Political Animal


March 02, 2012 3:32 PM Bad Day for the Bully

By Ed Kilgore

You never know with these things, but there are signs aborning that Rush Limbaugh’s two-day tirade against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke may have been a very serious mistake. When the President of the United States goes to the trouble of personally calling the victim of a media bully to comfort her, the bully is getting into the kind of danger zone usually reserved for nasty tinpot dictators and perpetrators of heinous crimes. And when the Speaker of the House representing the party you have lorded it over for many years finds it necessary to denounce your behavior, you might want to consider a vacation of a trip to rehab.

Limbaugh has already lost one major sponsor (Sleep Train), and there’s quite a campaign underway to gather petitions to all his sponsors suggesting that might find a better use of their advertising dollars. So far all Rush has been able to muster is some spluttering at Obama for his Super-PACs accepting a big contribution from Bill Maher, and a half-hearted effort to play the victim himself, a role for which he is singularly ill-equipped.

Probably the worst sign for Rush is that the right-wing blogosphere is not (so far) exactly springing to his defense. There’s a lot more stuff up on conservative sites continuing the mourning period for Andrew Breitbart than there is about Limbaugh, which gives you a sense of how far Rush has strayed over the line. Worse yet for him, the incident will give the whole wide world a fresh opportunity to reacquaint themselves with his overall corpus of work.

So at least until such time as he’s driven to his knees in abject humiliation, it’s a moment to savor. There’s nothing much more appealing to Americans’ old-fashioned sense of rough justice than watching a bully get pummeled.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • ShadeTail on March 02, 2012 3:41 PM:

    It couldn't happen to a more deserving waste of space. Even if Mr. Oxycontin does manage to bluster his way out of trouble, I hope this leaves a very painful mark.

  • SteveR on March 02, 2012 3:46 PM:

    Let he who has not been addicted to painkillers that he broke the law to get from the cousin of his housekeeper and paid $30000 to get charges dropped and gone though eighteen months of rehab and been divorced three times and got caught returning from a jaunt to the Dominican Republic with a bottle of Viagra in someone else's name cast the first stone.

    Because believe me, between the oxy-fueled right wing rants and the Viagra-enabled Reich-wing sex parties, it's hard to even find the time or energy to insult feminist sluts.

  • Danp on March 02, 2012 3:46 PM:

    Sleep Number and Sleep Train: two advertisers that pulled their ads. Does this suggest that Madison Ave has concluded not all their customers are fat lazy slobs?

  • Memekiller on March 02, 2012 3:47 PM:

    In my day, we had a term for girls like Sandra Fluke who had sex in college: a "Late Bloomer."

  • jjm on March 02, 2012 3:48 PM:

    I don't get what advantage the GOP thinks this torrent of misogyny brings them?

    Or do people become Republicans in the first place BECAUSE they hate women?

  • JoanneinDenver on March 02, 2012 3:53 PM:

    I am listening to Limbaugh. He continues with his rant against her by name.
    He also mischaracterizes her testimony. I think he is hoping that she sues.
    He also really does not understand the birth control pill. He alludes to her "sex life" and says "Which is quite active, by her own admission." That is simply not true.

  • g on March 02, 2012 3:54 PM:

    I don't think Rush will ever feel humiliation.

    But I'm happy if he just gets canceled.

  • memekiller on March 02, 2012 3:55 PM:

    The "Co-eds Can't Afford Birth Control!" meme reads like the stuff they used to float about welfare queens, then the "New Black Panthers." The problem with resentment politics here is that, unlike the poor, middle to upper income American vote and have daughters in college - and they don't really like the idea of having them called "sluts" on national media platforms when they participate in politics.

    To make resentment politics against the college-educated, you're basically wedging real backwoods trailer trash against everyone else. Who else is the college boogeyman going to appeal to?

  • g on March 02, 2012 3:56 PM:

    Steve R, let's not also forget that Rush's Oxycontin habit made him go deaf and he had to have cochlear implants in order to improve his hearing. I'm sure his insurance policy covered that, even though it was due to immoral behavior. I wonder if his provider approves of illegal prescription drug use.

  • Ron Byers on March 02, 2012 3:58 PM:

    By calling Fluke the President has raised the issue to one that can't be ignored by the Republican presidental candidates. I wonder how this is going to be handled by Romney? What about Santorium? Limbaugh has done more in three days to hurt the Republican brand than anything he has done in 10 years has helped it.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on March 02, 2012 4:00 PM:

    And when the Speaker of the House representing the party you have lorded it over for many years finds it necessary to denounce your behavior, you might want to consider a vacation of a trip to rehab.

    I hope that vacation doesn't include Viagra on the intinerary...

