#Conservatives, Birt Control, Healthcare, Obamacare, Propaganda, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke, The Affordable Care Act
Rush Limbaugh passed away today.
I for one have no intention of dancing on Rush Limbaugh’s grave. Neither will I sit passively while the right wing echo chamber tries to fashion his memory into something worthy of respect and admiration.
Limbaugh consistently claimed to be doing satire. He was “illustrating absurdity with the absurd,” or so he liked to say. What this meant in practice was a good example of Schrodinger’s Asshole, the practice of saying something outrageous, then deciding whether or not you meant it based on the response you get. When Limbaugh got enough support, then he stuck to his guns. When he caught enough flack, then he was just kidding, and we liberals really needed to get a sense of humor. Teenagers do this. So did this professional bigot.
Often Rush would enter into a segment by noting some objectionable behavior carried out by someone on the left. He would ask, “What if I did that?” Then he would have a field day. The resulting rant could always be dismissed as a parody of liberal behavior, but that was only if such disclaimers were necessary. All too often what Limbaugh said following this kind of set-up became God’s own truth in the minds of his followers. What Rush did or didn’t mean by his comments on any given show was always up for revision. His ‘satire’ was never more than an exercise in plausible deniability, and his constantly insincere commentary carved a lasting place in the literal understanding of the ‘conservative’ mind of American politics.
So, what is Limbaugh’s legacy?
Let’s take a look at just one of the many interventions Limbaugh made in our national politics.
Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke.
This was part of the debate over The Affordable Care Act, specifically, a question about whether or not the Catholic University, Georgetown, was entitled to an exemption from required standards of insurance coverage for their students. The requirement in this case was the obligation to cover birth control. Sandra Fluke was one of several people called to testify before a Congressional committee on the matter in February of 2012, but she was excluded for for a number of reasons. A week later, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee met and invited her to speak.
In her remarks, Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown, made the case for mandating full coverage of birth control at Georgetown. Her comments focused on the use of birth control to combat health problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Fluke told the story of a friend suffering from this condition, one who paid over a hundred dollars a month for birth control that was specifically used to combat this particular health condition.
At no point in her testimony did Sandra Fluke comment on her own sex life or any birth control expenses she herself might have had.
On February 29th, Rush Limbaugh commented on Fluke’s testimony with the following diatribe:
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? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”(As quoted in The Huffington Post, emphasis in the original.)
Subsequent controversy focused on the rudeness of Limbaugh’s commentary, on his decision to call Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘Prostitute’. Many on the right wing of the political spectrum came to Limbaugh’s defense, but in this case the backlash was sufficient to threaten earnings for Limbaugh’s show. In response, Rush came out with the following apology.
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.March 3rd, 2012, As quoted in Wikipedia.
Limbaugh later added that he had acted to much like a liberal in making such remarks (Wiki again).
To say that Limbaugh’s apology was disingenuous is putting it mildly. The sheer irony of a man denying that he meant to launch a personal attack on a woman he had described as a ‘slut’ and a ‘Prostitute’ while lecturing her on the importance of personal responsibility is beyond outrageous. Adding that the nature of his error was essentially that he had acted too much like a liberal doesn’t help much. In effect, Limbaugh’s apology was really a thinly disguised effort to press forward with his attack.
Naturally, Fluke rejected his apology.
What always struck me as the most important outcome of all of this is the fact that Rush Limbaugh never retracted the central deceit of his comments on the matter. Fluke had not been talking about her own sex life or that of anyone else. Her point had always been that medical conditions could generate the need for birth control and even drive up its expense. One could find a lot to dispute in Fluke’s testimony, and reasonable arguments could be made about the policies in question, but it is simply not true to say that she was asking anyone to pay for her personal birth control. If Limbaugh was ever confused about this fact, he surely knew it by the time he produced his pseudo-apology. Not only did Limbaugh leave that lie on the table, he pressed forward with it in the very way he worded his fake apology.
In fact, the lie stands to this day.
Limbaugh’s fans, and countless ‘conservatives’ all over the United States still think of Sandra Fluke as the woman who wanted a university to pay for her own personal birth control, the liberal who wanted Georgetown to fund her own sex life. Whatever ‘conservatives’ think of Limbaugh’s language and general conduct, his narrative still dominates the right wing take on this matter. The lie that Limbaugh used to drown out more reasonable efforts at debating the policy implications of the day has never been rectified. It still clouds the issues, and it still paints a bullseye on Sandra Fluke which America’s right wing will be all to happy to take shots at the next time she dares to enter the public eye one more time.
This is Rush Limbaugh’s legacy. This is the long term outcome of his rhetoric, the result of a juvenile game of “maybe I mean it – maybe I don’t.” In this instance, Limbaugh’s intervention served not only to harm an individual but to leave a lasting source of disinformation which he never corrected in any way.
This lie is Limbaugh’s legacy.
This lie and countless others like it.
House of Heart said:
“I will not attend the funeral but send a nice letter stating that I approve”. Mark Twain
Marlene Hoenig, Mentor, Counselor, Writer said:
Unfortunately he (Rush) did not leave the legacy that his father did… Read his words in my post: https://cinderellareleased.me/2020/07/18/our-lives-our-fortunes-our-sacred-honor/
Did someone treat this smoker – who should have been in prison for drug diversion in the first place (he got “re-hab” instead) – for his lung cancer?
