Rush Limbaugh & The GOP: You Can’t Take Back “Slut”

The last two news cycles have been filled with reports of  Rush Limbaugh’s  so-called “apology” to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke.  No doubt, you’ve all heard by now that Limbaugh’s faulty understanding of how the birth control pill works (Rush, it’s not like Viagra, which we know you know a lot about), led him to personally attack the woman who was denied the ability to testify at Rep. Darrel Issa’s “religion” hearing on birth control.

Fluke has advocated for some time that Georgetown, a Catholic university, include birth control in the health care coverage provided through the college, which, contrary to what those on the political right want you to believe, all Georgetown students must have and must pay for themselves.  As a result of wanting to have access to reproductive health care, which Limbaugh wrongly claimed would have to be paid for by all of us, he called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Rush has  since “apologized” for those remarks, and now we’re supposed to move on.  Nice try, Rush.  Both of Limbaugh’s statements were non-apology apologies.  He “apologized” for the words he chose and for creating a stink.  He never apologized to Fluke personally or for his not-so-subtle inference that any woman who wants birth control to be covered by health insurance is the same.  But what do we expect from the man who is apparently so obsessed and afraid of women that he’s called Hillary Clinton the “Sex-cretary of State,” he’s mocked women in politics as “lard-asses,” and has claimed that women were to blame for the downfall of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, as opposed to Weiner himself.

The larger issue is one that most news outlets are missing.  By calling Fluke a slut and prostitute, Limbaugh called every woman in America who gets prescription birth control through her health insurance those same things.   While my daughter isn’t old enough (yet) to think about her reproductive years, my two stepdaughters are.  And my nieces are.  And loads of my friends still are.  And that’s where Limbaugh crossed the line.

No woman, regardless of political party, is going to stand for anyone calling her daughters or her friends sluts.  And we sure don’t like politicians who won’t stand up to bullies who try to smear the good names of the girls and women in our lives.  I’m talking to you Republican presidential contenders who refuse to take on the Limbaugh power machine and who kowtow to his kind of hateful misogyny.  You’re forgetting that we’re the majority of voters and at the end of the day, we have a lot more power over your political future than Limbaugh.

Any candidate who isn’t man enough (and, sadly, it’s just men in this race) to stand up to a mean-spirited, blowhard, ratings grubbing talk show host who claims to be the standard bearer of their political party is too much of a coward to make it to the White House.  If a candidate doesn’t have the cojones to do that, what could make any voter believe he could take on Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

While Limbaugh will ultimately get a pass for all this, the GOP presidential contenders who’ve been too afraid to call Limbaugh out should be the ones to hold accountable.  Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul should remember one thing — women won’t forget.  We won’t forget that you gave Limbaugh a pass on calling women a bunch of sluts and prostitutes, and on Election Day we won’t forget that none of you had the intestinal fortitude to stand up for half of all Americans.

Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts:

, , , , ,

14 Responses to “Rush Limbaugh & The GOP: You Can’t Take Back “Slut””

  1. Emily Says:

    Actually I don’t think he was calling EVERY women who gets birth control a slut – he was calling every UNMARRIED woman who gets it a slut. I assume that Ms. Fluke isn’t married.

  2. Amy Z Says:

    I love a blog post with the word ‘cajones’ in it! Nicely put, Joanne.

    As a mother whose daughter does use birth control – and her long-term monogamous relationship proves her lack of slutiness –I would like to say that ESPECIALLY if she were more exploratory by nature I would want her to be protected.

    Take the judgement from he who judges. Sometimes the lunatics bury themselves with their own ridiculous behavior.

  3. PunditMom Says:

    Emily, either way, it was inexcusable, but I do think he was going after all women.

    Amy, we are on the verge of having the advanced version of “the talk” with our daughter, which will include a discussion of birth control. It is infuriating to me that so many on the right are trying to make this an argument about religion. Why is everyone forgetting that religiously affiliated hospitals and universities have been required to include birth control in their health insurance plans since George W. Bush? Politically convenient lapse in memory.

  4. Marti Says:

    Did you hear Connie Schultz on Rachel Maddow last night? She made a briefer statement (well, it was on television after all) with a similar point. As the mother of two daughters and a veteran of the women’s movement, I totally agree with you, with one caveat. Since the Republicans’ idea of female candidates are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, I’m not at all sorry there are no women candidates in their nominating process!

  5. Josette Plank Says:

    Weeelllll…I have problems with the men in both parties – or the media in representing both parties – and the passes they all get. Bill Maher and others have proven that enlightened liberal men can be neither enlightened or progressive, and just as much salesmen for their own ego as anything.

    This isn’t about “who sucks the least”. Both sides do when it comes to allowing men free rein and making 72-hour yop against it.

  6. PunditMom Says:

    Josette, I totally agree (stop back tomorrow for my rerun of a piece I wrote last year). I think we can pretty much pick any commentator, regaradless of political leaning, and find examples. This is just one of the more heinous examples, but the Women’s Media Center put together write a group of clips a couple of years in their video called, Sexism Sells: But We’re Not Buying It.

    Marti, I haven’t seen the Maddow clip yet, but I have no doubt Connie Schultz weighed in on this well, and probably more eloquently than me!

  7. Elizabeth Aquino Says:

    Really great piece, Joanne — the best I’ve read so far. What’s especially interesting in all of this — and powerfully frustating — is the misinformation and downright lies about what Fluke was trying to do when she testified. And I’m with you on the religious liberty bullshit –

  8. PunditMom Says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I get so frustrated when news stories focus on the east, bright, shiny object but leave the larger story unaddressed.

  9. Karen from Chookooloonks Says:

    BOOM!!!!!

    (dear GOD, how I love you)

  10. Ingrid Says:

    I like this post and would like to share it on fb. But…, will you please correct “cajones” to read “cojones”?

  11. Ingrid Says:

    Thanks! :)

  12. TheOpinionista Says:

    You’ve been asking why GOP wives have been so prominent in the last week. That’s because the GOP wants to somehow clean up SLUTgate. They think it’s as easy as promoting the GOP wives. The GOP continues to underestimate women’s intelligence and political savvy. On the other hand, Rush has defended his comments as “entertainment.” He’s not in the least entertaining but he’s certainly a joke, and one with a horrible punch line. We are not laughing, but we will be in November.

  13. Melissa Says:

    Very well said.


Leave a Reply