economic growth, immigration, global competition, then contraception and Rush Limbaugh are great topics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. G.A. says:

    Limbaugh could only hope to have that kind of power…no, he’s more like Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Walter Winchell, and other demagogic windbags….

    holy fluke!!!!!

    But let’s not forget the non-media bosses like the Koch brothers.

    http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/189242.html

    LALALALA…..

    The sponsors that left Rush are gonna lose a lot of BIZ…..I can see it now RLTV…lol…

    You guys remember when Obama called us all teabaggers, na dint think so….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  48. G.A. says:

    Could the left be better at policing their own? Absolutely. Are comparisons between the left and the right on the matter still utter horseshit? Yep.

    Donkeypoop!!!!!

    what a flukeing koolaid head….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  49. JohnMcC says:

    I occasionally repeat this line (which I stole but I can’t remember where): The Republican party is the legislative wing of Fox News.

    If only the person who wrote it originally had included “and right-wing talk radio” I could have seemed prescient; perhaps someone would have even thought me particularly smart. Because it really is the truth.

    Now we should be asking ourselves why Fox News cares about being represented by such a large part of the gov’t (both state and federal, of course). Perhaps there is some money in it for someone? Probably not. Probably they’re just true patriots. But…perhaps?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  50. JohnMcC says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “…is the news media really doing it’s job when it spends it’s time obsessing over what some radio show host said?”

    Of course they are! They’re selling advertising space just like Mr Limbaugh does — although he does less of it today.

    Unless you have some antediluvian idea that the ‘news media’ answers a higher calling than selling eyeballs to deoderant retailers and car dealers.

    Which leads to the question of what a ‘higher calling’ would be, eh? Like trying to discover and disclose what the interests are behind Roger Ailes, Mr Murdock and such-like scoundrels. Yes, that would be a ‘higher calling’. Woodward and Bernstein come to mind. Are there any progeny of theirs from J-Schools anywhere to be found?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    With all the problems that this country is facing, the economy, the unemployment, the deficit and national debt, the international crises and potential crises, is the news media really doing its job when it spends its time obsessing over what some radio show host said?

    Personally, I don’t think they are

    The problem is he’s not “some radio show host.” He is the Republican Party. He is the second most powerful person in all of American conservatism, second only to Ailes. If the second most powerful Republican in the House, Cantor, had said it would it be big news? Well Limbaugh is far, far more powerful than Eric Cantor. Cantor is gum stuck to the bottom of Limbaugh’s shoe. 80% of Republicans don’t even know who the hell Cantor is. They all know Limbaugh.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  52. @michael reynolds:

    I’m not Limbaugh fan and I know it’s convenient for the left to exaggerate his importance. But no, he’s not the Republican Party. And it wouldn’t be hard at all for the Republican Party to throw him under the bus if it wanted to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Hah. No, it wouldn’t. He is far more the GOP than their pusillanimous Congressional delegation or their spineless presumptive candidate. Ask the average Republican who they’d follow: Rush or Mitch McConnell. I don’t think you get just how far this has gone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  54. You are making the same mistake many do, I think. Believing the media.

    As I said in a comment above, they are the one’s giving stories like this far more attention than they actually deserve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  55. Moderate Mom says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    For the same reason that no prominent Democrats were called on to comment when Bill Maher (an entertainer, just like Rush) called Sarah Palin a c**t.

    Both of them are sorry excuses for men, but the hypocrisy of the left never ceases to amaze me. When their guys do it, crickets or excuses. When a Republican goes over the line, the knives come out. How about we call out all men, on the left and on the right, when they cross over the line? I think we could all get behind that.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    Bull.

    When Ed Schultz did it MSNBC suspended him for a week and he instantly apologized: profusely and honestly.

    Bill Maher with Bill Maher was a hair over 1 million viewers. He carries no weight with anyone — he’s a PETA nut and an anti-vaccine nut, among other things. He’s insignificant. Rush Limbaugh is not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Then why are Republicans afraid of him? He’s not afraid of them, they’re afraid of him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  58. @michael reynolds:

    I think I presented my hypothesis. It might be summed up as a deal with the devil

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. David says:

    @Moderate Mom: Except, as noted above, the “left” did denounce Maher on his comment about Sarah Palin, and rightly so. The democratic politicians weren’t asked about it, well, because Maher has no impact on politics, or at least on how the democrats in congress vote. The same is not true of Rush. He has impact on how republicans vote in congress, he wields an extraordinary amount of power on the republican electorate. The left has no one that is even close to having the same amount of political influence that Rush has.