  • POed Lib on March 02, 2012 4:02 PM:

    I am just hoping that those of you who put the little D after your name are not just commenting here. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. REPUKELISCUM HATE SEX. THEY HATE SEX FOR PLEASURE. FOR THE REPUKELISCUM, ALL SEX IS REQUIRED TO BE IN MARRIAGE AND FOR PURPOSES OF PROCREATION ONLY.

    Please, write letters to the editor. Remind women and men who have sex with women (the main constituency of the Repukeliscum Party, amazingly enough) that sex is fun, sex is something many people enjoy, and that there is nothing wrong with sex. Remind people that a vote for the Repukeliscum Party is (DRUM ROLL) a vote against sex.

    It's an amazing moment, folks.

  • berttheclock on March 02, 2012 4:02 PM:

    I suppose there are no legs to the rumor Rush just picked up Bayer Aspirin as a sponsor.

  • stevio on March 02, 2012 4:03 PM:

    Turn off his electricity for about a month. Then place him in a room filled with women. Then let's talk....

  • MNRD on March 02, 2012 4:07 PM:

    @Ron, we may eventually look back on this as being the moment when 2012 was irrevocably lost for the GOP. Even before Rush's tirade it was getting hard to imagine how the GOP could avoid an insurmountable gender gap - and now with this....

    And think of the impact this could have in turning out the youth vote for Democrats in 2012!!

  • martin on March 02, 2012 4:08 PM:

    I doubt he will be brought to radio justice, a la Don Imus. He's too good at deflecting.
    He probably will disappear for a week on a "long scheduled spring break" during which the usual hacks will fill in to talk about what a great person he is. He will come back, declare victory and pretend it never happened.

    Doesn't he usually do a on air fundraising for childhood lukemia or something? If those people would refuse to associate with him, then it will hurt.

  • hells littlest angel on March 02, 2012 4:11 PM:

    "...when the Speaker of the House representing the party you have lorded it over for many years finds it necessary to denounce your behavior..."

    Please, NEVER NEVER NEVER use Politico as a single source, Ed. John Boehner denounced nothing, and has in fact said not a word about this. The Politico headline is a lie.
    NEVER NEVER NEVER use them as a single source.

  • Memekiller on March 02, 2012 4:13 PM:

    I think Rush accidentally left the mic on while visiting a Sexy College Co-ed site via webcam.

  • TT on March 02, 2012 4:21 PM:

    I suspect I am far from the only American who would pay good money for the chance to be Ralphie to Limbaugh's Scott Farkus.

  • max on March 02, 2012 4:25 PM:

    Best opportunity yet to really damage this anti-American windbag. Boycott his sponsors and contact their corporate offices.

  • zandru on March 02, 2012 4:31 PM:

    If You Haven't Already Called...

    your local radio stations which carry Limbaugh, please do it. Let them know you believe he's far past his "sell by" date, and you want him off the air. If you want to, elaborate about the insult to your college educated daughters by Limbaugh's loathsome accusations.

    Another opportunity: contact the DoD and demand that Limbaugh be dropped immediately from Armed Forces Radio. They have enough problems with rape and abuse of servicewomen without airing a vicious, foul-mouthed moron who encourages it.

    And, if you're still mad and energized, contact your Senators and Congressmen. Demand Limbaugh be removed from Armed Forces Radio, and suggest that his authorization to broadcast be pulled for obscenity and incitement. Then tell the Federal Communications Commission, too.

    Come on, folks! This is our chance to take him down!

  • biggerbox on March 02, 2012 4:43 PM:

    I'd like the thank His Windiness for helping to make sure the GOP loses the votes of almost every woman in the country. While some of his lizard-brain listeners may find it amusing, I'm pretty sure the bulk of the country doesn't think it appropriate to call a law student a "slut" and a "whore" for suggesting that it might be good for health insurance to cover medications that could keep a friend from needing major abdominal surgery and losing an ovary.

  • Patango on March 02, 2012 4:53 PM:

    Exactly max

    Great commentary Ed and everyone , even if we can keep the spot light on this for 2 months , thru petitions emails and boycotts etc. , it would be enough to latch its self onto the DC GOP , so people will still remember this come november.....

    Lets Roll!!!!

  • Mike on March 02, 2012 5:13 PM:

    Obviously, the punishment for Rush should involve a video. Maybe Rick S knows some tricks of the Spanish Inquisition.

  • SYSPROG on March 02, 2012 5:19 PM:

    Yes he is a big fat lying drug snorting bully. What pisses me off is that he is NOW comparing his crap to Bill Maher's attack on Palin. HONEST TO GOD. Palin PUT herself in the public arena as a candidate, she said NASTY CRAPPY LYING S#$% about the President and whined about the 'media'. I don't like the garbage but she was an equal player. Sandra Fluke testified before a 'fake' committee, said something Rush didn't like and get's called a SLUT and a doubling down on 'sleeping around'. It's a LIE (I wish she'd sue for libel but it won't happen) and Rush ONE MORE TIME is making himself the 'victim'. Just like he did when he got caught as a oxycontin slime abuser and then asked 'where is the famous Liberal compassion????????????'

