I think the time has finally come to consider a conspiracy theory. There was a time when this would have seemed preposterous, but now? I have to wonder. Is Rush Limbaugh on the payroll of President Obama and the Democratic Party?
Limbaugh makes a living howling at the moon about how Obama is the devil and our country is going straight to hell under his leadership and he seemingly offers up the Republican Party as the only possible way to save the country, the American way of life and our mortal souls. How could he possibly be playing for the other team?
Then you think about it though. For better or worse, the Republicans have had the spotlight now, in terms of the upcoming presidential election, for a few months. They’ve had the chance to set the table, pick the issues, and pound away at the job President Obama has done for the past 4 years. And, let’s face it, the job he has done is a far from the “Change we [could] believe in!” You can point out, all day long, that it’s been the Republicans of Congress who have stood in Obama’s way of enacting that CHANGE all you want, but Obama’s pre-election rhetoric never took the tone of, “Change you can believe in (if the Republicans do what I tell them to in complete opposition to the trend of polarized politics that has our country in it’s grip.” It’s also worth pointing out that while Obama did have the majority in Congress, he chose to prioritize his health care reform over the economy which led to the congressional purge that placed the Republicans in power there.
In short, had the Republicans fielded a charismatic, intelligent, level-headed candidate for the presidency, he or she may have actually had a chance. Instead, they fielded a cast from Clown College and Ron Paul who never had a chance in the first place. So, things were looking good for the president. Still, they say that any publicity is good publicity and the final few candidates who have survived the reality show-like eliminations have been front and center.
And the debate has turned to contraception. Sex sells. The Republicans have drawn a line in the sand. It’s a brilliant move because surely the youth and moderates will flock to this Republican effort, right? College kids hardly ever have sex and when they do it’s only for the purpose of procreation. Moderates with high-school and college-aged kids are so eager to be grandparents that they will, obviously, side with the Republicans on any issue that will help take them remove easy access of contraception to more kids. Nothing fills the parent of a kid away at college with more pride than announcing that little Betty is dropping out to have the baby of some guy whose name she thinks was Pete at the frat party a few weekends ago!
Only a Republican can understand the logic behind a move that only solidifies their already hard-core base and alienates the majority of the rest of us, but we’ll let the strategy slide, and the actual issue, which only involves the health care of religious institutions slide because those things are only background to the point at hand. Let’s get back to President Obama’s secret weapon: Rush Limbaugh.
Between Obama’s not living up to his promise of Change and the Republican’s seemingly poor strategy of alienating large portions of the votes they need to win the upcoming election this presidential race could have been an interesting one. Enter Rush Limbaugh. Leave it to Rush to truly offer President Obama the best opportunity he’s had to remind the youth and women voters that he is the only choice for them. Rush went on the radio and called a woman, who spoke before Congress on the issue, “a slut.” He suggested that if we had to pay for her contraception that she was essentially a sex worker and that we were entitled to see a video tape of all the fun stuff.
Let’s look at that another way: A seemingly intelligent, articulate, young woman who works for and spoke with the support of a faith-based employer who would be affected by this legislation spoke her mind before her elected officials to offer evidence on behalf of others in her situation and our friend Rush, who is, as I understand, a big proponent of the First Amendment, calls her a slut for doing so. He didn’t call her a great American for participating in the political process. He didn’t laud her for her courage and conviction. He called her a slut. He suggested that his tax dollars being involved entitled him to see a tape of her having sex. He objectified women. He disrespected them. He singled out this one woman in particular and called her a name that women voters will not forget.
Say what you will, but while it may only be a very loud, very vocal segment of Republicans that Rush speaks for—the perception (which is much more important than the reality) is that he is the voice of the party, to those outside of the party. Some of those people outside the party might even be referred to as moderates or the swing vote and now, they have, perhaps reluctantly, slid themselves firmly back into President Obama’s pocket because, let’s face it, the alternative is the party that calls women’s who express their opinions in the manner of a good American, as sluts.
President Obama has reached out to the woman in question and spoken to her by phone, thanking her for her bravery and intelligence and offering to be of aid to her in any way he can. It’s almost reminiscent of a cowboy in a white hat coming to the defense of the picked upon woman. You can almost hear the collective swoon of women voters.
You can also, almost hear the collective eye-roll of the Republican candidates who must now stay true to their base while backtracking against the idea that any woman who uses contraception is a slut. It doesn’t matter if their opinion on the subject is right or wrong now, what matters is that they have to fight for what they believe in from a defensive standpoint. President Obama gets to fight for what he believes in from the role of gentlemanly hero.
President Obama’s next call should have been to Rush Limbaugh, just to say thank you.
The Republicans, through their strategy, have seemingly decided that Obama has done a poor enough job that the presidency can be won by simply solidifying the base. They felt that the youth and moderate votes that swung things President Obama’s way in the last election were going to stay home this time around, be it due to complacency or disappointment. They’ve only touched on issues that appeal to their own base. They’ve felt no need to venture out to get the votes of those in the middle. They thought it would be an election of us versus them and that the majority of us, the disillusioned middle, would stay out of it.
At the start of World War II, after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Admiral responsible for that attack, Isoroku Yamamoto famously said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." When the Republicans look back at this election and try to figure out why they lost—not only the White House, but at least a part of their power in Congress as well—they would do well to remember the efforts of party cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh, who helped to wake the sleeping giant that hadn’t planned on taking sides, until he decided to be a bully and call a woman, exercising her right as an American, a slut.
It was such an obvious, boneheaded move on Rush’s part, you almost have to wonder if it was purposeful? I mean, no one could possibly be THAT stupid. Could they?