    Should someone have asked Pelosi about Maher’s comment at the time? Maybe, but you know what her answer would have been, and it wouldn’t have been the light weight “inappropriate” comments that the congressional republicans responded with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  60. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…first we get…

    In an ideal world this is would be true, but then in an ideal world it would also be true of people on the left. When was the last time you heard a Democratic politician call out the likes of Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann when they’ve made comments that went over the top?

    …then, when that is proven to be a false equivalency and untrue, we get…

    With all the problems that this country is facing, the economy, the unemployment, the deficit and national debt, the international crises and potential crises, is the news media really doing its job when it spends its time obsessing over what some radio show host said?

    …I wonder where on the football field we will be next…

    I’m not Limbaugh fan and I know it’s convenient for the left to exaggerate his importance. But no, he’s not the Republican Party. And it wouldn’t be hard at all for the Republican Party to throw him under the bus if it wanted to.

    Than why haven’t they? Either they are indeed afraid of him or they agree with him…either option doesn’t look good for them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  61. Chefmarty says:

    @Doug Mataconis: If they could throw him under the bus, why wouldn’t they have done it by now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. Moderate Mom says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As I said, excuses. The question was why no Democratic politician had been called on to repudiate these a-holes on the left when they make sexist remarks. And there are plenty on the left who do – Chris Matthews, Ed Shultz , and Keith Olbermann are just the ones on MSNBC. Maher has a decent size platform on HBO, and is called on frequently by CNN for his opinion on various matters. With the left, it’s always some niggling excuse as to why it is somehow different when their guy does it, as you just proved. You can argue about how the size of the audience somehow makes a difference, but you know you are being disingenuous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  63. Herb says:

    Markos Moutsalis, Ed Schultz, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, or Keith Olbermann

    There’s that list again….

    Doug, these guys are analogous to Rush only to the extent that A) they work in the media and B) they’re political partisans. Not one of these guys have Rush’s daily audience, have been doing it as long as Rush, or even have the same name recognition.

    Find a random person on the street and ask them, “Who’s a bigger windbag, Rush Limbaugh or Ed Schultz?” The answer 9 times out of 10 will be “Who’s Ed Schultz?”

    How about this? The next time Rush says something stupid (and there will be a next time), we don’t mention Ed Schultz (or anyone else) at all?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  64. Moderate Mom says:

    @David:

    I think you give Rush LImbaugh credit for a lot more power than he has. The majority of my friends are probably Republicans, or at least Independents that lean Republican. I can honestly say that I have never, not once, heard a single one mention Rush Limbaugh. He might have some power within the right wing echo chamber, but as to his influence over the average voter, I’d have to guess that it falls somewhere between nil and none.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  65. Kylopod says:

    For the record, Schultz did apologize for his remark about Ingraham. And it wasn’t one of these half-hearted “sorry if you were offended” non-apologies, it was a pretty strong and convincing one, very unlike the pseudo-apology Limbaugh gave yesterday. See for yourself:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/ed-schultz-apologizes-on-the-ed-show-for-calling-laura-ingraham-a-right-wing-slut/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  66. Herb says:

    @Moderate Mom: “The question was why no Democratic politician had been called on to repudiate these a-holes on the left when they make sexist remarks.”

    Why is that even relevant? Rush calls a woman a slut and so we have to wonder why Democrats don’t repudiate Ed Schultz? Seriously? The only reason to mention Schultz in the first place is because A) you have such a dim view of humanity that you can’t condemn one person without condemning everyone on the planet or B) you are trying to deflect some of the heat off Rush.

