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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP’s Limp Response to Limbaugh May Hurt in November

If there is anything more disgusting than Rush Limbaugh’s revolting misogynist diatribe and his ‘apology,’ it would have to be the weasel word responses of Republican and conservative ‘leaders.’ For example:

Mitt Romney said Limbaugh’s remarks were “not the language I would have used.”
“…Rick Santorum said Limbaugh’s comments were “absurd,” he said the radio host was an “entertainer” and “an entertainer can be absurd.””
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Limbaugh was “right to apologize,” but still missed the point, blaming the “elite media” for exacerbating the controversy.
“It sounded a little crude the way it came across to me,” Paul said. “I don’t know why it has to be such a political football like this, so you have to ask him about his crudeness.”
Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain says it’s “totally unacceptable” for Rush Limbaugh to call a law student a “slut”
“Republican strategists, speaking anonymously out of fear of Rush’s power, have pointed to how his sexual shaming strategies “hurt Republicans.”

At least one conservative showed some integrity in commenting on the Limbaugh fiasco. As George Stephanopolis writes in his blog at ABC News:

ABC’s George Will told me Sunday on “This Week” that GOP leaders have steered clear of harshly denouncing Limbaugh’s comments because “Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”
“[House Speaker John] Boehner comes out and says Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using the salad fork for your entrée, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff,” Will said. “And it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”

I assume the calculation of Republicans in voicing such tepid criticism is about not wanting to alienate the tea party yahoos, coupled with an assumption that all will be forgotten in a couple of months. They may be right. Too many American voters have a short memory about expressions of bigotry, which partly explains the popularity of Ron Paul. But if they are wrong, they will pay a huge price on election day, in which case America will owe a debt of gratitude to women voters.

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