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Fools Rush In

by Paul Rapp on March 8, 2012

Oh, my my my. A couple of weeks ago the Obama administration let it drop that it would require contraceptive care to be included in all employers’ health plans, including those in institutions associated with the Catholic Church, like hospitals and schools. Pundits all over the map decried this as, at worst, an “attack on religion” and, at best, a monumental blunder on Obama’s part that put his reelection in jeopardy (MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was particularly shrill on this point).

First of all, it wasn’t an attack on religion. Even most Catholics think the papal ban on contraception is embarrassing nonsense. Second of all, the pundits, particularly the left-leaning ones that generally favor Obama, forgot Obama’s First Law of Political Physics: For every Obama action, there will be a completely out-of-control, disproportionate, and batshit crazy Republican reaction.

And, boy, did the weasel-right outdo themselves this time. The apex came when Rush Limbaugh, who for a number or years has been the titular head of the Republican Party, went all crazy about a Georgetown law school student who had the temerity to testify before Congress that she thought that contraceptive care was a good idea.

You’ve heard it; I don’t need to recount it here. Thing is, it’s not exactly an isolated incident on Rush’s part. In response to a predictably sycophantic piece in the National Review that Rush’s disgusting personal attack was “at odds with the personality fans have come to know,” the Crooks and Liars blog took a little trip down memory lane, listing some of Limbaugh’s favorite hits:

Apparently on Planet Wingnut, the man who compared feminists to Nazis, who called Chelsea Clinton “the White House dog,” who told an African-American caller to “take the bone out of your nose,” who promoted a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro,” called the president a “Halfrican American,” said he and the first lady weren’t “decent Americans,” compared both President Obama and President Clinton to Hitler, labeled veterans who opposed the Iraq War “phony soldiers,” dismissed Danica Patrick as a “woman driver” and suggested that all homosexuals are pedophiles—eschews ad hominem attacks.

Now, those of us who walk without dragging our knuckles have grown accustomed to ignoring the creep, but the more you know, the scarier it gets. Dick Cheney is a regular guest on Limbaugh’s show, and was even when he was in office. In 2009, Cheney had this to say about his pal Rush:

“Rush is a good friend. I love him. I think he does great work and has for years. He has now offered to debate President Obama on his radio show. Hell, I’d pay to see that. . . . I think Rush is a good man and serves a very important purpose.”

Rush was also a frequent guest in the Bush White House; one of George W. Bush’s last events in the White House was a private party in Limbaugh’s honor. Yup.

So, there’s a special kind of glee that comes with watching Rush’s radio advertisers drop him like a rancid turd. The count right now is up to 38. There was an odd moment on Tuesday when it was reported that Netflix was a Rush supporter and would stand by him. The twitterverse blew up, tons of people canceled their subscriptions (I put mine on hold), and this continued all day until Boing Boing reprinted an e-mail it had received from a Netflix flack that said, no, Netflix wasn’t a Rush advertiser, never had been, and that apparently a couple of spots had aired during his show by mistake.

Now, Netflix could have cleared this up six hours earlier with a single tweet or Facebook post. But Netflix let it fester, and it’s festering still. Is Netflix that incompetent? I doubt it. I think it doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers of its white-trash, Fox News-watching patrons. Which puts Netflix on my expendable list.

WBEC in Pittsfield was one of the two stations in the country to drop his show, and big kudos to them. It’s curious that more haven’t, isn’t it? You might call WGY and ask what’s up with that.

Meanwhile, there’ve been calls for media behemoth Clear Channel, which owns the show and broadcasts Rush on its talk-radio stations, to dump Rush. Clear Channel, that soul-deadening, money-losing, Bob Wolf-firing, Bain Capital-owned disaster of a corporation went all proactive in 2004 following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, declaring a “zero-tolerance” policy to indecency, rewriting all its jocks’ contracts, dropping Howard Stern and firing a bunch of shock-jocks for doing what shock-jocks do.

Where’s your zero-tolerence policy now, big boy?

Paul Rapp is an intellectual property lawyer who enjoys tearing down without building up. He can be contacted through his website, paulrapp.com.