    It’s the oldest trick in the book, “He did it too,” and even ten year olds (the demo most likely to deploy this, ahem, argument, by the way) know it won’t work. Why must the rest of us continue to hear it?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  67. Moderate Mom says:

    @Herb:

    The question was raised by Doug, in his post, so the question is quite relevant. You are just avoiding answering the question. I don’t have a dog in this fight, as I don’t give two sh**s about Rush Limbaugh. My point continues to be the glaring hypocrisy. If Republican politicians should be called on to repudiate something that some entertainer on the right has said, do you not agree that Democratic politicians should be called on to repudiate things said by entertainers on the left?

    Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a horrible name. He says that it is different from Rush Limbaugh, because he doesn’t have sponsors (I assume he’s talking about advertisers). He very recently made a one million dollar contribution to President Obama’s PAC. Given the stance the left has taken on Rush, don’t you think that the PAC should return that money?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  68. Herb says:

    @Moderate Mom: “The question was raised by Doug, in his post,”

    Yes, we know….Doug’s faithful readers have been challenging his false “Rush=MSNBC’s B Team” equivalency every time he brings it up.

    “My point continues to be the glaring hypocrisy.

    If you’re looking at this issue and all you see is the hypocrisy of the left, you’re squinting. What about the hypocrisy of the right, who can’t seem to criticize Rush without finding some dupe on MSNBC to condemn too? Next time Bill Maher says something stupid, then can we criticize Rush?

    Given the stance the left has taken on Rush, don’t you think that the PAC should return that money?

    No. Sorry. I do not think Obama’s Super PAC needs to give back Bill Maher’s money because Rush Limbaugh said something stupid.

    How about this: when Rush Limbaugh calls a woman a slut, we don’t even mention Bill Maher or Ed Schultz or anyone else besides Rush Limbaugh? Deal?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  69. Moderate Mom says:

    @Herb:

    I don’t think Obama’s PAC should give the money back because Rush Limbaugh said something stupid. I think they should give it back because Bill Maher is a sexist douche and he said something stupid.. I also don’t have a problem with Limbaugh’s advertisers bailing on him because he is a sexist douche. So, unlike you, I’m not hitting “the other side does it” excuse. They both do it, which I am acknowledging and which you seem unable to. If you can’t apply an equal amount of disgust when any of them do it, you are being a hypocrite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  70. Herb says:

    @Moderate Mom: “If you can’t apply an equal amount of disgust when any of them do it, you are being a hypocrite.”

    Why would I apply an “equal” amount of disgust when Maher and Limbaugh are so clearly not equals. Bill Maher is a stand-up comedian with a seasonal weekly show on a pay channel. Rush Limbaugh is a shock jock with a daily national show on the radio in every major market in the country. They not only have different political philosophies, they have completely different business models.

    What, I gotta elevate Maher up to Limbaugh’s level just to be fair? Don’t think so…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  71. michael reynolds says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    First, stop passing yourself off as “Moderate Mom.” We both know that’s fasle advertising.

    As I pointed out, when Ed Schultz did similar we hammered him. And he was suspended. Pols didn’t respond because none of the people you’re obsessing over are players. Limbaugh is a player.

    Second reason: Maher’s crack is about a public person. Limbaugh’s three day assault is on a civilian.

    So, cut the crap, no one is buying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a horrible name. He says that it is different from Rush Limbaugh, because he doesn’t have sponsors (I assume he’s talking about advertisers). He very recently made a one million dollar contribution to President Obama’s PAC. Given the stance the left has taken on Rush, don’t you think that the PAC should return that money?

    Yes. Yes. Please. Let’s have both sides agree that if someone calls either Sarah Palin or President Obama a bad name that they won’t take any donations from that person. I know what the left is like, I’m part of it and get tons of emails about the “bad things” Republican’s do (or at least my wife does). Negative, yes. Annoyingly earnest, yes. Racist, misogynistic, vile or offensive? Not even close. On the other hand, my sister’s boss keeps sending around what passes for thought amongst the Repubs these days, and she occasionally forwards them on to me. These emails are absolutely vile, racist, misogynistic screeds – and these are the ones he’s forwarding because he thinks they are devastatingly clear headed and logical! I can only imagine what the ones he doesn’t forward look like.

