The left has gone bonkers over Rush Limbaugh’s attack on a woman who testified on family planning and birth control at a recent Congressional hearing, and the mild self-rebuke that followed. Limbaugh called the woman a slut and a prostitute for her willingness to deal with intimate, personal issues such as contraception.
There is glee across the left end of the web because some of Rush’s sponsors have pulled out of his program, and there seems to be a belief that his demise is near.
“Enough is enough,” wrote Left Action. “It is time for Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors to stop supporting his hate speech through their advertising dollars.”
And from the Credo Action website:
“The backlash has been so great that even after doubling down in defense of his reprehensible comments, Limbaugh was forced to issue a rare — and totally insufficient — apology stating ‘my choice of words was not the best’.”
The reality is likely to be quite different from the left’s doom and gloom perspective because Rush retains a huge and loyal radio audience and wields considerable influence over the political right and the Republican Party.
This issue stemmed from hearings on contraception and the right of religious institutions to refuse to supply contraceptives based on their moral principles. The hearings, held by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), famously featured only men in its initial panel. One woman who sought the opportunity to testify – Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke –was rejected by Issa, but was invited to testify at a subsequent Democratic hearing on the same subject.
After her testimony supporting access to free or low-cost contraceptives through any medical provider, Fluke was attacked by Limbaugh with these words:
“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.”
Limbaugh has since made 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.”
Credo Action proudly proclaimed, “Since we started our campaign, several major advertisers have pulled their support from the Rush Limbaugh Show.” Those advertisers include LegalZoom, Quicken Loans and Sleep Number, according to ABC News.
There is no question that Limbaugh’s description of Ms. Fluke was horrendous. But the reality is that a radio show as popular as Rush Limbaugh’s likely has a backlog of advertisers ready to replace those who have departed. In addition, once this dust-up has subsided, major advertisers who have jumped ship are likely to return. The chances that this event will be fatal or even seriously damaging to the Rush Limbaugh Show seem remote. Fans of Limbaugh will not take his tepid apology seriously, and Rush is unlikely to change his style, politics or approach enough for anyone to notice a difference.
In fact, it is a sign of Limbaugh’s authority in the political arena that the left has reacted so strongly. Rather than weaken him, the left’s attacks strengthen his hand and increase his influence with an audience that already distrusts liberalism and is unlikely to feel outrage by his comments.