He can’t help it

Even when he’s pretending to apologize, Rush Limbaugh keeps on lying. It wasn’t Sandra Fluke who decided to make her sexual activity a matter of public discourse; she has given no hint at all about what she does in bed, and her testimony was about the health needs – not the “recreational sex,” in Limbaugh’s disgusting phrase – of others. Limbaugh and his supporters are simply projecting their own sexual obsessions on to their opponents.

Even when he can’t stand the heat and has to pretend to apologize, Rush Limbaugh can’t – or won’t – stop lying.

Today he said he was sorry for having called law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for telling Congress that women needed access to contraception.  But even as he did so, Limbaugh repeated the central lie in his original rants:  that Fluke had somehow made her sexual activity a matter of public discourse.

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.

But in fact Fluke did no such thing.  Fluke’s testimony never mentions her own situation at all. Nor does it mention, even by implication or euphemism, anyone’s sexual activity.  It’s most memorable anecdote is the one about a woman – a lesbian, who doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant unless she’s raped – who lost an ovary because her health plan wouldn’t cover the birth-control pills she needed to control her ovarian cysts; the plan administrators refused to believe that she needed them for what she in fact needed them for. Their terror – actually, the terror of the Catholic Church – that someone, somewhere, might be getting laid, did this woman irreparable damage. That’s what Fluke’s testimony was about.  It was only Limbaugh who chose to fixate on the sexual aspect.

He reminds me of the story about the old man who, on a Thematic Apperception Test, is shown a picture of a grassy hillside and tells a story about the orgy that went on there the previous night, is shown a picture of a cave mouth and tells a story about a woman who is being kept as a sex slave inside it, and continues in this vein until the tester tells him he seems to be obsessed with sex. “I’m a sex maniac?” he replies. “So who’s got the collection of dirty pictures?”

What should be astounding, but isn’t, is how many of the people discussing this affair have accepted Limbaugh’s false premise that Sandra Fluke brought up the subject of sex, and therefore can’t complain if her sexuality became the matter of coarse jest. She didn’t; old Limp-dick did. But the sort of people who plan to vote for Mitt Romney this fall are so immune to reality that they’re happy to join in Limbaugh’s projection of his own preoccupation with sex onto their common political opponents.

Since it’s usually in bad taste to mock the recently dead – even those who, while alive, themselves mocked the recently dead – I’ve been trying to come up with something not harsh to say about the late Andrew Breitbart, in place of a slightly awkward silence. The always-eloquent Ta-Nehisi Coates did so deftly, reciting the story of Breitbart victim Shirley Sherrod and noting that while it was right and proper to be sorry about Breitbart’s early death, one should be even sorrier about the way Breitbart lived his life: as a professional slanderer.

Limbaugh’s latest should remind us of another reason to sincerely mourn Breitbart’s passing: in taking him so early, the Angel of Death missed an even greater opportunity to cleanse our public discourse of the filth that now befouls it.







Eugene Volokh says the thing that is

Unlike most of Red Blogistan, the original Volokh Conspirator knows bad logic and bad manners when he sees them, and isn’t afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

The performance of the Red commentariat in the Limbaugh-Fluke affair has been even more disgraceful than the performance of Republican candidates and office-holders, with lots of bloggers joining in the anti-Fluke sliming party and many of them – including Erick Erickson – embracing the idea that somehow paying for expensive contraception implies having a lot of sex, and that this in turn implies having many sexual partners, or the idea that a requirement that privately-paid health insurance cover contraception is somehow the same as a taxpayer subsidy, and that the Obama rule requires taxpayers to pay for other people’s sexual activity.

A few, unwilling to defend Limbaugh, instead attack the Democrats for criticizing him. But that’s not really much better.

Now contrast my friend Eugene Volokh. He and I don’t agree on much politically, but he knows bad logic and bad manners when he sees them, and isn’t afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

I would think that parents would much rather hear on the radio that their 21-year-old daughters are using birth control than that their grown sons are calling women “sluts” on national radio.

Good for him!

Romney grows a pair

… the world’s smallest pair. If the man can’t stand up to Limbaugh, how’s he going to do face-to-face with Putin?

the world’s smallest pair.

His comment on Rush Limbaugh’s calling a law student a prostitute for supporting contraceptive coverage under health insurance?

I’ll just say this which is it’s not the language I would have used. I’m focusing on the issues I think are significant in the country today and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs and Ohio.

“Not the language I would have used.” Now that’s tough. And that’s what he came up with after ducking the question all day.

How can you expect Romney to stand up to Putin or Ahmadi-Nejad if he can’t even stand up to an obese bully with a microphone?

Update Rick Santorum, on the other hand, has millimeter-sized stones rather than micron-sized stones:

He’s being absurd, but that’s you know, an entertainer can be absurd. He’s in a very different business than I am.

Try calling one of Rick Santorum’s daughters a slut and a prostitute, and I bet you’d discover he knows stronger language than “absurd.”

Barack Obama, on the other hand, knows how to behave. And he also knows how to seize a political opportunity when his opponents hand him one. But that’s the point, isn’t it? This year, we will have an election between a party whose members and leaders think that contraception is evil and a party whose members and leaders think it’s an essential part of health care. “No difference?” Now that’s absurd.