#BoycottRush: How Limbaugh's Sandra Fluke attack set a new standard for public depravity

Plus, the Republicans and their discontents
By EDITORIAL  |  March 7, 2012

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Radio loudmouth and former prescription-drug addict Rush Limbaugh has been married four times and has no children.

So it makes perfect sense that Limbaugh emerge as the Republican's de facto spokesman for giving religious institutions the right to deny women access to health insurance that covers birth control.

In recent years, the GOP — and their goons in the right-wing media — have been extremely successful snake-oil salesmen, consistently getting voters to support issues which run counter to their own self-interest.

Take taxes, for example. Republicans have hoodwinked the working poor and the middle class into supporting tax cuts for corporations and the well-off. Working stiffs, in other words, have been screwing themselves.

When Limbaugh took on American women, however, the bloviating Beelzebub was swinging above his handicap.

Even by the tawdry and tasteless standards of a typical Limbaugh performance, his vicious three-day attack on Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke set a new standard for public depravity.

There was nothing casual or offhand about the sexual innuendo directed at Fluke during these broadcasts. These were Nuremberg moments, filled with hate and dripping with scorn.

There is no doubt that Limbaugh belongs in the soreheads hall of fame, nestled in between Senator Joe "There is a Commie under every bed" McCarthy and Lester "Let's beat the Negroes with ax handles" Maddox.

That no member of the GOP leadership has seen fit to denounce Limbaugh in anything but the mildest of terms underscores the essential cowardice of the men the Republicans call leaders. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's response was especially pathetic: "Those aren't the words I would have chosen." Man up, Mitt.

Years ago, New York Times columnist Russell Baker offered a very direct suggestion to families with daughters attending previously all-male colleges where some professors were sexually harassing some female students. Baker said that it "was time to bring back the punch in the nose." He urged the fathers, brothers, or boyfriends of harassed young women to sock the offending professors in the snout. It would be far more effective than litigation, Baker thought.

Those were, of course, simpler times. And it would be wrong for anyone to sock Limbaugh in the nose — or anywhere else.

The way to take action is to urge Limbaugh's commercial sponsors to withdraw their advertising and to lobby Limbaugh's radio overlord, Clear Channel Communications, to drop his show. Already more than 20 advertisers have done just that, and they should be supported for their decision to walk away from this powerful medium. There are many places online where you can do this, but the easiest way to express your outrage with Limbaugh and the corporations who sponsor him is through either moveon.org or boycottlimbaugh.org. Social media, too, is alive with voices calling for Limbaugh's silence. The Twitter hashtag #boycottRush is one of the most efficient ways to go.

It is time to pull the plug on Limbaugh. And if he can not be removed from the airwaves, it should be made clear to any business still on the fence that advertising with Limbaugh will be the kiss of death for their goods and services.

SUPER-TUESDAY POSTMORTEM

On the surface, the Republican presidential primaries appear to be about choosing a candidate to challenge Barack Obama in November's national election.

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