NOTE FROM JOHN: I’d like to welcome Gabriel Ortiz to the blog. Gabriel will be writing on gay issues, immigration, and a little bit of everything else.
Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting anti-woman tirades over the past few days haven’t been limited to Sandra Fluke and women. An overgrown bully in every sense, Limbaugh’s disturbing rants over the past decades have extended to children, most notably First Daughters Chelsea Clinton, Malia Obama, and Amy Carter.
It’s no coincidence that the girls are also children of Democratic presidents – a quick Google search finds Limbaugh defending Jenna Bush from “liberal media” only a few years ago. Further searches reveal that neither Jenna nor her sister have been subjected to the same humiliating taunts, with Rush and his on-air cohorts only describing Jenna as “spunky.”
Consider Limbaugh’s treatment of Malia Obama in 2010 when she was only 11 years old. Limbaugh mocked Malia in a disturbing “skit” about the BP spill, where he tried to imitate the child’s voice and instead came out sounding like something out of “The Exorcist.” Malia’s inclusion in this topic was inexplicable, as the child had nothing to do with the spill, and was seemingly introduced as a gratuitous way for Limbaugh to humiliate her father.
In 1988, an adult Amy Carter – the sole daughter of President Jimmy Carter – reemerged to the national spotlight after protesting U.S. involvement in Central America and apartheid in South Africa. Instead of furthering civil discussion of these topics, Limbaugh’s response was to call her “the most unattractive presidential daughter in the history of the country.” He was forced to apologize, but not before adding an additional insult years later during his radio show: “She can’t help the way she looks.”
Limbaugh’s most disturbing bullying incident stretches to a few years later, when he called a then-13-year-old Chelsea Clinton “the White House dog.” Limbaugh again half-heartedly apologized, but not before blaming the error on a technical glitch, saying that a picture of Chelsea was mistakenly displayed instead of the dog’s. “I don’t need to get laughs by commenting on people’s looks, especially a young child who’s done nothing wrong,” he added. “I mean, she can’t control the way she looks.”
While Limbaugh’s attacks on Fluke and other women are despicable, adults are able to defend themselves. Picking on kids – as Limbaugh has done and continues to do – has no place in public discourse. When Limbaugh goes to this place, he ceases to be the commentator he claims to be and instead becomes the schoolyard bully who picks on the younger and more helpless kids in order to satisfy his own demented hunger for power.
What kind of a man picks on children?