Limbaugh Apology Doesn’t Squash Contraception Coverage Controversy

Rush Limbaugh has issued a fake apology for the vile statements he made on his radio program Wednesday night. During his show, he called Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke (and, by extension, it would seem, any woman who supports the contraception coverage effort) a “prostitute” and a “slut.” Limbaugh says he “did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke,” that he was trying to be “humorous,” yadda yadda, insincere bunk.

Immediately following his disgusting commentary, Democratic Congress members expressed their outrage, calling for Republican members to denounce the statements. But it looks like the calls from six advertisers to cancel their contracts prompted the contrition.

This morning on Meet the Press, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) tried to tamp down the issue by reminding David Gregory a couple of times that Limbaugh has apologized and, yes, he personally thinks the comments were wrong.

But Limbaugh has opened up a can of worms that he and the GOP may regret for a looong time.

In her response on Thursday, Fluke spoke to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, saying Limbaugh was “out of bounds.” She made the issue squarely about women’s health and Limbaugh’s attack, squarely upon women’s rights. Rep. Cantor, as you’ll see in that Meet the Press link, is trying desperately to frame this conversation as one about religious freedom.

President Obama called Fluke before her appearance on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC program on Friday to offer his support. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also appeared on Meet the Press today, talking up the President’s support for women’s health issues, a topic that is front and center on the DNC website.

On the GOP side, Rick Santorum called the comments “absurd.” Romney said it’s “not the language [he] would have used,” prompting Democratic criticism for his tepid language. Gingrich tried to avoid the topic this morning (again, check Meet the Press) by again launching his nonsense attack against the “elite media” and saying Obama has waged a “war on the Catholic church.” And Ron Paul, in his usual “take no prisoners” style, called Limbaugh’s apology the result of advertiser backlash.

Forbes points out that Limbaugh is all about promoting himself, and indeed, he probably thought he was doing his usual thing — being a provocateur.

“The question is, has Limbaugh’s cliff-dive, in conjunction with similarly inexplicable misfires by various GOP candidates, taken the eventual GOP presidential candidate over the cliff with him?” the article asks. Women overwhelmingly support contraception coverage, and are the majority of the voting public. So it looks like, at this point, answer is yes.

Moreover, a variety of groups have come out to boycott the show and try to encourage more advertisers to pull their dollars.

Limbaugh took his edgy talk too far, using language that is misogynistic, crude, and offensive. Moreover, his inflammatory rant has pushed the Republican party into a position that, for them, is no-win at the moment. We may soon move past this particular incident, but the conversation that Limbaugh unintentionally started is going to follow everyone throughout the election. In a way, we should thank this cretin for bringing women’s health and women’s rights to the fore in this election cycle.

Thanks Rush Limbaugh!

[image: AP, C-Span]

Publish date: March 4, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT