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Posted by on Mar 3, 2012 in At TMV | 14 comments

Quote of the Day: Don Surber Says “Apologize Rush”

In response to some emails saying you MUST be a liberal or “lefty” and no way can you be a moderate or centrist to be outraged by Rush Limbaugh’s three day — I repeat THREE DAY — national dissing and insulting of law student Sandra Fluke, some things need to be said:

1. There is a line that anyone on the left, center or right can cross. Limbaugh has crossed it.

2. There are now many news reports and tweets indicating that Republican strategists are not at all happy with what Limbaugh has done and how he has literally gifted the Dems ammunition to portray his comments as bolstering the line Dems are pitching that there is a Republican “War Against Women.” So those who email and say a site that is centrist or moderate must be a far left site might want to take some time and find out the identities of those Republicans and expose them as liberal Democrat moles in their party. The “best defense is a good offense” so it’s natural that those who truly feel that a THREE DAY smear of a private citizen is not usually allowed to continue on the radio will come under attack to try change the subject and make them the issue. And if a Republican comes out and says it, they’ll be lambasted for doing the Democrats handiwork. Some are even suggesting Fluke was somehow (no joke, seriously folks) a set up — part of a calculated plot. Should Joe Arpaio investigate?

3. Any other talk show host would get a warning for what he said. But he has continued it for three days and — you can bet on it — will continue on Monday. For instance on Friday he said Fluke “had boyfriends lined up around the block. Or they would have been in my day” after saying earlier that she had so much sex she couldn’t afford it. He seems almost giddy with each new zinger. With each new day, Limbaugh has continued, as if to say hey all of you I can say whatever I want any way I want and no one can stop me. He has no consequences. Censorship is one issue; political allies making it clear they repudiate such polemics is another. Censorship has not occurred; neither has unquestioned repudiation of his comments. Instead, the usual pattern with Limbaugh is occurring: he says something highly controversial and many (not all) of his political allies find ways to defend him. He lowers the bar with a comment — and the bar remains at that level. Until it’s lowered again.

4. I predict he’ll survive even if he loses a ton of advertisers but it is true that if he loses sponsors (as he is doing) it will send him a message. For instance, Proflowers.com‘s flowers go to women. Do they really want to be associated with someone who is saying things for three days in a row that would get any other radio talk show host suspended? Do they want their branding associated with that? The issue here is that it was bad enough once. The first time he said it there were calls by some to contact the advertisers. It could be argued that was jumping the gun. But he continued for two more days. Controversy usually whips up his ratings. It’ll be interesting to see the ratings during this period. Will some of his normal listeners including some who disagree with him (he is a superb broadcaster in terms of how he paces a show and prepares for a show) decide they just won’t listen anymore?

But there are conservatives who are making it very clear that Limbaugh stepped over the line.

And our political Quote of the Day comes from The Daily Mail’s blogger Don Surber. Here’s a chunk of his post:

Enough already.

We are long past the time when Rush Limbaugh should man up and apologize privately and then publicly to Sandra Fluke for calling her a slut.

He went way over the line and his joke was not funny.

It was mean-spirited and misogynist.

Conservatives need to take a little mental trip back to June 2009 when David Letterman joked about Sarah Palin’s “slutty flight attendant look” and joked about her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, having sex at Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter in the middle of a game.

Remember?

We called to boycott the advertisers of David Letterman and demanded that CBS fire him.

Remember?

So who are we to allow Rush Limbaugh to do the same to a woman with whom we happen to disagree?

This is no way to treat anyone.

It’s just politics.

People should be allowed to enter the public fray without being smeared with verbal feces like this.

The apology in American political life is something a bit unusual. It usually (but not always) works. At the minimum, an apology from a public figure cuts the “legs” of a story off at the knees.

By continuing his own (yes I’ll say it) war against women in comments that would get any other talk show host suspended or lead to corporate-pressured apology, Limbaugh is continuing the story — which also, by the way, distracts from stories about the Republican primaries which, at best, reproduce criticism of Barack Obama.

Go to the link and read Surber’s post in full. He runs David Letterman’s apology as an example of how Limbaugh might consider putting an end to this controversy which could boost Rush’s ratings but has Democrats smiling. When Barack Obama called Fluke to talk to her it was an act he would have been unlikely to done if he felt it was politically toxic. The contrast between Obama, Limbaugh and those who defend and enable Limbaugh fit perfectly into an emerging Democratic narrative.

A Washington Post editorial nailed it. Here’s part of it:

IN A DEMOCRACY, standards of civil discourse are as important as they are indefinable. Yet wherever one draws the line, Rush Limbaugh’s vile rants against Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke crossed it. Mr. Limbaugh is angry at President Obama’s efforts to require the provision of contraception under employer-paid health insurance and the White House’s attempts to make some political hay out of the policy. His way of showing this anger was to smear Ms. Fluke, who approached Congress to support the plan, as a “slut” seeking a government subsidy for her promiscuity.

Like other “shock jocks,” Mr. Limbaugh has committed verbal excesses in the past. But in its wanton vulgarity and cruelty, this episode stands out. Mr. Limbaugh’s audience, and those in politics who seek his favor as a means of reaching that audience, need to take special note.

The Post notes it’s not calling for censorship or even talking policy here.

What we are saying is that Mr. Limbaugh has abused his unique position within the conservative media to smear and vilify a citizen engaged in the exercise of her First Amendment rights, and in the process he debased a national political discourse that needs no further debasing. This is not the way a decent citizen behaves, much less a citizen who wields significant de facto power in a major political party. While Republican leaders owe no apology for Mr. Limbaugh’s comments, they do have a responsibility to repudiate them — and him.

