You know it’s not going to end well when you’re forced to Google “Rush Limbaugh” and “breasts,” but here we are.
In his ongoing war on decency, Republican opinion leader Rush Limbaugh yesterday made fun of both sexual harassment and the dehumanization of women.
Limbaugh was off on some tear about how liberals always want to change human nature, and how you can’t or shouldn’t change human nature, and how, apparently, it’s okay to ogle women’s breasts in public, and how it’s actually an offensive affront to men to suggest that they shouldn’t ogle women’s breasts in public.
So Limbaugh came up with the perfect solution for men who feel put upon by being asked not to sexually harass women.
“Will you please ask your breasts to stop staring at my eyes?”
LIMBAUGH: I know a lot of you, you hear this thing — a bunch of leftists want to try to stop men from looking at women and you think, ‘they can’t do that.’ That’s not the point. Whether they can or can’t, it will gain momentum. And it may not be for years, but this is who they are. This is — this is how inane and inviolate they are of basic human nature. It’s one of the biggest ways to understand liberals. They just despise human nature and try to alter it and change it and create it. Because many of them just don’t fit in with it in many ways.
But there’s a way around this, guys. You got to have fun with this kind of stuff, as you know. So let me offer a first suggestion, the first way to deal with this that came into my mind. You find yourself staring, looking at, casually glancing at a woman, but you know that it’s now socially taboo. You shouldn’t be doing it. And you think everybody is noticing you doing it and condemning you in their minds. You shouldn’t — so you walk up to the woman and say, “Will you please ask your breasts to stop staring at my eyes?”
Try that. Might help. And you don’t know ’til you try it.
So says a man who has larger breasts than many a woman.
Besides the obvious point, that Rush Limbaugh is a hateful man who epitomizes everything that is wrong with the far-right that controls the modern-day Republican party, Limbaugh illustrates a second problem as well. The only counterpoint to anything we say on the left is the crazy right. There just doesn’t seem to be a sane middle any more, at least in the GOP.
The lack of a healthy middle in GOP politics
Take health care reform. We know what the President wanted (more or less – he said he wanted the public option, but seemed to want less). And we know that the Republicans wanted to kill any reform, period, while putatively offering up John McCain’s absurd proposal to give us all $5000 tax credits to pay for insurance, forgetting that a lot of us can’t even get decent insurance because of pre-existing conditions, for starters, let alone the problem of absurdly escalating medical costs.
But where were the Republicans who might have said, “I’m not for the public option, but I am for fixing the system, making improvements, maybe we can meet each other halfway?” They didn’t exist. Remember, no Republicans in the entire Congress voted for the final health care reform bill. And they weren’t terribly interested in negotiating on it either. Remember that useless Gang of 6 garbage in the Senate that went absolutely nowhere?
And the same thing happened with the stimulus. GOP Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe voted for the bill only after having gutted it, and Arlen Specter voted for it too. That was it. A big 3 Republicans in the entire Congress.
Compromise, mediation? Forget about it.
We see the same thing on gay rights. Not that I’m a fan of any opposition to civil rights, but it seems there’s never any civil opposition. The Republicans, and some conservative Dems, never seem even interested in giving us, say, half a loaf. All they want to do is scotch the entire thing, and thwart any effort towards giving us full equality. And anyone claiming to be seeking a compromise is usually offering a poison pill, intended to kill the entire effort rather than find an incremental improvement.
I do think that part of the problem is that the opposition has become so radicalized as the GOP has been taken over by its most extreme wings, be they Tea Partyers or Christian conservatives. Both breathe dogma, and neither is terribly interested in compromise. The GOP has been playing the Lord God Reagan game for going on three decades now. The party has self-defined Republicanism to be conservative Republicanism – no moderate need apply – while at the same time increasingly defining conservatism as hateful and intolerant, and now Tea Party crazy to boot.
It’s clear that moderates are not welcome in the leadership of the GOP, and they’re no longer terribly welcome in the primaries either, presidential or congressional.
In any case, Limbaugh is still a sexist idiot, and still an embarrassment to the Republican party. The best you can say about the man is that he helps ensure that women (and their male allies) don’t forget anytime soon that the Republican war on women continues unabated.