  • bcamarda on March 02, 2012 5:33 PM:

    Nahh, he'll just ride it out, same as always, and then when all is said and done, that kind of language will be normalized, the world will be a little worse place, and Mr. Limbaugh will have achieved precisely what he wanted. You think his 20 million listeners are all of a sudden going to wake up and decide they want him to be NICE? If they wanted that, they wouldn't be listeners of his.

    We've heard he's "crossed the line" before. Many times. For his ilk, there is no line. I wish there was one.

  • dianne on March 02, 2012 6:11 PM:

    I had complained to Sleep Train once before about Rush - he said something to the effect that foster kids should get a voucher from thrift stores rather than new clothes. The Sleep Train owner has constant campaigns going to donate to foster kids - school supplies, jackets, pjs, etc. But he always stresses that it should be new merchandise only. And I totally agree - we give to those kids all the time. When we buy for our grandaughter, we also buy for one of his kids. So I wrote him that I was surprised that he continued to advertise with someone who believed something so opposite to his own views. I was glad to see that they have finally pulled their advertising with that vile man and have told them so.

  • TCinLA on March 02, 2012 6:13 PM:

    Maybe someone can do some "extra special maintenance" on the airplane Limpdick uses for his "Viagra vacations" in the Dominican Republic, the capital of child prostitution in the western hemisphere.

    Let him broadcast from the Bermuda Triangle with his buddy Andrew Dimbart.

  • Steve P on March 02, 2012 7:57 PM:

    Actually it's just another day at the shark tank.

    The pols who had to kiss his ring are waiting to see if they can deliver a swift kick instead. The other radio jocks are eying his lucrative times and angling for them. When they do, they'll be just as vicious, because the Dittoheads have an appetite for blood and no other way to taste it except through someone else's leavings.

    Forget shark tank--it's more like children at the start of "The Wild Bunch", tossing a scorpion into a red ant hill and then setting the whole thing on fire.

  • rrk1 on March 02, 2012 10:21 PM:

    Lush's longevity has long been a mystery. Super bullies of his ilk usually flame out far sooner than he has, and for some reason the undying flame coming out of his ass hasn't done him in yet. Even if all his sponsors abandon him, as they should, I doubt that will do him in. The forces and the money behind him are invisible. He is the symbol of hate radio, the fat slob on the white horse leading the charge of the angry, resentful and bitter. He is the personification of the neo-GOP. They can't afford to lose his daily utterances of hate and vilification, because that's all they have to keep their faithful in line. He has had thirty years to poison our political discourse and rouse the rabble to hysteria. He has done it well. His audience of old, white, angry men hate women, and so I doubt he has damaged himself all that much by slandering this young woman. They're cheering him on. Let's not get our fantasies of Rush's well deserved destruction mixed up with reality. His audience loves him. It doesn't matter what he says. They're brainless.

  • bluestatedon on March 03, 2012 7:36 AM:

    While in a cosmic sense nothing could be better than for Limbaugh to disappear from the radio waves, practically speaking right now he's a gold mine for Democrats, especially those running for Congress and Obama. The GOP had already savaged its own support among women and independents with its idiotic campaign against birth control, and Limbaugh's comments have done nothing other than slice off many thousands of additional fence-sitters of all ages who have ever been mothers or fathers of daughters.

  • berttheclock on March 03, 2012 9:50 AM:

    To this day, I still can not fathom how Daryn Kagan, the former anchor at CNN, could have dated him for almost 2 years. Was that one of the reasons for CNN not renewing her contract in '06?

  • Joe Friday on March 03, 2012 10:43 AM:

    Quicken Loans & AutoZone have joined Sleep Train & Sleep Number Beds and pulled their ads from Mush Limbuagh.

  • ZakAttack on March 03, 2012 11:05 AM:

    Different times, different issue. But Obama's call to Fluke reminded me a little of JFK's call to MLK when King was in jail. If nothing else, it could signal, on Obama's part, an increased willingness to actually pick a side and take a stand.

    That would be a good thing.

  • JM917 on March 03, 2012 6:27 PM:

    Limburgh is the Julius Streicher of our place and time.

  • Raven on March 04, 2012 5:52 AM:

    Limbaugh's defamation was of the kind called "slander per se" in law -- that is, the plaintiff needn't prove damages for it to be actionable.

    I hope Ms. Fluke will sue him for all he's worth. Given the publicity of the slander, she has the grounds.

  • suzi Little on March 04, 2012 10:45 AM:

    I think all GOP women should uae the asprin method of birth controlonly. Then men like Rush would not need their Viagra!