Further down, it concludes:

Incivility is not a one-way street in America. Far from it: Mr. Limbaugh’s left-wing equivalents have trashed any number of conservatives over the years. Conservatives have a point when they protest that the “mainstream media” don’t always heed their legitimate grievances.

Yet under the influence of Mr. Limbaugh and his ilk, the Republicans risk coming before the voters in 2012, and after, with nothing but grievances. This is what former Florida governor Jeb Bush was trying to tell his fellow Republicans when he observed, apropos of a recent discourse in the GOP primary: “It’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are.”

For the good of U.S. political culture — or at least its own political self-interest — the GOP must distance itself from Mr. Limbaugh. In response to listener complaints and, apparently, the promptings of its own corporate conscience, Sleep Train Mattress Centers has quit advertising on Mr. Limbaugh’s show. Dare Republican leaders show less decency?

Look at it another way:

Politics is a matter of branding.

Do Republicans want to be seen as completely merged with the Rush Limbaugh brand?

Do they think women voters and independents will buy their brand if that is the perception?

UPDATE: A Harris Poll finds Limbaugh wins hands down (46%) as America’s least favorite news personality. (Republicans take note).

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • sjposton

    No should try to take away Limbaugh’s 1st amendment rights, but we all have to answer for our words and actions. He has every right to say the things he says about women, black, immigrants and anyone else who doesn’t fit into his narrow definition of a “real American”. In truth, I respect his honesty. If only the rest of the Republican party was as honest we could have a “real” dialogue about “values” in this country. I also don’t think he should apologize. It would be meaningless and insincere. He should stick to his guns. The people who should be apologizing are his sponsors (and some already have). They are the ones who give him his platform to diminish, demean and insult those who don’t look, act and/or think like him and his “dittoheads” (I apologize, I’m not sure if that’s one word or two).

  • zippee

    IF just ONE Republican had a set of cojones, we’d have already seen a demand for an apology. But when not even one female Republican is taking umbridge, you know who really runs the GOP.

    The craven cowards of the GOP would rather let Limbaugh run the show than stand up to him for anything so obscene as basic human decency.

    When they get thumped in November because of incidents just like this one, maybe they can thank Limbaugh properly then.

  • RP

    It is apparent that the leadership of the Republican party has determined that the far right candidates are unelectible and that is why so many support Romney for President. That is why McCain was nominated over the other more conservative candidates in 2008.

    It is now time that these same individuals that are trying to move the Republican Party closer to the center where the majority of voter exist come out and begin separating themselves from the extremist positions that now exist on talk radio.

    One way for this to happen is a major movement by the electorate on the left to the center right to make their positions known that they will not accept the Limbaugh type behaviors and they will boycott any product endorsements of his program. The first thing that needs to happen is knowing who sponsors his programs.

    I can’t boycott the products as I never listen to the jerk and have no idea who to boycott. I would if I knew.

  • 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.

  • DaGoat
  • zephyr

    “Do Republicans want to be seen as completely merged with the Rush Limbaugh brand?”

    Too late, they already are. It’s been a long, creepy relationship but they are indeed merged – like some weird and nasty mutual parasitism. And it will take more than a few apologies to get cleaned up again too.

    As we’ve seen, some are attempting to be dismissive about this incident. Whether that is from partisan disingenuousness or inability to grasp, the simple truth is that RL has been courting serious comeuppance for a long, long time. It would be good to see him actually get it for a change.

    Accountability matters.

  • rudi

    Many want to compare what Limpbaugh said to Ed Schultz, but this is a bad comparison. A better comparison is what happened to Don Imus after he said something stupid about some female college basketball players. Imus lost his show for something similar to what RL said. Both had a history of making ugly statements about ordinary people. Imus lost his gig, the Limpbaugh deserves a similar fate…

  • Rcoutme

    @ zippee You should at least try reading a few articles below this one before spouting anti-facts. http://themoderatevoice.com/140314/carly-fiorina-blasts-limbaughs-insulting-comment-about-college-woman-being-slut/

    I like DM’s description of the ‘real’ issues here. Do women have a right to subsidized or publicly paid-for contraception (if there is another medical reason, then YES, of course they have a right to it!!!!!)

  • mikefava

    Isn’t Rushmo’s media owned by the Disney Corp? When will the backlash cause the mickey mouse club to shut this clown down? They should make him go through the “it’s a small world” ride until he either learns to accept diversity or he OD’s on oxycodone.

  • VeratheGun

    The overriding issue here is with the cretins on BOTH sides of the political spectrum who immediately seek to denegrate women sexually, when they disagree with them on POLICY.

    I’ve seen it with Sarah Palin, Lara Logan, Hilary Clinton, Christine O’Donnell and pretty much any women who dares to intrude on the public sphere that some men think belongs to them, exclusively.

    We, as a society, need to immediately call out and shame the degenerates who seek to silence women in this way. This should be one issue that progressives and conservatives can band together, and say collectively that WE REJECT THIS MANNER OF SPEAKING ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO DO SO, YOU WILL BE OSTRACIZED AND MORE.

    This is not a matter of free speech. This is a matter of civil discourse and basic human decency.

  • Rcoutme

    @Vera
    As a comedian once said (paraphrased):

    You women have no idea how much sex means to us men. I know that women have a sex drive, but believe me, if you knew what we were thinking you would NEVER stop hitting us. I mean its like the difference between shooting a bullet and…

  • Rcoutme

    Dang it…the italics didn’t work:

    Throwing it.

  • VeratheGun

    Rcoutme: What does this have to do with cretinous gasbags like Rush? Are you trying to say that the sex drive precludes civilized people from behaving with basic human decency in the modern American political arena?

  • Rcoutme

    No, I’m suggesting that we never stop hitting RL. 😀

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