    So yeah, we Dems will take that deal in a heartbeat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  73. @michael reynolds:

    The most influential media voice for liberals is NPR and I’m sorry but Ira Glass and Diane Rehm are just not the kinds of people who call people sluts.

    Ira Glass trying to become the left-wing version of Rush Limbaugh would be a hilarious premise for an SNL sketch. Mostly because I get the giggles trying to imagine someone reading Rush Limbaugh style rhetoric with Ira Glass’s voice and delivery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  74. FWIW, my perspective as an independent is that whenever a high-profile leader on the right misbehaves, conservatives scramble to name similar figures on the left. But as many point out, there are no similar figures on the left.

    I mean, maybe that’s what Olberman wanted to be, but you saw how that worked out for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  75. BTW, re NPR, I’m sure you all aware that the real left, like those at Naked Capitalism, are all down on NRP and Planet Money for toeing the Wall Street line. From the real left perspective, NRP has bent too far backwards in efforts to be acceptable to the right.

    From my (again subjectively independent) perspective, NPR does a pretty good job at centrism, but now and then does stake out a position further right or left.

    Remember, NPR’s Planet Money was the one that ambushed Elizabeth Warren.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. (I shouldn’t wake up and try to type, NRP/NPR)

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  77. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Rush Limbiagh is the the Republican Party. He is the short-hand way that progressives like to think to think about the Repubican party.

    What the media is really doing is making what any Republican says apply to all Republicans whereas what what any single Democrat says never applies to any other Democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  78. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have have always thought that Democrats believe that what they say does not apply to what they do. When I read these type of excuse meeting, all I can think of is Q.E. D.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  79. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    First, stop passing yourself off as “Moderate Mom.” We both know that’s fasle advertising.

    +1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  80. Logically Disapppointed says:

    I believe I am politically neutral. I dislike both parties equally for different reasons. I wanted to be upfront about that before conclusions were made about my political affiliation or leanings.

    People (including Rush Limbaugh) should be censured based upon what they say or do equally. Just because a republican said something hateful or off the wall does not mean we should allow a democrat to get away with it or vice versa. This becomes a game of tit for tat, or they did it so we can too. We try to teach our children not to live by this ‘logic.’ Yet, we expect or accept no better from our politicians or political commentators.

    The average citizen who listens to Rush Limbaugh (or others who are guilty of the same behavior) even for solely entertainment value are the ones who continue to give him the power to say and do whatever he pleases. Asking politicians to comment on his comments gives him more fodder. It is like giving a child who misbehaves attention and expecting him not to misbehave again to get more attention. He amongst others have indicated repeatedly they are in this business for the money; attention equals money.

    That being said I tend not to listen to all the Chicken Littles of the political arena as the ‘sky was falling’ on a seemingly weekly basis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  81. Hey Norm says:

    @ Joe and Michael…
    Wait…you don’t think she’s a Mom?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  82. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    For the record MM, just because you don’t perceive Rush to have any influence over your friends, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any influence over the country’s Republican base. As I mentioned earlier, this is well documented, and you can read for yourself a book about it by a political scientist.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rushed-Judgment-David-Barker/dp/0231118074

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. @Doug Mataconis: When Ed Shultz called Ingrahms a slut, he was called out by his bosses and was suspended. He apologized profusely and still mentions on his show how bad it was. The thing that was different here though is Ingrahms attacks everyone herself and not many people on the left cared that she be called a foul name as she is foul. Maybe not a slut though. The student Rush attacked was not in the business so to speak and she did not deserve his disgusting reviews. Why was he not at least reprimanded and suspended for a while.Yes I think the Republicans are afraid of Limbaugh, but they created him and now must lie down with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  84. jukeboxgrad says:

    The people who want to dismiss Rush as just an ‘entertainer’ need to remember that Saint Ronnie himself described Rush as “the Number One voice for conservatism.”

    They also need to remember that the GOP has made Rush “an honorary member” of Congress (link).