What happened to personal responsibility?
As usual, people like him end up being lucky that everybody else is not like him.
Daniel Digby said:
I remember how much I learned from Rush. Every time you have sex, you pop a pill, and that’s how birth control works. Fluke was notorious for how many birth control pills she took every day.
I also remember how much history I learned from Rush, who was second only to Trump.
Inspires me to share the meme rephrasing a line actually written by Clarence Darrow, a lawyer who is perhaps best known for his involvement in the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925 in which he defended an educator for teaching evolution in a public school, in his biography “The Story of My Life.”
Darrow wrote: “All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”
I love that quote, especially the ending.
Brian Dey said:
The only hate comes from the evil left. And the left is truly evil. Rush was a great man and the millions that listen don’t give a damn what you whacko’s think. I personally can’t wait until Pelosi finally kicks the bucket…and Biden, Schumer or any leftist. I m not to judge, but if I was, they surely would burn for eternity.
Lol, the only hate comes from the left? Have you read the rest of your comment? Seriously, you are a true Rush fan.
Brian Dey said:
Yes it does. And my response is what it is after 4 years of hate from the left. Lol, typical liberal.
We are not responsible for your malice. Grow up!
Brian Dey said:
Lol. What malice? Like killing cops, burning and looting cities, coming up with fake Russian hoaxes, wild conspiracy theories? Right. Laughing at your total hypocrisy. You wouldn’t know what growing up is…still attached at the umbilical chord of mommy or government.
Tu quoque is still a fallacy, child, and you know nothing of my views on those subjects. You expressed malice here; the rest of your evasions do not change that.
Brian Dey said:
Grow up snowflake! Lmao. I know…words hurt…lol. It’s called revenge…get used to it. A lot is com ing and a lot is deserved.
The man who says all the hatred is on the left threatens me with ‘revenge’. You are no conservative, and you are no patriot. Goodbye!
Brian Dey said:
And you are a whiny little idiot…Mitch’s butt buddy or Pelosi’s whipping boy.. Doesn’t matter. You only wish you had talent on loan from God. Lmao…tissue?
David R. Deitrick said:
I don’t think he ever progressed beyond the emotional level of a junior-high bully, especially with this “I was just kidding” ploy you refer to. Having said that, I always wondered if he secretly voted Democrat in an effort to provide grist for his mill.
Good post Daniel.
Brian Dey said:
Total bullshit but that is the liberal world. Total bullshit
Pingback: Addendum to the Legacy of Rush Limbaugh: The Cost of His Antics | northierthanthou
Why is the left more obsessed with this guy than his own audience? I wasn’t a fan and I didn’t find him entertaining but a lot of people did just as a lot of people enjoy Howard Stern and Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and countless others on the other end of the political spectrum that mock and troll people the way Rush did. He was a guy with s microphone who said stuff. Some of it stupid, some of it offensive but none of ot having any power you didn’t give it. I feel sorry for those of you who are so afraid of words that you waste your time seething over Rush Limbaugh.
You completely avoid the point at hand while pretending to be mystified as to the reasons some of us criticize him. Rush would no doubt approve your tactics.
What I am mystified by is those of you who are angry that he ever existed to the point you write blog posts about the lasting damage he did on our world. The fact is that his net effect on the universe was zero or pretty close to it. I don’t like Lawrence O’Donnell. I disagree with his far left views and personally think he’s an asshole. But I am perfectly happy that you get to enjoy his program every night and that you have your bedroom walls plastered with posters of him and that you run a Lawrence O’Donell fansite. If he were to get cancer and die I’d mutter “that’s a shame” and give no more thought to it. What exactly is it about Limbaugh that keeps you angry even after he no longer exists? And why do give a pass to people who share your views for engaging in the same stuff he did? Were you angry when David Letterman made a joke about A-Rod cream-pieing Sarah Palin’s 14 year old daughter during the 7th inning stretch at a Yankees game? No, of course not, because David Letterman is a progressive, a good guy, and Sarah Palin is a Nazi so you should be able to make whatever nasty jokes you want about her kids.
You make a lot of assumptions, and you evade the point every time. It is simply not true that Limbaugh had no significant impact on the world as you keep assuming without support and your many tu quoque fallacies are both childish and deceitful. You counter specific arguments with platitudes and thoughtless commentary on one red herring after another. I don’t have the patience for this crap. Make an effort or move on.
Okay you’re right. He had a significant impact on all our lives because I can’t prove he didn’t and the burden is on me to prove the negative.
Alternatively, a responsible person facing an explicit argument about his impact would respond to the argument at hand rather than simply assert the negative without engaging the argument on the table in any way.
Secondly, an explicit assertion that Limbaugh had little or no impact is not merely a negative, It is closer to predicate term negation than meta-negation of the original claim. The asymmetry of truth values means the latter is a problem for proof. The former is not that different from an affirmative. Point being that you didn’t just deny an affirmative position, you affirmed a specific quantity of influence, one inconsistent with the position taken here. Your position is every bit as amenable to evidence as mind. That you did this on the basis of nothing and made no effort whatsoever to argue the points already made in the specific post just adds to the foolishness of your gambit.
Three comments and you still haven’t responded to anything I said in my original post. You are sufficiently aware of reasoning to field a half-assed burden-of-proof argument, yet you waste my time with red herring and tu-quoque games. You are simply trolling, Goodbye.