Rush, you have philosophical differences of opinion with Sandra Fluke, the law student. So go ahead, slice and dice her arguments, her rationale, her point of view as it relates to the government's role in contraception coverage. But keep it about politics, not the person. Yet, Rush didn't do that and he got himself into "heap big trouble," as he might say. And the trouble was of his own making. He shouldn't be surprised that calling a woman a "slut" and suggesting that she post sex videos of herself on the internet to justify her pro-contraception coverage argument would make his advertisers queasy and prompt them to flee his show like the Titanic, despite his apologies (made only after sustaining serious pressure from his sponsors, thereby nullifying their authenticity).
But as Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers pointed out this week, Limbaugh isn't the only bombastic talk machine who's a misogynist and who has gone after a woman on a sexual or physical basis rather than the woman's argument, invoking coarse, sexist language that seems designed to drive women out of the marketplace of ideas, to keep them in their place, which is to serve as wives, mothers and/or sex objects.
So in the wake of Limbaugh's moronic tangents about Fluke, I decided to use Powers' column, which details liberal/Democratic examples of misogyny, as a jumping off point for a little quiz. See if you can discern which sexist attack came from the lips of a liberal/Democrat and which came from a conservative/Republican:
- Who called a female national radio talk show host a "slut" because he disagreed with her criticism of the president who was drinking brewskis in Ireland as a tornado was ransacking Missouri? A liberal/Democrat or a conservative/Republican?
- Who used the phrase "bimbo alert" in reference to a female politician shortly after she was named to a prominent position? A liberal/Democrat or conservative/Republican?
- Who referred to a high profile female politician as a "dumb twat" and the C-word?
- Who stood by and chuckled as a supporter referred to a female U.S. senator as a "bitch?"
- Who said of a female politician, "There's just something about her that feels castrating, overbearing and scary?"
- Who referred to a female politician as a "she-devil" who looked "witchy," referred to her as "Nurse Ratchet" and remarked that her voice "can grate on some men when they listen to it, fingernails on a blackboard?"
- Who asked a female politician on a national news program, "Breast implants, did you have them or not?"
- Who suggested that a powerful female politician should be taken into a room by a presidential nominating convention super-delegate "and only he comes out?"
- The liberal MSNBC host Ed Schultz called conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a "talk slut" and a "right-wing slut."
- Again, our friend Schultz in 2008, days after she was named as John McCain's running mate, called Sarah Palin an "empty pantsuit" who was a walking "bimbo alert," according to the Washington Post.
- Comedian/talk show host Bill Maher, who donated $1 million to President Obama's Super-PAC, hurled those epithets at Palin, according to Mediaite.
- Republican Arizona Senator John McCain said, "That's an excellent question," after a supporter asked him during the last presidential campaign, "How do we beat the bitch?" referring to fellow U.S. senator Hillary Clinton, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
- Conservative Republican then-MSNBC host Tucker Carlson attacked Clinton as "castrating," the Post-Intelligencer said.
- Liberal MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews has, on a number of occasions, slammed Clinton in a sexist fashion, according to the Daily Kos.
- Fox News Channel talk show host Greta van Susteren asked Palin about the "buzz" on the internet about whether she had breast implants, the Huffington Post reported.
- Then-MSNBC liberal talk show host Keith Olbermann said this about Clinton, the Huffington Post said.
There's rampant, over-the-top sexism and a focus on women as a collection of body parts and sexual objects in the media and American political arena. Period. (Watch the documentary Miss Representation if you question this.) And, for all the justified criticism directed at Limbaugh, it needs to be noted that the sexism comes from both the left and the right. They are equal opportunity offenders when it comes to women and we should, together, turn all of these misogynists into pariahs, not just the conservative/Republican ones. All of them.
Image credit: Name It, Change It.