    As michael said: “Roger Ailes is by far the most powerful conservative in this country and Rush Limbaugh is second.” There is a ton of evidence supporting that statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  85. mattb says:

    Speaking of NRP and this desire (a) call oneself a moderate while towing a party line and (b) to “not defend limbaugh, but at the same time accuse the other side of hypocrisy,” let me suggest this excellent piece from this morning’s Morning Edition on how party affiliation effects the way we interpret facts:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/05/147807206/inconsistency-the-real-hobgoblin

    All three stories are interesting, but the center one seem especially relevant to the Limbaugh controversy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer: “What the media is really doing is making what any Republican says apply to all Republicans whereas what what any single Democrat says never applies to any other Democrat. ”

    Can’t say I expected any less from you, dude. Rush Limbaugh makes a rude remark…….so let’s blame the media and the Democrats for making a big deal out of it.

    Indeed, I think you just proved the case: Republican politicians are scared of the man. Republican voters are in thrall with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  87. rodney dill says:

    Its under the category of ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemon-aide,’ but Rush’s current problems could have slightly positive impact on GOP long term.

    This may make him so radioactive that more and more of the GOP will start to distance themselves from Rush, and will decrease his influence.

    I’m not holding my breath on this, nor am I making this as a prediction, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. @rodney dill:

    It could be his (long awaited) shark jump.

    Of course, I really thought the drug abuse would do that too. Somehow though, the politics of personal responsibility and 300 pain pills a month were made to mesh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  89. Brummagem Joe says:

    @rodney dill:

    I’m not holding my breath on this, nor am I making this as a prediction, though.

    I used to be indecisive…. now I’m not so sure

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  90. SKI says:

    The craziest thing about this is everyone is freaking out about Rush calling her a slut when the issue he really should be apologizing for was that he flat out lied about what she said. She said nothing about her own sex life or even that she used birth control herself. Yet that reality isn’t part of the discussion. All we hear is that he apologized for calling her a name with no recognition that he was lying about what she said.

    How is being rude a bigger sin for the media than being wrong? We can all judge whether he is being rude but those who didn’t read about the actual testimony can’t tell that he is lying (and apparently doesn’t understand how birth control works).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  91. rodney dill says:

    @john personna: Unfortunately, I do think his radio show will survive, or revive after a short time, in some fashion. It’ll be interesting to see what sponsor’s he’ll attract or get back.

    @Brummagem Joe: Heh. Just mulling over some possibilities at this point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  92. mattb says:

    @SKI:

    How is being rude a bigger sin for the media than being wrong?

    The problem with being wrong is that it takes too long to explain for most soundbyte culture. And in terms of raising money, the rudeness is a quicker info sell.

    @rodney dill:

    It’ll be interesting to see what sponsor’s he’ll attract or get back.

    I suspect that he’ll spend the next year or so in the “Beck-Survival-Seed” conservative advertising ghetto. Then after about 12 months, the longtime adverts will make their way back to him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  93. sam says:

    @G.A.:

    The GOP has sold its soul.

    lol…Rush Is LUCIFER!!!!!!!!

    Nah, Lucifer had some class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  94. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I’m glad to see more and more Republicans distancing themselves from Rush. But in case anyone doubted the insincerity of his “apology” over the weekend. Here he is explaining it:

    I want to explain why I apologized to Sandra Fluke in the statement that was released on Saturday. I’ve read all the theories from all sides, and, frankly, they are all wrong. I don’t expect — and I know you don’t, either — morality or intellectual honesty from the left. They’ve demonstrated over and over a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda. It’s what they do. It’s what we fight against here every day. But this is the mistake I made. In fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them. Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was my error. I became like them, and I feel very badly about that.

    See? His passion for defending the country from the Left got the best of him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  95. @Latino_in_Boston:

    See? His passion for defending the country from the Left got the best of him.

    Gingrich used the same excuse for his multiple affairs. You know how it is. For some people dissent is the highest form of patriotism. For others misogyny is the highest form of patriotism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  96. Tod Kelly says:

    Doug – I just stumbled on this and am commenting partially wanted to say thanks for linking, but mostly that I really wished I had written this sentence:

    “In many ways, the GOP’s incestuous relationship with the “shock political talk” media machine makes it incredibly difficult for it to do what political parties have done in the United States from the beginning, adapt its message for changing times and changing circumstances.”

    It captures so much of what I was trying to say, so succinctly and so well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0