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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Limbaugh supports "boot on the neck" of liberal women

Rush Limbaugh is a misogynist. His hatred of women should surprise no one who regularly listens to his show, and I devote a chapter in my forthcoming book, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason" (Thomas Dunne Books, March 2011) to Limbaugh's sexism. Yet even I was a little shocked today when Rush, facing criticism for his defense of the Rand Paul head-stomper, actually had the audacity to celebrate violence against a female protester.

In response to the physical assault of Lauren Valle by a Rand Paul supporter, Limbaugh immediate rose up to denounce the victim yesterday:

the man put his foot down on her shoulders in what looked to me like an effort to help restrain her, and then the guy was immediately shooed away. Now, nobody's condoning the manhandling of even a radical liberal woman or the rough handling or whatever. But why exaggerate what happened unless you're trying to score a propaganda point?

Limbaugh even repeated his bizarre claim:

Her head was not stepped on, her shoulders were. What would you do? What would you do if a person in disguise carrying a sign for a radical organization tries to push through the crowd to hand a political opponent an unknown object?

Only in the delusional universe of Rush Limbaugh can someone watch a video where a woman's head is stomped on (not stepped on, but stomped on twice) and claim that her head was not stepped on. To make matters worse, Limbaugh tries to attack the character of the victim, falsely claiming that her attackers somehow imagined that she was a threat while lying on the ground.

As Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC last night noted, "Rush inserts the mandatory phrase in there, 'no one is condoning the manhandling,' then every other word he says condones the manhandling, doesn't it?" Yes it does.

Limbaugh played O'Donnell's comment on his show today, but interestingly, Limbaugh never repudiated O'Donnell's critique. Instead, Limbaugh embraced the violence:

I thought it was good to put your "boot on the neck" of your opponent. We had our "boot" on BP's neck, said Obama, and many minions in his administration. But, you see be with there's outrage over the fact that I support this woman being stopped. There's total outrage, and yet when Maude Behar calls Angle a b-i-itch and tells her to go to hell, the media analyzes it and asks, "Will it help Harry Reid?"

Obama never said that. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did use this metaphor about keeping the pressure on a corporation, but obviously he never suggested physical violence against anyone. But Limbaugh did. He advocated violence against a woman even after being called out on the carpet for failing to criticize the violence.

And then he did it again, promising that the Tea Party would bring more violence:

the Tea Party people are just not going to play ball as always. They're not gonna sit around and try, "Hey, we're nice guys. Go ahead. We won't hurt you."

And then Limbaugh had the audacity to compare physical violence, which he supports, to a comment by Joy Behar about Sharron Angle: "I'd like to see her do this ad in the South Bronx. Come here, bitch! Come to New York and do it." I'm not a fan at all of the B-word, but it takes a lot of chutzpah for a man who himself uses the word to attack Behar for using it in a joke.

Limbaugh's opposition to the use of the term "bitch," equating it with a physical attack on a woman, may seem strange considering Limbaugh's public fondness for the word. In 2008 when a caller said about Nancy Pelosi, "she's a bitch!" Rush's response was, "All right." Not one word of criticism from Limbaugh. He concluded by praising the man and saying, "Bob, I appreciate the call."

Perhaps that's because Limbaugh himself likes to use the word. Limbaugh has referred to Hillary Clinton as "the B-i-itch."(March 31, 2008) When National Action Against Obesity president MeMe Roth said on CNN, "you're supposed to be working out every day," Limbaugh called her a bitch specifically for urging exercise: "Did you catch what this Roth b-i-itch said." And no, Rush, adding an extra "i" to the word "bitch" does not make you less of a sexist.

But Limbaugh's hypocritical attack on the B-word pales in comparison to his hypocritical defense of violence in Kentucky. Limbaugh hyped the hysteria about a few scuffles involving conservative activists, bizarrely claiming that "Obama is dispatching his own community organizer thugs -- AFL-CIO, SEIU people -- to intimidate citizens at these town hall meetings."

But when a left-wing activist was brutally attacked, Limbaugh cheered the violence as an example of how the Tea Party folks won't back down. It's a sickening reminder of what the conservative movement today stands for—and stomps on.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

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